General agronomy

A.Y. 2019/2020
Overall hours
Learning objectives
The learning objectives are to:
- Obtain an integrated view of factors that contribute to crop management and of crop utilisation in cropping system.
- Know and understand crop management techniques and their effects on productivity and environment.
- Know and understand the techniques to set up, manage and evaluate cropping systems in terms of productivity, sustainability and control of environmental impact.
- Know and understand crop management techniques of some important arable crops.
Based on the basic disciplines of previous semesters, in this course the student knows and understands agronomic management techniques of cropping systems. This body of knowledge, integrated by more specific disciplines acquired later on, is a key tool to carry out a productive, environmental and economic evaluation of cropping systems.
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course the student will be able to:
- Quantitatively and temporally define a crop management protocol.
- Compare and choose tillage techniques, including conservation agriculture practices.
- Prepare a nutrient management plan.
- Calculate a simple soil organic matter budget.
- Prepare a weed management plan.
- Define the crop management protocol of a few arable crops, taking into account the constraints set by soil, climate and yield targets.
- Communicate this knowledge in writing and orally.
- Acquire autonomously new knowledge in this domain (e.g. know and understand crop management technique of an arable crop not covered in this course).
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
1. Introduction to agronomy.
2. Soil structure and soil-water relations.
3. Tillage.
4. Fertilization and nutrient management.
5. Soil amendment.
6. Weed control.
7. Introduction to arable crops. Wheat. Maize
8. Starting from the academic year 2017/2018, students can hold optional seminars on topics agreed with the professor. Each seminar has a duration of 15 minutes. Seminars are held during normal lecture time because they are of interest for the other students too. Seminars are evaluated with a score up to 3, which contributes to the final mark.
Prerequisites for admission
- Mathematics, chemistry, physics
- Botany
- Plant physiology
- Crop ecology: ecosystems and agroecosystems; meteorology; water balance, soil-water relationships
- Soil science: texture and structure; biogeochemical cycles
Teaching methods
There will be:

(a) Lectures to present all topics of the programme
(b) Practical exercises in the classroom to prepare a nutrient management plan
(c) Field visits in farms, to directly observe soils, crops, tools, and to discuss the concepts related to tillage, fertilisation and weed control with farmers and advisors.

There will also be facultative seminars held by the students (see at the end of the programme for more details).
Teaching Resources
Ceccon, P., Fagnano, M., Grignani, C., Monti, A., Orlandini, S., 2017. Agronomia, 1a ed., EdiSES, Napoli.

Articles and book chapters suggested on the ARIEL platform

Grignani, C., 2016. Fertilizzazione sostenibile. Principi, tecnologie ed esempi operativi, Collana Edagricole Università e Formazione. Edagricole-New Business Media, Milano, Italy.
Casa, R., 2016. Agricoltura di precisione, Collana Edagricole Università e Formazione. Edagricole-New Business Media, Milano, Italy.
Loomis, R.S., Connor, D.J., 1992. Crop ecology: Productivity and management in agricultural systems. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam is written. It is made of 10-12 short questions on the whole programme and exercises. The optimal length of an answer ranges from a few lines to a whole page written by hand, depending on the question or exercise. The exam lasts two hours. The mark is assigned by averaging the marks of each answer.

The evaluation considers: a) the use of adequate language; b) the correctness of the contents; c) the completeness of the answers. Missing contents reduce the mark. Excess contents are not evaluated. In the exercises it is important to use the proper order of magnitude for the variables and the parameters. Units must always be specified.

A pocket calculator can be used for the exercises.

An oral exam is not planned.

The intermediate exam (not mandatory) has the objective to help students to gradually assimilate the programme. Students who have passed the intermediate exam must pass a final exam on the whole programme (a written examination of one hour instead of two).

There will:
- Two exam dates at the end of each semester (Jun-Jul, Jan-Feb)
- An exam date during the intermediat exams period (Apr, Nov)
- An exam date in September
AGR/02 - AGRONOMY AND FIELD CROPS - University credits: 8
Field activity: 12 hours
Practicals: 12 hours
Lessons: 52 hours
Professor: Bechini Luca
By making an appointment.
In my office (Via Celoria 2, Dipartimento di Scienze Agrarie e Ambientali - Agronomia, 1st floor above "Aula 1")