AGRI2201 Pasture and Livestock Systems

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Agricultural Science major sequence
  • The area of knowledge for this unit is Life and Health Sciences
  • Category B broadening unit for students
The focus of this unit is the matching of livestock energy demand to supply of feed, particularly forage, within Australian agricultural systems. The unit commences with an introduction to agriculture in Australia, including its history, agroecological zones and major crops, pastures and livestock. Pasture production is then focused upon with an emphasis on the ecology of the major pasture legumes and grasses, especially in a Mediterranean climate, as is typical of Western Australia. The ruminant digestive system and reproductive cycle are explored along with the factors that determine diet, feed quality and feed intake. Pasture diseases and their interaction with livestock is covered through case-studies. Key economic concepts are taught including calculating a gross margin. Current innovations in livestock systems are covered in lectures and through visiting commercial farms and talking with farmers (e.g. salt land pastures, perennial shrubs, grazing crops). Laboratories are used to explore key concepts in more detail and the skills needed to design experiments and collect and explore data are emphasised throughout the unit.
Students are able to (1) demonstrate sound knowledge of the history of Australian agriculture and current agricultural systems; (2) list the key characteristics of the current common pasture and livestock species grown in Australia; (3) demonstrate understanding of how livestock energy demand can be matched to feed type and availability; (4) communicate the key factors influencing the economic viability of grazing systems in Western Australia; (5) demonstrate a capacity for broad and critical thinking in relation to how pasture and livestock systems in Western Australia could implement innovative solutions to current economic and environmental challenges; (6) demonstrate understanding of the basic principles of experimental design, data collection and data exploration for pasture and livestock experiments; and (7) build a simple computer model of an agricultural system to predict outcomes from various scenarios.
Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) field trip report; (2) laboratory reports; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Supplementary assessment is not available in this unit except in the case of a bachelor's pass degree student who has obtained a mark of 45 to 49 overall and is currently enrolled in this unit, and it is the only remaining unit that the student must pass in order to complete their course.
Unit Coordinator(s)
Associate Professor Megan Ryan and Professor Phil Vercoe
Unit rules
BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology
BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology
SCIE1106 Molecular Biology of the Cell
(SCIE1104 Science Society and Data Analysis
STAT1400 Statistics for Science
STAT1520 Economic and Business Statistics )
Contact hours
lectures: 2–4 hours per week for 12 weeks; laboratory sessions: 3 x 2 hours; trip to Shenton Park field station: 1 x 2 hours; 1 day trip to wheatbelt on a weekend
  • The availability of units in Semester 1, 2, etc. was correct at the time of publication but may be subject to change.
  • All students are responsible for identifying when they need assistance to improve their academic learning, research, English language and numeracy skills; seeking out the services and resources available to help them; and applying what they learn. Students are encouraged to register for free online support through GETSmart; to help themselves to the extensive range of resources on UWA's STUDYSmarter website; and to participate in WRITESmart and (ma+hs)Smart drop-ins and workshops.
  • Books and other material wherever listed may be subject to change. Book lists relating to 'Preliminary reading', 'Recommended reading' and 'Textbooks' are, in most cases, available via the Booktopia Textbook Finder, which has the functionality to search by course code, course, ISBN and title, and may also be posted or available at the appropriate school's administrative offices. Where texts are listed in the unit description above, an asterisk (*) indicates that the book is available in paperback.