AGR583 Alternative Agriculture (8)

This subject explores the ethics and value systems underlying a range of 'alternative' agriculture systems that forgo the use of such inputs as most synthetic pesticides and fertilizers. Case studies examine some of the practices used by organic farming groups for agricultural production and marketing. The certification standards of these organisations and the transitions required from conventional systems to organic systems are studied. The subject focuses on three principal approaches to management of agricultural land and communities:

Permaculture principles and their application to agriculture
Biodynamic Agriculture
Organic Agriculture and Horticulture

No offerings have been identified for this subject in 2021.

Where differences exist between the Handbook and the SAL, the SAL should be taken as containing the correct subject offering details.

Subject Information

Grading System



One session


School of Agricultural and Wine Sciences

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this subject, students should:
  • be able to appraise the attitudes and reasoning underlying organic, biodynamic and permaculture systems of management;
  • be able to access information and critically evaluate the certification standards and processes of alternative agriculture organisations;
  • be able to identify and appraise practices used in the management of organic, biodynamic and permaculture systems;
  • be able to plan and monitor strategies for the transition from a conventional to an alternative farming system; and
  • be able to plan and monitor strategies for the management of farms according to the standards or aims of the system being utilised.


This subject will cover the following topics:
  • Biodynamic Agriculture
  • Topic 1 The farm as an organism
  • Topic 2 Background to biodynamic agriculture
  • Topic 3 Soil mineral processes and organic matter formation
  • Topic 4 Soil fertility
  • Topic 5 Crop, pasture and animal husbandry
  • Topic 6 Pest and weed control
  • Topic 7 Planetary rhythms
  • Topic 8 Research
  • Topic 9 Marketing biodynamic produce
  • Topic 10 Conversion to biodynamic methods
  • Topic 11 Bidynamic organizations and activities
  • Topic 12 Certification standards
  • Permaculture principles and their application to agriculture
  • Principles 1 - 12
  • Organic agriculture and horticulture Topic 1 Introduction to organic farming
  • Topic 2 Principles of organic farming
  • Topic 3 Soil management
  • Topic 4 Managing plant nutrition
  • Topic 5 Animal management
  • Topic 6 Pest, disease and weed management
  • Topic 7 Conversion to organic agriculture
  • Topic 8 Certification
  • Topic 9 Marketing
  • Topic 10 Organic agriculture: today and the future

The information contained in the CSU Handbook was accurate at the date of publication: May 2021. The University reserves the right to vary the information at any time without notice.