Course code LauZ5135

Credit points 4

Bio-ecological Base of Crop Production

Total Hours in Course160

Number of hours for lectures32

Number of hours for seminars and practical classes32

Independent study hours96

Date of course confirmation29.03.2011

Responsible UnitInstitute of Soil and Plant Science

Course developers

author Augsnes un augu zinātņu institūts

Aleksandrs Adamovičs

Dr. agr.

author Augsnes un augu zinātņu institūts

Zinta Gaile

Dr. agr.

Course abstract

Role, position, products and production volume of field and grassland crops in the world, Europe and Latvia. Biology and ecology of forage grasses and legumes as base of grassland management. Agroecological factors influencing yield of fied crops and grasslands. Yield levels. Sun radiation, PAR and light. Productive moisture. Temperature regime in biocenosis of fields and grasslands. Biocenosis and the environment. Grassland ecosystems, their formation. Components, structure, external and internal communication of grassland ecosystems. Interaction of organisms in grassland ecosystems. Organization of grassland phytocenoses. Structure of grassland phytocenoses. Component dynamics in grassland ecosystems. Natural grasslands. Sown grasslands.

Biological stresses. Kinds of plant nutrition, provision of plants with nutrition elements. Energetic estimation of plant production. Principles of choice for growingt of plant species and cultivars.

Learning outcomes and their assessment

Master students acquire deeper knowledge on agro-ecological factors determining yield and its quality of different level in biocenosis of field crops and grassland (1st – 8th tests).
Master students comprehend the role, relations and interaction of different yield and its quality determining factors. They have skills to soften adverse effect of unregulated factors by alteration of controllable factors’ effect (1st – 8th tests, oral reports).
As a result, master students working in production and/or advisory services, and/or research, are competent to balance and push effect of different yield and its quality affecting factors to desirable direction; they are competent to study and discuss scientific and other literature on topics of study course (1st – 8th tests, oral reports, exam).

Course Content(Calendar)

1. Condition, production volumes, types of production of field and grassland crop production in the world, Europe and in Latvia.
2. Types of plant classification; factors affecting field crop productivity, their grouping, interconnections.
3. Impact of climatic, meteorological and agronomic factors on yield formation.
4. Yield levels and world record yields.
5. Temperature as a plant growth factor; heat supply and the length of vegetation period. Various temperature ratings, calculations and evaluations of active and effective temperatures, growing degree days etc. for various field crops.
6. Estimation of moisture supply for different field crops during the vegetation period. Evapotranspiration. Hydrothermal coefficient as a measure of moisture supply. 1st test on previously studied topics (points 1 to 6).
7. Photosynthetically active radiation (FAR), its coverage in different climatic zones. Photosynthetic potential.
8. Sowing lighting. Photosynthetically active leaf surface and methods influencing its size.
9. Leaf area, leaf area index, net productivity of photosynthesis.
10. Possibilities to predict yield according to provision of various factors.
11. Field crop yield components, their compensation ability; bio-energy efficiency of field crop production.
12. Principles of choosing species and varieties for growing.
2nd test on topics from points 7 to 12.
13. Autotrophic components of grassland ecosystems. 3rd test
14. Heterotrophic components of grassland ecosystems. 4th test
15. The life span of grasslands, factors affecting it; grassland crop regeneration, its regulation possibilities.
16. The chemical composition of grassland crops, nutrition value, energy capacity, factors affecting it.
17. Accumulation of reserve nutrients in grassland crops; grassland crop propagation.
18. Grassland crop biological stress, its evaluation methods.
19. Grassland crop moisture regime, its stability, variability and adjustment possibilities.
20. Grassland crop mineral nutrition; the importance of mineral nutrition elements in grassland crop development and formation of productive swards.
21. Soil air and pH level as factors affecting grassland growth and development.
22. Heat and light regime in grassland biocenoses.
23. Grassland crop seed mixtures. 5th test
24. Organization of grassland crop phytocenosis. Basic forms of grassland crop relations in grassland cenoses.
25. Floristic composition of meadow phytocenoses. The floristic diversity and deficiency of meadow phytocenoses.
26. Composition of grassland crop cenotic populations in grassland cenozes. 6th test
27. The structure of grassland phytocenoses. Sward architectonics.
7th test on topics from points 24 to 27.
28. Irregularity of vertical and horizontal distribution (mosaic) of grassland sward.
29. Component dynamics in grassland ecosystems.
30. Seasonal inconsistency of grassland phytocenoses.
31. Annual changes (fluctuations) of grassland phytocenoses.
32. Change of plant multitude (successions).

8th test on topics from points 30 to 32.

Requirements for awarding credit points

The study course consists of two parts: (1) field crops and (2) grassland crops;
Requirements for the (1) part
• Five short written tests (10 minutes are given before learning the topic) to stimulate thinking at the beginning of classes.
• A short (5 – 7 min) seminar assignment report – homework – should be prepared and presented orally to the group during the lecture of the specific topic.
• After mastering specific topics two tests evaluated with a grade should be written. Each test consists of two theoretical questions and one calculation task.
• Final report with a presentation on the effects of selected plant growth factors on the growth and development of a crop.
Requirements for the (2) part
• Three short written tests (Autotrophic, heterotrophic organisms of grassland ecosystems, grassland crop seed mixtures for meadows and pastures, time allowed 15 min)
• After studying certain topics, two tests, evaluated with a grade, should be written. Each test consists of three theoretical questions.
• Final report with a presentation. Students choose the topic of the report from the list offered by the lecturer.

A written exam for each part of the course.

