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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Agronomy and herbaceous crops
Code: G271F-
Teacher:  Marco Acutis
Term:  1-2 
CFU:  10 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 8,5
Practices in classroom: 1
Other: 0,5
Basic aims:  To acquire an integrated view of the various elements that concur to the management of crops in different soil and climate contexts and their integration in cropping systems.
Students can go through the factors affecting crop management and crop function into cropping systems. Definition, management and evaluation of cropping systems in terms of productivity, sustainability and environmental impact.
Acquired skills:  Basic elements of agricultural meteorology and agro ecology and crop response to meteorological factors; knowledge on the management of cropping systems in relation to the environment,t soil and climate conditions.
Students get knowledge of: (I) agronomic practices and their effects on productivity and environment; (II) cropping management relating to pedoclimatic conditions. Students get skills in planning of irrigation, fertilization plans and weeding plans, getting knowledge of practical methodologies; principles of organic farming.
Course contents:  Knowledge of the agroecosystem and relationship between plant, soil and atmosphere at field, farm and land scale. Agrometeorology: relation between crops, climate and weather. Effects on crops of atmospheric pollutants.
. Crop water use. Reference evapotranspiration, potential ET and real ET. Dynamics of water uptake and water use efficiency. Surface runoff, erosion and drainage.
The scientific bases of crop management techniques: soil tillage, fertilization, irrigation systems and their management.
Weeds control: agronomical , physical and chemical methods..
Practical activities for fertilization management scheduling and for weed management
Program:  The agro-ecosystem and the plant-atmosphere relationship.
The agro-ecosystem at land, farm and field scale. Factors influencing yields and quality of crops. Ecophysiology of plants in the cropping system. Growth analysis and index used in growth analysis. Solar radiation use efficiency. Plant and climate: effects of meteorological variables (solar radiation, temperature, precipitation, wind, relative humidity) on crop production. Effects of atmospheric pollution on crops. Thermal time. Response to day length. Protection from climatic injuries. The Agrometorology and their application

Dynamics of water uptake and water use efficiency. Surface runoff and erosion. Drainage system.

crop management ant their scientific basis
Soil tillage: primary and secondary tillage operation. Conservative tillage, minimum tillage and no-tillage. Crop fertilization techniques. The requirement of nutritional elements, macro and micro nutrients. Dynamics of nutrients in soil. Soil and plant based diagnostic methods to identify the shortage of mineral nutrients. Type of fertilizers (Nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium fertilizer)and their use. Organic fertilization, slurry and manure characteristics and usage. pH correction and improvement of physical characteristics of soil. Cropping system and crop rotation. Intensive, extensive and organic agriculture systems.

Weeds control. Weed management using agronomic, chemical, mechanical biological and physical approach. Dynamics of herbicides in soil and in the cropping system.

Practical activities: Agro meteorological instrumentation, preparation and analysis of meteorological data. Preparation of fertilization plans according to regional regulations. Preparation of pans for weed management
Prerequisites:  Adequate background is needed in mathematics, physiscs, chemistry and statistics and it may derive from previous classes of the same degree course.
Preparatory instructions:  Though propedeuticites are not strictly required, students are kindly advised to take first year examinations before attending the course.
Learning materials:  Lectures slides are available on http://www.acutis.it/It_corsi.htm. Referenced book: Odum E.P. -Ecologia. Un ponte tra scienza e societā-, Piccin, 2001 Borin, M. -Introduzione all'ecologia del sistema agricoltura-, Cleup, 1999
Other info:  At the end of the course students must take an written examination consisting of questions, an exercise and a compilation of a fertilization management plan. Further information are available on http://www.acutis.it/It_corsi.htm.
Program of Agronomy and herbaceous crops (pdf version)
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