AGS401 Integrated Agriculture (16)


In this subject students will develop a high level awareness and understanding of the social (human) nature of agriculture and farming, while drawing on the knowledge gained from previous subjects primarily focused on the individual technical agricultural disciplines.  The focus of the subject is on developing skills and expertise in ‘integration’ of all factors influencing production including farming techniques and overall farmer philosophy to production and business management. 

Analysis of the environmental, social, economic and political factors impacting on agricultural production in Australia will be undertaken, including the study of ‘real world’ case studies of integrated farming practice.  While other subjects teach mostly technical skills and knowledge, this subject shifts the focus to also understanding the human element, that is, the decision maker (the manager) and decision making, including the various on and off-farm factors that influence decision making.  Accordingly students will also develop skills in conducting and interpreting social research and ultimately be able to differentiate between the various influences on decision making in agriculture and day-to-day farming, developing an associated understanding of the factors that drive change.

+ Subject Availability Modes and Location

Session 1
InternalWagga Wagga Campus
Session 2
InternalWagga Wagga Campus
Continuing students should consult the SAL for current offering details: AGS401
Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject information

Duration Grading System School:
Two sessionsHD/FLSchool of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Enrolment restrictions

This subject is specific to The Bachelor of Agricultural Science students. Students who have not completed all of the first 3 years of this course cannot enrol into this subject.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:

- be able to demonstrate a capacity to apply specialist (technical) knowledge in an integrated manner to address agricultural ‘problems’ (demonstrating enhanced skills in diagnosing problems and determining appropriate solutions)

- be able to demonstrate application of the skills necessary to design, conduct and interpret (report) social research as it relates to agricultural production (using this information to improve complex situations); that is, understand the human element in what might be considered ‘technical’ issues

- be able to describe how environmental, social, economic and political factors impact on contemporary agricultural production in Australia and explain how farmers and farming systems have responded to such impacts

- be able to explain how systems concepts can be used to describe and analyse complex (technical) production system situations

- be able to describe the various ways social factors impact on manager decision making and how this knowledge can contribute to creating change in farming practice

- be able to demonstrate skills in problem solving relevant to a range of different agricultural systems.


The subject will cover the following topics:

- Systems and Sustainability

- General systems theory

- Public (community) perspectives of sustainability

- Farmer perspectives of sustainability

- Resource Sustainability and Catchment Management

- The triple (or quadruple) bottom line

- Global Issues for Australian agriculture (including marketing)

- Social research

- Research methods and social analysis

- Critical thinking and problem solving

- The economic, social, cultural and political influences

affecting change in systems

- Soft systems analysis

- Agroecosystem analysis

- Understanding (creation of) agricultural policy at regional,

state, national and global levels

- Radical representation and the influence of lobby groups

- Social research project

- Agriculture in practice (case study analysis of various systems)

- Irrigation production

- Livestock production (grazing problem solving)

- Cereal production (agronomic problem solving)

- Farmer advocacy / farmer research groups

- Alternative agriculture


The information contained in the 2016 CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: 06 September 2016. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.