Organic Farming BAG305

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Logo Academy for Distance Learning
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Description

Become a successful organic farmer! Organic farming has become increasingly popular, with farmers adopting it for economic, ethical or sustainability reasons there is no doubt that this method of farming is set to stay. The course will teach you to manage both plant and animal production in a natural and environmentally sensitive way. You will develop a solid foundation knowledge in how to set up an organic farm, or convert an existing farm to organic practices.

Organic farming has distinct advantages, for the environment, for human health, and also for farm economics. There are many definitions of organic farming. A commonly accepted definition is, farming without the addition of artificial …

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Become a successful organic farmer! Organic farming has become increasingly popular, with farmers adopting it for economic, ethical or sustainability reasons there is no doubt that this method of farming is set to stay. The course will teach you to manage both plant and animal production in a natural and environmentally sensitive way. You will develop a solid foundation knowledge in how to set up an organic farm, or convert an existing farm to organic practices.

Organic farming has distinct advantages, for the environment, for human health, and also for farm economics. There are many definitions of organic farming. A commonly accepted definition is, farming without the addition of artificial chemicals. All kinds of agricultural products are produced organically, vegetables, fruit, grains, meat, dairy, eggs, and fibres such as cotton and wool. Many processed foods are also produced organically (e.g. bread).

In the past organic farm production was often considered as being only for radicals or hippies. Now it is seen as a viable economic move with benefits to the farm soil, to the environment, and to the purchasers of the products. Organic farming has been adopted by some farmers for economic reasons, others for ethical or sustainability concerns. Whatever the reason for going organic, there is no doubt this method of farming is here to stay.

Through this course, learn to manage both plant and animal production in a more natural and environmentally sensitive way and develop a sound foundation for understanding how to set up an organic farm, or convert an existing farm to organic practices. This course provides the student with a solid understanding of the systems and management techniques of organic farming for both crops and livestock.

Course Structure There are 10 lessons as follows:
    • scope
    • nature
    • history
    • types of organic farming
  1. Integrated Farm Management System:
    • rotation design
    • cash crops
    • managing waste
    • permaculture
    • polyculture
    • biodynamics etc
  2. Organic Management Issues:
    • certification
    • environmental concerns
    • marketing
    • PR
  3. Organic Soil Management and Crop Nutrition:
    • composting
    • mulching
    • green manuring
    • cover crops
    • organic fertilisers
  4. Weed Management:
    • selecting appropriate techniques of control
    • weed identification
  5. Pest and Disease Management:
    • Animals
    • Plants
  6. Livestock Management I:
    • Beef
    • Dairy
    • Sheep
    • Pigs
  7. Livestock Management II:
    • Poultry
    • Goats
    • Alpacas
    • Ostriches
    • Deer
  8. Pasture:
    • Pasture Varieties
    • Management Principles
    • Intensive systems
    • nitrogen fixation
    • correct seed mix
    • risks with legumes
  9. Crops:
    • Wheat
    • Plant Fibre
    • Hay and Silage
    • Mung Beans
    • Sesame seed, etc

Each lesson culminates in an assignment which is submitted to the college, marked by the college\'s tutors and returned to you with any relevant suggestions, comments, and if necessary, extra reading.

Summary of Competencies Developed On successful completion of the course you should be able to do the following:
  • Discuss the scope and nature of organic farming in today?s world.
  • Select appropriate organic management systems for different organic farms.
  • Understand the environmental, economic and political issues concerning organic farming.
  • Explain the role of living organisms and decomposing organic matter in creating and maintaining an appropriate soil condition for successful organic farming.
  • Contrive and apply appropriate weed management practices for an organic farm.
  • Select and apply appropriate pest and disease management practices for both animal and plant production on an organic farm
  • Design an appropriate system for organic production of cattle, sheep and pigs.
  • Design an appropriate system for organic production of poultry and other miscellaneous animals.
  • Design an appropriate system for organic pasture management.
  • Explain the broad-acre organic production of a grain or legume crop.

What the course covers
Here are just some of the things you will be doing:

  • Investigate Organic industry such as, Certifying Organisations, Producers or organic farming groups in your locality or region
  • Determine allowable inputs to an organic farm certifying in your area
  • Discuss how an organic farm requires more labour than a conventional farm
  • Visit an organic farm, either a real visit or virtual visit if that is not possible
  • Prepare a plan for an organic farm.
  • Describe the conversion process for one of the organic farms
  • Investigate organic market potential
  • Prepare a compost heap
  • Prepare a diagram of a healthy soil food web
  • Prepare a weed collection (25 weeds either pressings or illustrations)
  • Determine appropriate weed control within allowable organic farming limits.
  • Describe the life cycle of three animal parasites
  • Describe habitat requirements of various predatory insects
  • Survey one or more farms regarding animal production systems
  • How can the animals above be integrated into a vegetable or fruit production system
  • Determine organic solutions to different farming problems
  • Investigate different pasture management systems.

Additional Reference

An ideal complementary reference is the book Sustainable Agriculture 2nd edition, written by our principal John Mason, and published by Landlinks Press (A division of CSIRO).

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