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AGR8002 Emerging Technologies in Agriculture

Semester 2, 2019 Online
Short Description: Emerging Technologies in Agric
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences
School or Department : School of Agric, Comp and Environ Sciences
Student contribution band : Band 2
ASCED code : 050101 - Agricultural Science
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Keith Pembleton


Given the rising global human population, increasing competition from alternative land uses, limitations to available water and the challenges of maintaining soil fertility and plant health worldwide, commercial agriculture across the globe is seeking to increase productivity through technological innovation and practice change. A broad understanding of the nature of these new technologies and their potential to contribute to food security and sustainable agricultural landscapes is essential for professionals in rural industries.


The course begins by considering the historical effects of technological change on agriculture and on rural communities and the flow on effects to society as a whole. The contribution made to technological innovation by advances in our fundamental understanding of biological and physical sciences is discussed. Innovations arising from advances in genetics, crop protection, soil science; agricultural engineering and robotics, data collection and analysis, computer technologies and other fields will be surveyed. Students will have the opportunity to prepare two case studies of their choice.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to demonstrate:

  1. an understanding of the historical role of innovation in advancing agricultural practice and in driving social change.
  2. an enhanced understanding of new knowledge and technological innovation driving advances in crop and animal productivity.
  3. an overview of the application of engineering and computing technologies in improving the productivity of farming systems.
  4. the ability to research, critically evaluate and present a case study of technological innovation in agriculture.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Historical perspective on innovation in agriculture 15.00
2. The relationship of fundamental research and technological innovation 15.00
3. Innovation in breeding, nutrition, and crop and livestock protection 20.00
4. Innovation in engineering, robotics, remote sensing and computing 20.00
5. Farming systems (incl. irrigation) 15.00
6. Future agricultural industries 15.00

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). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

Tow, P, Cooper, I, Partridge, I & Birch, C (eds) 2011, Rainfed Farming Systems, Springer, Dordrecht, The Netherlands.

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.
Atzberger, C. (ed.) 2013, Special Issue "Advances in Remote Sensing of Agriculture" (online).
Billingsley, J., Visala, A., and Dunn, M 2007, 'Robotics in Agriculture and Forestry', in Stafford, V (ed.), Ch 46 in Proceedings, 5th European Conference on Precision Agriculture, The Netherlands, Wageningen Academic Publishers.
(pp.621-628. (online) or
DAFF 2014 Biotechnology (online)
(This site gives access to a wide range of related and relevant material).
Lee, K. 2013 New and emerging technologies: what’s standing in the way. Nuffield Farming Scholarships Report (online)
Precision Agriculture
(This journal allows limited download of the full text of some articles in pdf format and reading on line of the abstract and some text of remaining articles).

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Assessments 60.00
Online Lectures 13.00
Private Study 97.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
Case Study 1 and Presentations 50 50 29 Aug 2019 (see note 1)
Case Study 2 and Presentations 50 50 10 Oct 2019 (see note 2)

  1. The oral presentations will delivered as the students prepare their written case studies.
  2. The oral presentations will delivered as the students prepare their written case studies.

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:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  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 obtained for each of the summative assessment
    items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    As there are no examinations in this course, there will be no deferred or supplementary examinations.

  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