The course aims at providing an adequate information on the natural systems, ecosystems and agro-ecosystems. Concerning the latter, it will provide basic knowledge on the relationships between crop systems, crop production, crop quality and impact on the environment. Morpho-physiological aspects and cropping techniques of the following crops will be examined in depth, with the aim of their use in the livestock diets: - cool-season cereals (wheat, triticale, barley) and warm-season cereals (maize, sorghum); - forage crops such as rotational grasslands (lucerne) and pastures; - oil-protein crops (soybean).
Expected learning outcomes
At the end of the course, the student will know the aspects that characterize the agricultural land and the close connection between livestock farms and soil.
Lesson period: Second semester
(In case of multiple editions, please check the period, as it may vary)
Part I: factors defining plant production (8 hours) Moisture and dry matter, the concepts of harvest index and carrying capacity. Crop productivity conditions: potential, obtainable and effective production. Potential production: photosynthetic process and biochemical process. Respiration. Solar radiation, temperature and their effects on crop production. The main phenological phases of the crops. Part II: factors limiting and reducing crop production (16 hours) Production limited by water, the water balance of the soil-plant-atmosphere system; the soil; efficiency of water use; crop production limited by nutrients; main features of mineral and organic fertilizers. Part III: Herbaceous crops (16 hours) Cool-season cereals (wheat, triticale, barley) and warm-season cereals (maize and sorghum): main morphological and eco-physiological characteristics, use in livestock feeding. Forage crops: cultivated grasslands, pastures, catch crops: -main features, possibilities and production limits in our environments. Oil-protein crops (soybean): main morphological and eco-physiological characteristics; use in animal nutrition. Exercises Technical visits in crop-livestock farms (16 hours)
Prerequisites for admission
Specific preliminary knowledge is not required to attend the course.
The course, in Italian, consists of lectures in the classroom and guided visits to crop-livestock farms.
The teaching material, in pdf format, is available through the University platform Ariel, Agronomia - Cesare Tomasoni. [web site]: http://ariel.unimi.it/ For a wider knowledge, the following textbooks (in Italian) are advised: Bonciarelli F., Bonciarelli U. (2001) Coltivazioni erbacee. Calderini Edagricole, Bologna. Giardini L. (1992). Agronomia generale ambientale e aziendale. Patron Editore. Onofrii M., Tomasoni C. (1989) Le foraggere coltivate in Italia. Edagricole, Bologna.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of a oral test aimed at ascertaining the acquisition and correct understanding of the course content. The test grade will be given out of thirty (x/30) and the final grade will take into account the accuracy of the answers and the critical analysis skills of the open question present in the test.