Studying online

There are now 2 possible online modes for units:

Units with modes Online timetabled and Online flexible are available for any student to self-enrol and study online.

Click on an offering mode for more details.

Unit Overview


The focus of this unit is the matching of livestock energy demand to supply of feed, particularly forage, within Australian agricultural systems. Pasture production is first 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. Breeding of annual pasture legumes is examined. The ruminant digestive system and reproductive cycle are explored along with the factors that determine diet, feed quality and feed intake. Current challenges and innovations in livestock systems, including in the rangelands of Western Australia, are explored in lectures and through visiting the UWA Future Farm and Shenton Park Research Station (e.g. saltland pastures, perennial native shrubs, novel annual pasture legumes, legume breeding, oestrogenic pastures and low stress livestock handling). Laboratories are used to explore key concepts in more detail and the skills needed to design experiments and collect and explore data using Excel and the statistical package R are emphasised throughout the unit.

6 points
(see Timetable)
Semester 2UWA (Perth)Face to face
Semester 2AlbanyFace to face
Details for undergraduate courses
  • Level 2 core unit in the Agricultural Science; Agricultural Science and Technology; Agricultural Technology; Agribusiness and Agricultural Science; Agribusiness major sequences

Students are able to (1) list the key characteristics of the current common pasture and livestock species grown in Australia; (2) demonstrate understanding of the ruminant digestive system and how livestock energy demand can be matched to feed type and availability; (3) communicate the key factors influencing the economic viability of grazing systems in Western Australia; (4) 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; (5) demonstrate understanding of the basic principles of experimental design, data collection and data exploration for pasture and livestock experiments; and (6) build a simple computer model of an agricultural system using Excel and the R statistical package to predict outcomes from various scenarios.


Indicative assessments in this unit are as follows: (1) project; (2) laboratory reports; and (3) examination. Further information is available in the unit outline.

Student may be offered supplementary assessment in this unit if they meet the eligibility criteria.

Unit Coordinator(s)
Professor Megan Ryan and Professor Phil Vercoe
Unit rules
Successful completion of
one Unit(s) BIOL1130 Frontiers in Biology
or Unit(s) BIOL1131 Plant and Animal Biology
or Unit(s) AGRI1001 Feeding the World
and Successful completion of
one Unit(s) SCIE1104 Science, Society and Data Analysis
or Unit(s) STAT1400 Statistics for Science
or Unit(s) STAX1400 Statistics for Science
or Unit(s) STAT1520 Economic and Business Statistics
or Unit(s) STAX1520 Economic and Business Statistics
Advisable prior study
AGRI1001 Feeding the World
Contact hours
lectures up to 2 hours per week for 12 weeks
computer laboratory sessions: 4 hours
trip to Shenton Park field station: 1 x 2 hours
1 day trip to wheatbelt (or equivalent activitiy) one day 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.
  • Unit readings, including any essential textbooks, are listed in the unit outline for each unit, one week prior the commencement of study. The unit outline will be available via the LMS and the UWA Handbook one week prior the commencement of study. Reading lists and essential textbooks are subject to change each semester. Information on essential textbooks will also be made available on the Essential Textbooks. This website is updated regularly in the lead up to semester so content may change. It is recommended that students purchase essential textbooks for convenience due to the frequency with which they will be required during the unit. A limited number of textbooks will be made available from the Library in print and will also be made available online wherever possible. Essential textbooks can be purchased from the commercial vendors to secure the best deal. The Student Guild can provide assistance on where to purchase books if required. Books can be purchased second hand at the Guild Secondhand bookshop (second floor, Guild Village), which is located on campus.
  • Contact hours provide an indication of the type and extent of in-class activities this unit may contain. The total amount of student work (including contact hours, assessment time, and self-study) will approximate 150 hours per 6 credit points.