University of Sydney Handbooks - 2021 Archive

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Plant Production

About the major

Increasing the sustainable production of plant food and fibre products over the next 50 years is one of the great global challenges facing the planet. This task is made more complex by climate change, which will place the use of existing plant production systems under question. The plant production system encompasses the basic genetic and physiological regulations on plant growth, the impact on growth of the important abiotic and biotic variables (soil, water, nutrients, disease and pests) and the over-arching influence of management processes. Achieving increased economically and environmentally sustainable plant productivity will be dependent on implementing innovations across all aspects of the production system while more efficiently using resources and reducing negative impacts on the environment.

This major provides training in plant biology (physiology, biochemistry, plant molecular biology and breeding), soil science, plant protection (integrated insect, disease and weed management), sustainable crop management (agronomy), automation and precision agriculture that will enable students to contribute to this globally important transformation.

Requirements for completion

The Plant Production major and minor requirements are listed in the Plant Production unit of study table.

Contact and further information


Associate Professor Brett Whelan

Learning Outcomes

Students who graduate from Plant Production will be able to:

  1. Exhibit a broad and coherent body of knowledge in plant structure and function, integrating concepts and principles to describe the plant metabolic network and its regulation.
  2. Relate a depth of knowledge in core biological principles and concepts to the management requirements for plant production systems.
  3. Recognise and describe technical issues that challenge crop management and assess how knowledge from other disciplines must be integrated into farming systems across a range of conditions.
  4. Work effectively and safely to analyse plants in the laboratory, adhering to ethical and regulatory practices.
  5. Analyse limitations to plant production and yield in Australia and assess how those limitations can be minimised or overcome through science-based planning and management practice.
  6. Communicate concepts and findings in plant production through a range of modes for a variety of purposes and audiences, using evidence-based arguments that are robust to critique.
  7. Integrate knowledge of plant–microbial interactions at multiple scales to determine how these interactions influence nutrient availability and acquisition, plant growth, yield and disease development.
  8. Devise informed management options for the optimisation of crop plant productivity and system resilience in Australian agroecosystems.
  9. Critically evaluate the economic, biophysical, and chemical principles that must be considered in assessing sustainability in plant production.
  10. Address authentic problems in plant production, working professionally and responsibly and with consideration of cross-cultural perspectives, within collaborative, interdisciplinary teams.