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Facoltā di Scienze Agrarie e Alimentari Universitā degli Studi di Milano
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Cropping systems
Code: G5808-
Teacher:  Roberto Confalonieri
Year: 
Term: 
CFU: 
CFU subdivision: Lectures: 6
Practices in classroom: 1,5
Other: 0,5
Basic aims:  Provide students with advanced tools for analyzing and managing herbaceous cropping systems at different spatial scales.
Acquired skills:  Simulation models used to improve the productivity of cropping systems, to protect them from biotic and a-biotic adversities, and to minimize their environmental impact. Agroecological indicators and remote sensing to optimize cropping systems management at farm level. Analysis of cropping systems to support markets management at EU level.
Course contents:  Cropping systems will be analyzed at different spatial scales: field, farm, continental. For each spatial scale, the most suitable tools for analyzing cropping systems will be presented with the aim of providing advanced support for the systems optimization. The tools presented will be simulation models, remote sensing, agroecological indicators, advanced techniques for analyzing and evaluating cropping systems. Part of the course will be about a relevant topic for which the current knowledge is considered insufficient. The topic will be analized by carrying out a specific research project.
Program:  The course presents conceptual and IT tools for advance analyses of herbaceous cropping systems at different spatial scales with the aim of optimizing their management. For each spatial scale, the most suitable tools for analyzing and evaluating the systems studied will be presented. The first spatial level, the field, considers the integrated evaluation of cropping systems of interest through the analysis of some case studies and the production of irrigation and fertilization plans with simulation models. This spatial level takes also into account some advanced and recent techniques for crop protection against biotic and a-biotic injuries. The second spatial level, the farm, uses agroecological indicators to optimize the temporal and spatial distribution of crops and to optimize the energy fluxes within the farm system. The techniques used in the two previous levels can be used also at large scale (e.g., province, region, catchment). The third spatial level considered applies some of the concepts presented and discussed in the previous levels to the analysis of cropping systems at continental scale. The system for crop monitoring and yield forecasting developed and used by the European Commission for supporting the CAP will be presented. Part of the course will be about a topic considered relevant for the analysis and management of cropping systems and for which the current knowledge is considered insufficient. The topic will be chosen by the students among some teacher's proposals and analized by carrying out a specific research project, dividing the students in workpackages and coherently organizing the activities of analysis/research/dissemination.
Prerequisites:  Basic knowledge for agronomy, plant physiology, ecology, soil chemistry.
Preparatory instructions:  Basic knowledge for agronomy, plant physiology, ecology, soil chemistry.
Learning materials:  http://www.robertoconfalonieri.it/teaching_activities.htm (English version available) Scientific papers will be indicated during the lessons.
Other info:  The examination is composed of a written test, a practical exercise using a computer, and a possible oral test.
- The written test consists of (i) 3 questions [0-7 points each]; (ii) 10 quiz [0-1 points each]; the maximum score for this part is 31/30 (30 cum laude).
- The practical exercise consists of optimizing irrigations and fertilizations in a given cropping system using a simulation model; the maximum score for this part is 30 cum laude.
- The oral test (in case requested by the student or by the teacher) consists of 3 questions [from -2 to +2 points each, to be added to the average of the scores achieved in the written and practical tests].
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Program of Cropping systems (pdf version)
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