Description of the organization and tasks of students’ independent work

(1) part
1. Prepare short reports on specific topics, using research results from one (not more than three) scientific article published in international journal. Reporting time 5–7 min.
2. The main 15 min report should be prepared using research results on the given topic from at least 3 scientific articles (more can be used), obtained in various climatic and/or soil conditions. Scientific articles published in international journals have to be used. The use of specific articles should be agreed with the lecturer before preparing the report.
(2) part
1. Final report (Word format) up to 12 p.) should be written using research results on a chosen topic. Scientific articles published in international journals, collections of international conference proceedings or monographs.

In both parts – preparation for tests.

Criteria for Evaluating Learning Outcomes

• The evaluation of the study course exam depends on the evaluation of the exam answers and the cumulative evaluation of the course tests and home works.
• Students, whose grades of the study course tests and reports are on average at least 7, may not take the written exam, and get an average arithmetic evaluation from the grades of the works done during the study course.
• In order to take the exam, all works evaluated with a grade, must be evaluated with at least 4 points, others – passed (except short tests in (1) part, see below).
• Tests and the main report are evaluated with a grade from 10 point scale, short reports – with “passed” without a grade.
• Evaluation of short tests: «+» (precise answers), «˅» (test is written, though the answers are unsuccessful) or «–» (test is not written); by accumulating at least 4 «+», the final grade of part (1) can be rounded up also in cases, when mathematics does not allow it.

The exam (final) grade of the entire course is obtained as the arithmetic mean from the final evaluation of each course part.

Compulsory reading

1. Adamovičs A. (2017). Zālāju ierīkošana un izmantošana: mācību grāmata, otrs, papildināts izdevums. Jelgava, 140 lpp.
2. Augkopība (2004). Ruža A. (red.). LLU, Jelgava, 374 lpp.
3. Alfalfa and Alfa Improvement (1998). Edited by Hanson A.A, Barues D.K., R.R. Hill et al. ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin (USA).1084 p.
4. Bankina B., Gaile Z. (2014). Ziemāju labības un to slimības. LLU, Jelgava, 104 lpp.
5. Champan G.P. (1996). The biology of grasses. CAB International, Oxou, 273 p.
6. Clover science and technology (1985). Ed. N.L. Taelor, ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin (USA). 616 p.
7. Cool-season forage grasses (1996). Edited by L.E.Moser et al., ASA, CSSA, SSSA, Madison, Wisconsin (USA). 841 p.
8. Copeland L.O., McDonald M.B. (1995). Principles of Seed Science and Technology. 3rd Edition. USA: Chapman & Hall, P. 409.
9. Crop Science: Progress and Prospects (2001). Nösberger J., Geiger H.H., Struik P.C. (eds.). CAB International, [s. l.], 398 p.
10. Forages. Volume I. An introduction to Grassland Agriculture (2013). Edited by R.F. Barnes, C.J. Nelson, M. Collins, K.J. Moore, Jowa State University Press, Ames, Jowa (USA), 556 p.
11. Forages. Volume II. The science of Grassland Agriculture (2013). Edited by Forages. Volume I. An introduction to Grassland Agriculture (2013). Edited by R.F. Barnes, C.J. Nelson, M. Collins, K.J. Moore, Jowa State University Press, Ames, Jowa (USA), 791 p.
12. Frame J. and Laidlaw A.S. (2014). Improved Grassland Management. The Growood Press Ltd, United Kingdom, 352 p.
13. Frame J. (1992). Improved Grassland management. Farming Press, United Kingdom, 351 p.
14. Whitehead D.C. (1995). Grassland Nitrogen. CAB International, Wallinford, 397 p.
15. Handbook of Plant and Crop Stress (1994). Pessarakli M. (ed.). Chapman & Hall, [s. l.], 720 p.
16. Lauksaimniecības zinātne Latvijā (2000). E. Bērziņš (sast.). LLU, Jelgava, 220 lpp.
17. Формирование урожая основных сельскохозяйственных культур. Пер. с чешского (1984). Рук. Петр И., Черны В., Грушка Л. Колос, Москвa, 363 c.
18. Каюмов М.К. (1989). Программирование урожаев сельскохозяйственных культур. Агропромиздат, Москвa, 320 c.
19. Koломейченко В.В. (2015). Кормопроизводство. Санкт–Петербург, Москва, Краснодар. Лань, 656 c.

20. Одум Ю. (1975). Основы экологии. Мир, Москва, 740 с.

Further reading

1. Луговодство и пастбишное хозячйство (1990). И.В.Ларин, А.Ф.Иванов, П.П.Бегучев и др. Агропромиздат, Ленинград, 600с.
2. Рaботнов Т. (1985). Экология луговых растений. МГУ, Москвa, 176 с.
3. Райс Э. (1978). Аллелопатия. Мир, Москвa, 392 с.
4. Куделин Б.П. (1988). Сеянные многолетние травы. Зинатне, Рига, 332 с.

5. Уиттекр Р. (1980). Сообщества и экосистемы: Перевод с англ. Прогресс, Москвa, 328 с.

Periodicals and other sources

Zinātniskie žurnāli un rakstu krājumi, kas pieejami LLU FB abonētajās datu bāzēs, piemēram: Rural Sustainability Research (LLU Raksti), Agronomijas Vēstis, Agronomy Research, Žemdirbyste=Agriculture, Acta Agriculturae Scandinavica, Sec. B Soil and Plant Science, Crop Science, LF konferenču un semināru Rakstu krājumi utt. – atbilstoši tematikai.


Compulsory course for MSc. Programme “Agriculture” with specialisation in Field crops; 1st semester. Exam.