FdSc Agriculture

About the course

The course is delivered at University Centre Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire. The UK “has to have to have a supply of skilled and talented people that our farmers and rural economies need.” (gov.uk, 2017). It is estimated an additional 60,000 highly skilled and qualified people over the next ten years are required in the industry. To take on this challenge we have planned this course to mix both practical and theory skills in the sector, to prepare you for farm management or management in the ancillary sector.

World population is expected to grow by over a third, or 2.3 billion people by 2050 and with this farming faces many challenges: it has to produce more food and fibre to feed a growing population with a smaller rural labour force, more crops for the bioenergy market, and adopt more efficient and sustainable production methods and adapt to climate change (FAO, 2009)

The course helps you develop knowledge alongside technical, practical and employability skills, to allow you to relate your studies to current issues and challenges in the farming industry. Set over 2 years and making use of our new Farming and Food Innovation and Technology Centre, the course offers a broad range of topics, and aims to equip you for an exciting future in farming and food production.

On graduation students can secure farm management positions or can progress (subject to meeting entry criteria) to our ‘Top-Up’ courses in Agricultural Livestock Science or Agricultural Crop Science. Set over 1 year full time or 2 years part time, successful study will award a BSc.

Agriculture is also a major global employer and many students find their newly learnt skills are in demand overseas. If you enjoy the challenge of farming and its theories, innovation and policy, this is the course for you.

Course modules

Year 1

Agricultural Machinery Management

Students will discuss the principles of agricultural machinery systems and investigate of the strength and suitability of materials in relation to different roles within machinery. Safety systems within machinery will also be considered. You will also develop skills in the acquisition and analysis of primary and secondary data.

Academic and Vocational Skills

A module designed to enable students to maximise their performance both on the course and in the industry to kick start a strong degree and excellent career in the sector. You will gain first-hand experience using a relevant industry environment to develop academic, practical and technical skills. You will record and reflect on their own personal development during the module. The module is fundamental to the ethos of foundation degrees in providing engagement in a professional environment and should inspire students through study on the ‘Industry Project’ module at level 5.

Essential Plant and Soil Science

Here students explore the underpinning knowledge and understanding of plant biology and soil science. For plants (crops) students discover how plant form and function relates to their basic needs in terms of light, water, nutrients and reproduction. Soils will enable you to recognise soil properties (in both soil samples and in the field) and their influence on plant growth and development.

Animal Anatomy and Physiology

Anatomy, physiology and environmental assessment are introduced through this core module. With a focus for the agricultural students on livestock, you will explore the fundamentals of animal biology, an understanding of which will help foster successful livestock farmers. The module includes some lab practicals.

Principles of Crop Production

Gives an introduction into the principles of growing a range of agricultural crops covering the establishment, nutrition, protection, harvesting and storage of crops. Constraints on crop production from pests, diseases and adverse environmental conditions are also introduced.

Principles of Livestock Production

Introduces the main production systems of a range of livestock produced in the UK. Health, disease and biosecurity, animal welfare standards, breeding, nutrition & costings will be included as students develop a full picture of the UK livestock industry.

Year 2

Business and Entrepreneurism (Option)

Here you will evaluate entrepreneurship and the entrepreneurial process to develop your business planning skills. This includes marketing and finance in order to aid the formulation of sustainable and enterprising business plans suited for a fast changing growth industry.

Crop Physiology and Production

A module exploring the science underpinning crop growth and production in arable crops and fresh produce. A critical appreciation of management practices that exploit and apply this knowledge will be developed.

Forage Crop and Grassland Management (Option)

Central to farm profitability is the scientific basis of grassland & forage crop production as we seek sustainability in livestock production systems. In this module, emphasis will be placed on the fundamental principles with the application of science to allow students to make effective forage crop management decisions.

Industry Project

Here the expectation is students apply the practical, technical and professional skills developed in Year 1 (L4) to a relevant self-driven project within the industry. Using a structured work environment students identify a suitable project, and collaborate with their supervisor in developing and managing the project, and reporting on the outcomes. Students will be encouraged to use the project to develop professional relationships and target their chosen career options along with creating a positive digital footprint.

Integrated Farm Management

This module analyses the key theory of IFM as a farm resource management tool. You will explore the strands of IFM to develop students’ ability to make informed farm management decisions leading to high standards and success in the sector.

Livestock Nutrition and Breeding (Option)

Essential for those destined for a career in livestock here you will develop a broad understanding of the biological and biochemical principles which underpin animal nutrition and breeding. Dietary requirements and modern breeding techniques along with the use of cutting edge science will explore how to maximise yield from our livestock.

Managing the Agricultural Environment

Students will evaluate some of the impacts of recent changes in farming practice (in the UK) on plants and animals living in agricultural habitats such as moorland, upland rough grazing, lowland pastures, silage, crops and field margins. Strategies for the conservation of farmland biodiversity are investigated, as is the concept of ecosystem services which is a way of attributing economic value to the environment.

