Significant increases in the global human population, increasing climatic instability and a concurrent reduction in fossil fuel availability, impacting upon agricultural production and policy. Food production must increase without a simultaneous increase in resource use.
Improvements in crop yield and production efficiency often come through the utilisation of individual elements of new research. Integrated Crop Management (ICM) however utilises multiple facets of research simultaneously to bring about larger, more sustainable results. This course focuses on incorporating the latest research to develop students’ critical and analytical thinking in subjects such as pest dynamics, genetic improvement, crop technology, sustainable practice and soil management.
This MSc, delivered at Myerscough and awarded by the University of Central Lancashire will integrate these topics alongside a broader critical evaluation of crop sciences enabling you to design bespoke ICM programmes for given situations.
It is aimed at graduates in biological sciences who are looking to find employment as agronomists, farm advisors, agro-technical specialists particularly in allied agricultural industries. Successful completion of this MSc degree will also facilitate progression to PhD level research in food production science.
Integrated approaches in high-input cropping systems
High-input crop production systems typically focus on achieving both high yields and profitability. This module explores the science and agronomic principles of a range of crops under such management regimes as well as their associated problems and limitations. Consideration will be given to integrated management approaches currently being adopted by industry as well as the major drivers of these changing practices. These include legislation, resistance to agrochemicals and public acceptance.
Invertebrate Dynamics in Crop Production
Approximately 10-15% of global crop production is lost to invertebrate pests. Conversely, invertebrates constitute a significant ecosystem service through pest predation and pollination. In any integrated production system, the management of invertebrates is therefore fundamental to effective crop production. This module will focus on critical evaluation of current research on invertebrate ecology and dynamics and applying this to their potential impacts on conventional cropping systems. Concepts of pest population dynamics, herbivory and species life histories will be considered in relation to their effects on the crop. Alongside this, their ‘value’ as pollinators, predators, vectors and the effects of lethal and sub-lethal pesticide doses will be evaluated.
Contemporary agronomic research and development
Research into agronomy, technology and management is of critical importance if the industry is to continue to adapt to modern pressures and challenges worldwide. This module will explore the research path including laboratory to field trials and, ultimately, application into practice. Case studies will be explored where research and development has made or could make a significant impact to management practice.
Integrated approaches in low-input cropping systems
Low-input cropping systems seek to optimise crop yields whilst using fewer inputs when compared to conventional crop production systems. In parts of the world this is due to a lack of financial and physical resources whilst in others this is due to perceived environmental benefits. This module explores the science of the integrated management of crops under such systems, including enhanced soil management and factors influencing nutrition and disease control. Limitations will also be considered as will approaches that conventional crop production could learn from low-input management systems.
Global Drivers for Agricultural Change
This module examines the global drivers behind the need to refocus agricultural production to meet the needs of the increasing world population and mitigate the impacts of climate change. It will focus on concepts such as the effects of globalisation; the economic issues with pesticide development; the globalisation and privatisation of agricultural technology and the use of targeted pest control techniques. Furthermore, the module will assess the impacts of corporate responsibility and the necessity of having sustainable global supply chains.
Research Methodology and Design
This module provides students with the essential personal, organisational, management, theoretical and statistical skills needed to work at Postgraduate Level. It will explore research philosophies, research process and design and the process of questionnaire development and design. The module will develop skills in advanced data organisation, presentation, dissemination and problem solving.
The dissertation is a triple module and allows students to design and conduct a substantial piece of independent, supervised research related to the field of study. The dissertation is an independent piece of academic work which allows the student to identify and work in an area of interest to them and manage the research process to agreed deadlines.