Crop and Pasture Science

Innovation in agriculture

Crop pastureGlobally, there are growing concerns regarding food security and in particular how to feed a growing and more intensively consuming population. Not only are there issues related to increasing food production, but how to do this sustainably. There is strong interest (and new funding) from both the WA and Australian Governments to increase resources for agriculture; agricultural intensification and expansion and the tackling of issues around food security and quality.

The government sees that strong vibrant, innovative and sustainable rural industries will be a key aspect to a strong economy and as the economy continues to transition, the agricultural sector and will need to continue to embrace innovation and adapt and grow ideas. Will you be ready to address these issues and make an impact in this growth area.

Crop & Pasture Science provides a sound industry understanding of the factors that affect the growth of plants used for food and forage production. It will allow you to understand how plant growth can be manipulated through various interventions. You will also be exposed you to the farm business operating environment through crop production systems, soil and hydrology, biochemistry, nutrition and toxicology and plant pathology. Embedded throughout degree is the critical role of new technologies in improving the yield, profitability and sustainability of food production systems.

Typical areas that graduates work in: Current typical job titles:
  • Plant Science
  • Water & Earth Science
  • Crop Protection & Biosecurity
  • Crop & Pasture Production
  • Molecular Agriculture & Biotechnology
  • Agricultural Economics, Policies
  • New technologies
  • Agribusiness
  • Department of Agriculture
  • Animal production
  • Cropping and pasture production
  • Rural Supply
  • Farm Advisors, consultants & technical advisors
  • Cropping management
  • Agricultural services
  • Agricultural research
  • Food production

What are our graduates doing?

Amy Lockwood, PhD student – Sheep Researcher

Amy LockwoodAs the winner of the wool category of the 2016 Science and Innovation Awards for Young People in Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry Amy has just been awarded a $22,000 research grant. She will be using this grant award to fund a 12 month research project into the use of drones to monitor lambs and ewes during lambing.

“Methods often involve close human observers, which may disturb the ewes and therefore alter natural ewe-lamb behaviour and increase the risk of lamb deaths”.

“Utilising smart technology is a priority for the Australian agricultural industry in order to improve farming efficiency, and smart technologies are enabling rapid advancements in research and development in the agricultural industry.

“Not only could the use of drones be beneficial for researching ewe-lamb behaviours, but they could have wide application on farms for routine animal monitoring.”

Amy was born in the regional town of Albany and is following a passion having spent a lot of time on farms growing up.

"I've really enjoyed the livestock side of things from a young age, which is where my passion has come from," she says.

Engage in a career before you graduate

The crop and pasture curriculum has been developed with an industry focus to ensure your training incorporates real world issues and hands on learning.

The training in practical skills commences in year one, with students having access to Australia’s only city-based on-campus farm, as well as other University farms at Mundijong and Whitby Falls.

A crucial component is the opportunity for students to undertake eight weeks of industry placements during their degree, with opportunities for hands-on experience on farms and within the agro-industry, as well as in locations where the University has agricultural research programs throughout the State.

An exciting aspect of the degree is that it provides experience with new technologies such as the use of drones in agriculture, remote sensing, assimilation and interpretation of ‘big- data’ and bio-informatics. Students will also gain experience of advanced molecular technologies via the on campus State Agriculture Biotechnology Centre (SABC) which is the collaborative university centre for R&D in agricultural and veterinary biotechnology in Western Australia.

Future proof your degree

The flexibility of our course structure enables you to tailor a degree to suit your particular interests while maximising employability. A double major of Crop and Pasture Science with Animal Science is a great combination to produce a broad and deep degree in Agriculture. Most double majors can be done in 3 years so add no additional time to degree. Talk to us to find out more about where potential double major combinations can take your degree.

Research excellence

Murdoch holds research excellence rating (ERA- Rating 5) in Crop & Pasture Science and Agricultural Biotechnology, so what does this mean for you? Well it means Murdoch attracts leading agricultural researchers who are tackling real world issues and challenges and have significant links to DAFWA and industry. These are also the academic staff that will be teaching you during your degree.It also means you have a wide range of research areas available for study including crop and pasture management, soil science and hydrology, biotechnology, food security, biosecurity, agricultural technologies and plant pathology.

A Science degree majoring in Crop and Pasture Science presents a world of opportunity in a key growth area. It is best to start with an open mind and look for specialty areas that interest you while you do your degree and pave your own journey. You have the ability to continuously develop your career by actively engaging in university life, networking initiatives and taking advantage of links to industry. With entry scholarships available, choosing Crop and Pasture Science is a great beginning, but remember it’s up to you to decide where you take your degree.

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Find out how you can play a part in this key growth area.