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AGR3305 Precision and Smart Technologies in Agriculture

Semester 1, 2011 External Toowoomba
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Engineering & Surveying
School or Department : Agricultural, Civil, Environmental Engineering
Version produced : 8 March 2013

Contents on this page

Staffing

Examiner: Troy Jensen
Moderator: Badri Basnet

Rationale

This course is designed to provide agricultural engineering students with the skills to assess and manage production variability including the procedures and tools for collecting, organising, interpreting and presenting geographically referenced production data.

Synopsis

Farmers have long recognized that variability exists within individual production units. Traditional practices dictate that producers treat the entire area the same. With the advent of the Global Positioning System (GPS) it is now possible to vary inputs in accordance with localised conditions. Coupled with the capacity to monitor a variety of parameters, producers are now able to manage variability and optimise production. This course is designed to provide students with an introduction to the essential procedures and tools for collecting, organising, interpreting and presenting geographically referenced production data.

Objectives

The course objectives define the student learning outcomes for a course. On completion of this course, students should be able to:

  1. discuss the magnitude and causes of production variability and describe the current objectives and emerging applications of precision agriculture;
  2. be familiar with global positioning systems and geographic information systems, and their application in precision agriculture;
  3. describe the applications of remote sensing, image processing, variability measuring devices and variable rate technology, field guidance and controlled traffic;
  4. explain the economic and environmental benefits of precision agriculture, and quantify some aspects of the economic impact of precision controlled traffic farming.

Topics

Description Weighting(%)
1. Introduction to Precision Agriculture 5.00
2. Technology


Global positioning systems (GPS)

Geographic information systems (GIS)

Sensors - contact and proximal

Remote sensing - satellite and aerial

Controllers
30.00
3. Data Layers


Quantity and quality monitoring and mapping

Elevation and aspect, soil type and depth, fertility, electromagnetic induction, gamma radiometrics

Cropping history, rainfall patterns, irrigation

In-crop measurements (crop stress, NDVI, biomass, yield, weed incidence)
15.00
4. Applications


Differential actions VRT, segregation etc

Weed, disease, insect management

Spatial and temporal management

Self steer tractors and Controlled Traffic Farming (CTF)

Economics - gross margin maps etc

Logistics and value chain

Quality assurance
30.00
5. Industry Case studies


Grains

Cotton

Sugar

Horticulture

Viticulture

Livestock
15.00
6. Economic Aspects of PA, impacts on the environment and traceability 5.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (https://bookshop.usq.edu.au/bookweb/subject.cgi?year=2011&sem=01&subject1=AGR3305)

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (https://bookshop.usq.edu.au/contact/)

  • There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
  • Jensen, JR 2007, Remote sensing of the environment - an earth resource perspective, 2nd edn, Pearson Prentice Hall, Upper Saddle River, N.J.
  • Precision Agriculture, Springer Netherlands.
    (ISSN 1385-2256 (Print) 1573-1618 (USQ Online Journal).)
  • Srinivasan, A 2006, Handbook of precision agriculture principles and applications, Food Products Press, New York.
    (Shelf Number: 631 Han.)

Student workload requirements

Activity Hours
Assessments 30.00
Directed Study 86.00
Examinations 2.00
Private Study 37.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
ASSIGNMENT 1 150 15 28 Mar 2011
ASSIGNMENT 2 150 15 09 May 2011
2 HOUR RESTRICTED EXAMINATION 700 70 End S1 (see note 1)

NOTES
  1. Student Administration will advise students of the dates of their examinations during the semester.

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks or a grade of at least C-. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    If students submit assignments after the due date without extenuating circumstances then a penalty of 5% of the assigned mark may apply for each working day late up a maximum of ten working days at which time a mark of zero can be recorded for that assignment.

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks/grades obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    In a Restricted Examination, candidates are allowed access to specific materials during the examination. The only materials that candidates may use in the restricted examination for this course are: writing materials (non-electronic and free from material which could give the student an unfair advantage in the examination); calculators which cannot hold textual information (students must indicate on their examination paper the make and model of any calculator(s) they use during the examination)

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Any Deferred or Supplementary examinations for this course will be held during the examination period at the end of the semester of the next offering of this course.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at http://policy.usq.edu.au/portal/custom/search/category/usq_document_policy_type/Student.1.html.

Assessment notes

  1. The due date for an assignment is the date by which a student must despatch the assignment to the USQ. The onus is on the student to provide proof of the despatch date, if requested by the Examiner.

  2. Students must retain a copy of each item submitted for assessment. This must be despatched to USQ within 24 hours if required by the Examiner.

  3. In accordance with University's Assignment Extension Policy (Regulation 5.6.1), the examiner of a course may grant an extension of the due date of an assignment in extenuating circumstances.

  4. In this course students may submit assignments electronically in the format specified in the assignment requirements.

  5. The Faculty will NOT normally accept submission of assessments by facsimile or email.

  6. If electronic submission of assessments is specified for the course, students will be notified of this in the course Introductory Book and on the USQ Study Desk. All required electronic submission must be made through the Assignment Drop Box located on the USQ Study Desk for the course, unless directed otherwise by the examiner of the course. The due date for an electronically submitted assessment is the date by which a student must electronically submit the assignment. The assignment files must be submitted by 11.59pm on the due date using USQ time (as displayed on the clock on the course home page; that is, Australian Eastern Standard Time).

  7. Students who do not have regular access to postal services for the submission of paper-based assessments, or regular access to Internet services for electronic submission, or are otherwise disadvantaged by these regulations may be given special consideration. They should contact the examiner of the course to negotiate such special arrangements prior to the submission date.

  8. Students who have undertaken all of the required assessments in a course but who have failed to meet some of the specified objectives of a course within the normally prescribed time may be awarded one of the temporary grades: IM (Incomplete - Make up), IS (Incomplete - Supplementary Examination) or ISM (Incomplete -Supplementary Examination and Make up). A temporary grade will only be awarded when, in the opinion of the examiner, a student will be able to achieve the remaining objectives of the course after a period of non directed personal study.

  9. Students who, for medical, family/personal, or employment-related reasons, are unable to complete an assignment or to sit for an examination at the scheduled time may apply to defer an assessment in a course. Such a request must be accompanied by appropriate supporting documentation. One of the following temporary grades may be awarded IDS (Incomplete - Deferred Examination; IDM (Incomplete Deferred Make-up); IDB (Incomplete - Both Deferred Examination and Deferred Make-up).

  10. This is a communication benchmark course and a major component of the assessment of this course will be associated with the demonstration of communication skills.

  11. Harvard (AGPS) is the referencing system required in this course. Students should use Harvard (AGPS) style in their assignments to format details of the information sources they have cited in their work. The Harvard (AGPS) style to be used is defined by the USQ Library's referencing guide. http://www.usq.edu.au/library/help/referencing/default.htm

Evaluation and benchmarking

In meeting the University's aims to establish quality learning and teaching for all programs, this course monitors and ensures quality assurance and improvements in at least two ways. This course: 1. Conforms to the USQ Policy on Evaluation of Teaching, Courses and Programs to ensure ongoing monitoring and systematic improvement. 2. Forms part of the Bachelor of Engineering and/or Bachelor of Engineering Technology program and is benchmarked against the: - USQ accreditation/reaccreditation processes which include (i) stringent standards in the independent accreditation of its academic programs, (ii) close integration between business and academic planning, and (iii) regular and rigorous review; and - professional accreditation standards of Engineers Australia.