This course is aimed at individuals who wish to understand how crops function in terms of acquiring essential resources they need for growth and yield. The focus is on light (radiation) and water.
Participants will gain an understanding of the underlying physiology that determines yield, biomass production and efficiency with which crops utilise resources in contrasting agro-environments. They will benefit from a hands-on approach to measuring these factors in the 2 day workshop.
Students who wish to accrue 10 credits must complete the assessed work - alternatively the course can be studied as CPD only.
Areas covered will include:
- Principles of radiation (light) capture by crop canopies and how key features such as leaf area index and canopy structure determines the amount of radiation intercepted.
- The principles that set the ceiling productivity of crops including radiation use efficiency and types of photosynthesis. Prospects for future improvement in different environments.
- Principles of water uptake and loss by crop canopies. Root structure and function. Soil type. Physiological basis of water use efficiency and response to drought. The concept of evapotranspiration of vegetation and its measurement.
- Integrated aspect of resource capture by crops, including contemporary problems such as climate change, drought and flooding, nutrition (notably nitrogen).
- Practical measurement of light, water and different aspects of plant physiology (e.g. photosynthesis and transpiration).