Production of Non-combinable Crops (Option)

An opportunity to examine the developments and use of current and emerging crop technologies and evaluates their ethical, environmental and economic issues. The design of effective experiments and data interpretation to validate new technologies and crop products will also be covered.

Research Methods (Option)

Experimental design and data analysis are core themes in this module. It will introduce concepts of statistical testing and further develop skills in presenting and interpreting results of scientific investigations. The module will give students vital skills in formulating research questions and designing an effective experiment in preparation for the final year research project.

Entry requirements & additional information

Entry requirements

5 GCSE passes at Grade C (4) or above (including Maths and English or equivalent)

Plus 48 UCAS Tariff points from one or more of the following:

· 2 A-levels (A2), at least one at C or above

· BTEC/C&G Level 3

· 2 Scottish Highers at C or above

· 3 Irish Highers at C or above

· International Baccalaureate at 24 points

· NVQ Level 3 in a relevant discipline

AS levels, BTEC Subsidiary Diploma and Scottish Intermediate 2s may be used to contribute to entry requirements but they are not sufficient for entry on their own. Alternative equivalent qualifications will also be considered positively.

Applicants who believe they may be eligible for Accreditation of Prior Certificated and/or Experiential Learning (APCL/APEL) for certain modules will be considered on an individual basis.

Applicants for whom English is a second language must be able to demonstrate proof of International English Language Testing System (IELTS) at level 6.0 (with no component score lower than 5.5) or equivalent.

All offers may be subject to successful interview

Learning and assessment

Learning Environment:

Learning activities on the course are diverse, including lectures, seminars, tutorials and workshops. This course makes use of the extensive on-site research facilities and the College farms. Students will be expected to undertake extensive independent study and research to support lectures, seminars and assessments. Group work and group presentations will form an important part of the course. Students will also have access to specialist IT hardware and software including an on-line learning platform.

Assessment:

Students will face a variety of assessments including examinations, essays, debates, assignments, technical reports, group and individual presentations, individual study projects and industry based case studies.

Additional Information:

Study trips are organised to visit a variety of successful agricultural livestock and arable enterprises in the Cumbria, Cheshire, Lancashire, Yorkshire and Wirral areas. These farm businesses have welcomed Myerscough student visits to supplement the learning in specific modules. Farm diversification and commercial energy generation projects are also visited including wind farms, large scale anaerobic digestion units and biomass plants.

Guest speakers often visit and include industry experts in areas such as crop protection and marketing, agricultural waste management, animal nutrition, livestock technology, AI and breeding. Extra curricula activities include a week long study tour takes based in Europe and attendance at national events and conferences including British Cattle Breeders annual conference.

What work experience can I get?

There is a total of 360 hours in-built work experience throughout the course. This will be based in an agricultural organisation and will be assessed in the Work Skills Development module in the first year and the Work Project module in Year 2. In addition, students are strongly advised that any further work experience will enhance their prospects of employment. Students already working in agriculture will not need to carry out any additional work experience however, they will still need to submit work based assignments to complete the course.

Progression

On successful completion of the FdSc programme students may apply for further qualifications such as BSc (Hons) Agriculture, BSc (Hons) Agricultural Livestock Science (Top-up) or BSc (Hons) Agricultural Crop Science (Top-up).

Careers

Graduates will be in a position to apply for posts available in the agricultural industry (and other related industries) including:

Farm Management

Livestock specialist

Contractor

Farm Business Advisor

Feed Sales Management

Livestock Breeding specialist

Animal Nutritionists

AI Technicians

Veterinary Drugs Representative

Professional accreditations

Students will be encouraged to form links with local and national agricultural organisations such Tenant Farmers Association, NFU, Dairy Co, EBLEX, Breed Societies, RASE and Young Farmers Associations.

Special requirements

Extra Costs

Additional costs for items that are essential for the course include:

  • £100 - Waterproofs, safety boots, wellingtons and overalls

Additional costs for opportunities and items that are optional for the course include:

  • £1,100 - Field trips and visits (including possible overseas trips)

Agriculture

Myerscough College is one of the leading institutions for Agriculture in the UK. Our courses will help prepare you for a career in the industry, by combining relevant background skills with the knowledge of crop and livestock technology as well as business enterprise.

There is currently a significant demand for highly trained and well educated professionals to enter the industry. This has been fuelled by the increasing awareness that food production, farming, tourism, the environment and rural affairs are all interconnected.

They say: Nicola Chappelhow

"Myerscough gave me a great understanding of different types of agriculture and set me up nicely for my job as a milk recorder."

 

Alumni – Oliver McEntyre

To anyone looking to study Agriculture or Countryside at Myerscough College, I’d say go, embrace it & leave with the knowledge that the qualification will stay with you for the rest of your career and open doors that might not have been opened without the time and experience Myerscough offers.

Meet Oliver

Our Partnership with UCLan

All our Higher Education programmes are awarded by the University of Central Lancashire (UCLan). Myerscough College is an Associate School of the University of Central Lancashire, a dynamic, vibrant and contemporary university located in Preston city centre. UCLan is one of the largest universities in the UK with world-leading and internationally excellent research areas. It offers a wide range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses.