Agriculture

Course Duration         

 This is a one year, full time course running from September to May.

 

Award                        

Successful completion of this course will result in a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture, 5M20454.

Entry requirements
  • Leaving Certificate, Leaving Certificate Applied or equivalent
  • For mature students these requirements need not apply and applications will be considered based on a proven interest in organic farming.

Entry will be subject to interview.

Modules studied on this course include

  • Beef Husbandry 5N20388
  • Chemical Fertiliser Application 5N1750
  • Communications 5N0690
  • Farm Business and Technology 5N20377
  • Farm Safety and Farm Assurance 5N20371
  • Grass Production 5N20399
  • Manual Pesticide Application 5N20438
  • Principals of Agriculture 5N20368
  • Safe Use of Pesticide Products 5N20380
  • Sheep Husbandry 5N20385
  • Soils and the Environment 5N20374
  • Tractor Maintenance 5N20426
  • Work Practice 5N1433
  • Workshop Skills 5N20429

 

Course Structure         

Practical experience in a farm environment will form an integral part of the course and may take place at a number of locations.

 

Course Evaluation

Course work will be evaluated on the basis of written examinations, project work and practical skill.

 

Career Options | Progression

Progression in Westport College of Further Education to Level 6.

Holders of a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture may progress to further studies at Institutes of Technology/Universities or directly enter employment in agriculture, the food industry or associated environmentally sustainable enterprises.

Further Courses of Study

Bachelor of Business in Rural Enterprise and Agribusiness (Level 7) Galway/Mayo IT (GMIT)

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture and Environmental Management (Level 7) Galway/Mayo IT (GMIT)

Bachelor of Science in Agriculture – HETAC Level 7  Waterford Institute of Technology

Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Science – HETAC Level 7 Waterford Institute of Technology

BSc in Land Management in Agriculture/Forestry/Horticulture – HETAC Level 8 Waterford Institute of Technology

Student Testimonial

Liam

The Agricultural Level 5 course is an excellent opportunity for students looking to peruse a career in Agriculture.  The course has shown me the opportunities I have as a farmer.  The staff and teachers are very approachable and always willing to help.  The course has the balance of practical and theory so each day is different.  The course will provide me with the knowledge to attain my Green Cert and perhaps more importantly a career in the agricultural industry.

Fees

Applicants are asked to pay a non-refundable €50 Administration/Application fee on submission of their Application Form.  Once you have applied you will be called for an interview within a few weeks.  QQI examination fees cost €50, although Medical Card holders are exempt from paying this fee on production of a valid medical card.  Books and essential class materials may also be required.  A €200 Government levy will apply on acceptance of a place on PLC course, but medical card holders and those in receipt of a maintenance grant will be exempt.  A €50 Student Services fee also applies.

 

DETAILED COURSE OUTLINE

 

  • Beef Husbandry 5N20388

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to carry out commercial beef farming under management

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Discuss beef production in the context of importance in Irish agriculture, distribution of production, and market requirements.
  • Discuss factors affecting efficiency in beef production including management and biological efficiency factors
  • Analyse the effectiveness of Irish beef production systems by assessing husbandry practices required to achieve optimal economic and animal performance for different systems of Irish beef production
  • Describe component systems of beef production and their respective key physical and economic efficiency indicators
  • Describe diseases, disorders and parasites of cattle and their control
  • Discuss best practice in cattle husbandry tasks required for beef production
  • Analyse housing for cattle production
  • Assess a range of beef animals for economic characteristics using recognised criteria
  • Control common diseases affecting the health of cattle, by planning and implementing prevention strategies and by correctly identifying and treating their symptoms in accordance with and using recommended good practices
  • Execute husbandry tasks required for the beef production cycle in accordance with human and animal safety animal welfare, traceability requirements and best practice
  • Perform breeding tasks required for efficient beef production
  • Analyse drivers of profit of beef production and explore practices to attain industry recognised targets
  • Practice safety and workplace health in agriculture

 

 

 

 

  • Chemical Fertiliser Application 5N1750

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to apply chemical fertilisers in accordance with crop nutrient requirements and environmental legislation

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Interpret codes of good agricultural practice for the application of chemical fertilisers including environmental risks, nutrients matched to crop demand, weather and soil factors
  • Interpret nitrates directives for chemical fertiliser application and cross compliance requirements
  • State the legal and regulatory obligations, restrictions and responsibilities for chemical fertiliser application
  • Assess the main types of chemical fertiliser application spreaders for spread pattern, spread width, over-lapping required effect of fertiliser type, effect of wind and rain
  • Outline the range of variables that affect chemical fertiliser application for balance of spread and application rate
  • Outline the considerations for handling, storing and transporting artificial fertilisers
  • Prepare a tractor and fertiliser spreader for work
  • Apply chemical fertiliser accurately and in accordance with current legislation and best practice
  • Prepare a fertiliser spreader for storage
  • Apply chemical fertiliser in a farm or horticultural setting

 

 

  • Communications 5N0690

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to communicate verbally and non-verbally in standard everyday tasks and in work-related tasks, operating independently while under general direction

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Analyse a range of current issues in communications and information technology
  • Summarise in practical terms the elements of legislation that must be observed in a personal and/or work context, to include health, safety and welfare at work and communications-related legislation
  • Use appropriate non-verbal and visual communication in personal- and work-related settings, to include one-to-one, in a group/team, and in formal and informal interaction
  • Demonstrate verbal skills appropriate to working under general direction, to include making a case and presenting a point of view in group discussion, formal meetings, interviews
  • Demonstrate listening skills appropriate to working under general direction, to include making eye contact, receiving and interpreting information, control of personal response
  • Use reading techniques appropriate to a task, to include skimming, obtaining an overview, identifying key points, critical evaluation, in depth analysis
  • Critique information from a range of complex written material, to include technical/vocational, personal, literary, and written and visual media texts
  • Research a relevant vocational topic, to include use of primary and secondary sources, acknowledgement of sources, use of enquiry techniques and methods to establish validity and reliability
  • Use drafting, proofreading and editing skills to write a range of documents that follow the conventions of language usage (spelling, punctuation, syntax), to include creative writing, business proposals, correspondence, reports, memoranda, minutes, applications
  • Demonstrate communications styles and techniques relevant to different situations in work and leisure, to include one-to-one and group contexts in conversation, interview, oral presentation, question and answer session and for the purposes of persuading, advocacy and informing
  • Choose the appropriate communications technology to give and receive requests, instructions, suggestions, discussion and feedback in both work and leisure, to include a rationale for choosing one technology over another in different contexts and for different messages

 

 

  • Farm Business and Technology 5N20377

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to effectively use technology, recognise and communicate key drivers of farm business profit

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Analyse the agribusiness sector in Ireland including a range of enterprises, and the role of government, non- governmental and co-operative agencies
  • Examine the range of documents and information needed for compiling physical and financial records for a farm including various methods of safely storing and retrieving them
  • Use correct terminology to effectively communicate a farm business
  • Examine on the role of information technology in farm management
  • Discuss key indicators commonly used in the measurement of physical and financial performance and recognise key drivers of profit
  • Discuss different types of farm credit and its associated terms and conditions
  • Discuss current government and other schemes, their benefits, terms and conditions for the main agriculture sectors
  • Examine the business benefits of a strong safety culture to agriculture
  • Use common software packages and externally linked devices taking account of best practice and correct protocol in computer workstation ergonomics
  • Apply a range of agriculture appropriate smart technology apps and IT to solve or answer agriculture industry related queries including recording appropriate agriculture related data
  • Analyse a range of reports produced by a computerised cash flow program with respect to key agriculture performance indicators
  • Use government and commercial agricultural websites to gather and submit physical and financial information
  • Practice the completion of a range of relevant current agriculture scheme documentation
  • Calculate and relate agriculture data to performance
  • Practice safety and workplace health in agriculture

 

 

  • Farm Safety and Farm Assurance 5N20371

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to recognise and control farm hazards and to practice farm assurance

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Discuss the main causes of accidents, injuries and health related issues on Irish farms
  • Examine the duties of farmers and farm workers under current safety, compliance and regulatory requirements and environmental legislation
  • Discuss risk assessment and its implementation
  • Describe safe methods of work in agriculture, farm building and farm yard design considerations in relation to safe farming operations
  • Describe farm related health problems and their prevention
  • Examine on-farm ethics and obligations under current EU and Irish legislation regarding ethical animal welfare principles
  • Analyse the role of farming in the food chain, food assurance and traceability requirements in agriculture
  • Discuss best practice in animal medications, remedies and plant protection products at farm level
  • Discuss behaviour of agricultural vehicles when in use in a range of common situations and current regulations pertaining to agricultural vehicles
  • Safely execute common farm safety and farm assurance operations including operating a tractor / trailer combination and attaching a mounted PTO driven machine
  • Practice the steps in identifying and managing safety risks in the work place

 

 

  • Grass Production 5N20399

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge skills and competence to produce, utilise and conserve grass and forage crops under management

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Discuss the importance of grass and clover to agriculture production in Ireland
  • Describe the factors which influence sward growth, quality and the annual production pattern of a grass sward taking account of plant anatomy, seed mixtures, and the effect of farming operations on soil and grass growth
  • Describe the management practices and infrastructure required which influence sward growth, quality and utilisation
  • Examine the principles and benefits of grass budgeting and grass measurement
  • Examine reseeding and the various methods of reseeding including the establishment of a grass sward, and the use of clover
  • Describe the production, conservation principles and management factors involved in making quality grass silage, hay and forage crops
  • Examine productive and non-productive grass swards, including assessing the composition of a sward to determine need for reseeding
  • Calculate a winter forage budget including assessing the quality and quantity of forage in storage
  • Practice grass measurement
  • Practice fencing skills in accordance with recommended good practice
  • Execute maintenance tasks on a water supply
  • Practice safety and workplace health in agriculture

 

 

 

 

  • Manual Pesticide Application 5N20438

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to work independently applying pesticides by different methods using hand operated equipment

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Describe the range of handheld and pedestrian propelled equipment for the application of plant protection products
  • Discuss the principles of application technology necessary for the proper application of pesticides in respect of applicator components, calibration, maintenance, field operating procedures, precautions and environmental considerations
  • Describe the working principles of a knapsack sprayer
  • Describe the working principles of a hand operated slug pellet applicator
  • Describe the working principles of a hand operated weedlick
  • Discuss legislative requirements pertaining to pesticide applicators
  • Interpret pesticide label information in respect of pictograms, product name, precautionary statements, class designation, registration number, purpose, precautions, first aid instruction, toxicology information, disposal, notice to user, safety data sheets (SDS) and directions for use
  • Prepare a knapasck sprayer for work, including calibration, in accordance with safe recommended good practice and manufacturer’s instructions
  • Make up a pesticide spray mix in accordance with good practice including the pesticide product label dosage recommendations and the application area
  • Store a knapsack sprayer and personal protective equipment in a safe and efficient manner according to manufacturer’s instructions
  • Apply a pesticide mix with a knapsack sprayer in a safe and efficient manner in accordance with recommended good practice
  • Set up, calibrate and efficiently operate a hand held weed-licker according to the operators manual using recommended good practice
  • Set up, calibrate and efficiently operate a pedestrian propelled full width broadcast or placement pesticide pellet applicator according to the operators manual using recommended good practice
  • Store manual pesticide applicators and personal protective equipment in a safe and efficient manner according to manufacturer’s instructions

 

 

  • Principals of Agriculture 5N20368

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge of the context of agriculture in society and underpinning skills and competence in common agriculture practices.

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Discuss agriculture in a national and global context and the consequent responsibility at farm level including the basic human right to food, food security, quality production, sustainability and environmental responsibilities
  • Describe plant and animal cells, their organelles, function and division
  • Describe plant anatomy and its function in monocotyledonous and dicotyledonous plants
  • Describe the anatomy physiology and function of the animal body of common agriculture animals including reproductive systems and various digestive systems
  • Discuss the basic living processes and life cycles of animals and plants
  • Investigate Irish agriculture by sector, enterprise, product and market to include dairying, drystock and tillage production
  • Discuss the production operations for the following agriculture production systems: calf to beef production, spring calving dairy herd, mid-season lamb production and spring barley production
  • Discuss a range of other relevant systems to agriculture, horticulture and land use production such as forestry, pigs, poultry, nursery stock production, fruit, apiculture and others as appropriate
  • Discuss animal behaviour and the principles of safely handling livestock.
  • Discuss animal and crop traceability systems in Ireland
  • Identify a range of plants commonly found on Irish farms to include native weeds, grasses, tillage, feed and forage crops and their categories
  • Practice common agriculture skills and tasks using best practice and in a safe manner
  • Implement best practice in controlling illness and disorders in livestock
  • Practice safety and workplace health in agriculture

 

 

  • Safe Use of Pesticide Products 5N20380

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence in the safe use of pesticides in accordance with requirements of current national and EU legislation and directives

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Outline risks and benefits associated with plant pesticide product use
  • Outline current national and EU legal requirements of the Sustainable Use Directive in regard to the safe use of pesticide products at professional user level
  • Explain tank mixing
  • Discuss the principles of safe storage, transport and handling of pesticides
  • Outline the current principles and implementation of “Good Plant Protection Practice” (GPPP)
  • Maintain records in accordance with current national and EU requirements
  • Demonstrate knowledge required by the professional user for dealing with accidents / incidents involving spillages, contamination and poisoning at a personal, environmental and public level
  • Outline the storage of plant protection products at professional user level including disposal of empty containers, and safe disposal of obsolete plant protection products and its packaging
  • Demonstrate knowledge of routes of contamination and the implementation appropriate procedures for personal hygiene to prevent personal contamination
  • Demonstrate knowledge of current practices to reduce pesticide impact on the environment
  • Outline a system of work at professional user level to comply with current national and EU regulations around the safe use of pesticides from the time the pesticide product is purchased to its final disposal off farm
  • Outline the correct use of Personal protective equipment required in the safe use of pesticide products
  • Outline the continuous professional development training required for the safe use of pesticide products and resources available to ensure best practice
  • Outline the key current legislative compliance, quality assurance, environmental issues and key practical steps relevant to the use of substances hazardous to the environment including biocides at producer level
  • Interpret the information on a pesticide label and SDS sheets
  • Carry out risk assessment and identify appropriate control measures in the safe use of pesticide products to prevent accidents or ill-health

 

 

  • Sheep Husbandry 5N20385

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to carry out commercial sheep farming under management

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Describe the principles and role of flock production including importance in Irish agriculture, lamb production systems, and flock performance
  • Review management and biological factors affecting efficiency in sheep production in terms of health and feed and feed mixes
  • Describe a range of lamb production systems including breeding calendar and physical and economic performance
  • Investigate a system of lamb production, appropriate to a specific farm situation
  • Investigate diseases, disorders and parasites of ewes and lambs including bio-security measures, causal agents, symptoms, prevention and control measures
  • Analyse housing for sheep production to include human and animal health, welfare, safety and efficiency and cost of construction
  • Perform peri-natal tasks with ewes and lambs using recognised techniques and performance standards
  • Assess a range of ewes and lambs for economic characteristics, by applying recognised criteria
  • Prevent and control common diseases and disorders affecting the health of ewes and lambs using recognised techniques and performance standards
  • Perform sheep breeding tasks using recognised techniques and performance standards
  • Perform sheep husbandry skills taking into account human and animal safety animal welfare, traceability requirements and best practice
  • Investigate drivers of profit of sheep production and explore practices to attain industry recognised targets
  • Practice safety and workplace health in agriculture

 

 

  • Soils and the Environment 5N20374

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to implement best practice in soil nutrition under management

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Describe soils in terms of classification, type, distribution in Ireland, formation and properties of productive and non-productive soils
  • Describe the physical and chemical composition and features of soils and their relevance for modern farming practices
  • Describe agriculture practices affecting soil structure their implications for soils and key soil improvement practices
  • Describe the biological fraction of soil
  • Discuss soil nutrition and related environmental legislation, sources and roles of nutrients, maximising nutrient value of fertilisers and farm bi-products, storage and practical implications at farm level
  • Investigate the practical implications for agriculture of current Irish and European Union environmental protection legislation and schemes
  • Take a soil sample and investigate the soil texture
  • Interpret a soil analysis report
  • Recommend a fertiliser plan for the economic production of a given crop using best practice
  • Analyse an environmental audit at farm level
  • Interpret codes of good agricultural practice for the application of fertilisers and organic manures
  • Interpret safety and workplace health requirements when handling and storing fertiliser and lime products

 

 

  • Tractor Maintenance 5N20426

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to carry out tractor maintenance tasks under management

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Explain mechanical principles applying to engines, machines, hand and power tools using technical terminology
  • Make physical and technical comparisons between diesel and petrol engines and relate to respective suitable applications
  • Describe component tractor engine systems and ancillary tractor features
  • Discuss common agriculture fuels and lubricants with regard to handling precautions, selection and on-farm storage
  • Discuss recent legislation and developments in emissions control on agricultural vehicles
  • Discuss the use, advantages and disadvantages of telemetrics on agricultural machines
  • Discuss tyre selection, inflation and use in agriculture
  • Discuss technological developments in agriculture tractors
  • Identify hazards associated with tractor maintenance operations to include degreasers, contamination with oil and compressed air
  • Carry out basic electrical maintenance tasks
  • Perform routine tractor services in accordance with manufacturers recommendations
  • Check coolant for level and concentration
  • Execute correct battery charging procedure
  • Carry out tractor and workshop tasks effectively and in accordance with safety requirements including risk assessment

 

 

  • Work Practice 5N1433

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to work in an organisation or specific vocational context, carrying out vocationally related tasks over a period of time, independently while under general

supervision

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Summarise the distinguishing features of the organisation, institution or workplace to include its status (public, private, voluntary, other), size, organisational structure, main aims and its overall work, staff client engagement and management practices
  • Comment on current issues, challenges and trends affecting the organisation, institution or workplace, to include as appropriate, local, national, global, economic and social and or ethical issues
  • Summarise the main legislation and regulations relevant to the place of work; to include health, safety and welfare at work, employment, equality and matters related to the specific vocational context
  • Explain the organisation’s internal and external policies and procedures pertinent to own role and role of others
  • Conclude a minimum 2 month work practice placement undertaking a range vocationally specific tasks and activities
  • Select information required for a range of workbased tasks, to include analysis of information and application of knowledge to new situations
  • Work independently carrying out a range of vocationally specific activities and tasks in the organisation, institution or workplace, seeking advice and general direction as appropriate
  • Contribute positively as a member of an organisation or team; maintaining time-keeping, personal presentation, meeting deadlines and adherence to health, safety and other relevant regulations and practice
  • Execute work practice tasks and responsibilities in a professional and safe manner
  • Reflect on personal work practices, to include feedback from supervisor(s) or mentors on personal performance, achievements and challenges
  • Review personal and professional learning to include identifying strengths and weaknesses, learning and career opportunities within the vocational field and within the organisation, institution or workplace

 

 

  • Workshop Skills 5N20429

 

The purpose of this award is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to recognise and safely use common tools in metal fabrication workshops

Learning Outcomes Learners will be able to:

  • Analyse the risks associated with workshops and state control measures to include the correct use of personal protective equipment, workshop safety devices and safety for others in the workshop
  • Discuss the function, correct use, risks and controls measures for a range of hand and power tools commonly found in a workshop
  • Examine the use of common materials used in a workshop
  • Measure accurately using common workshop equipment
  • Safely operate hand and power tools and equipment for nuts and bolts, measuring and marking, cutting and punching, drilling, grinding and welding
  • Fabricate an artifact of metal to given specifications
  • Wire a range of plugs
  • Use a range of fixing and retaining methods such as nuts, bolts, pins and rivets
  • Work effectively to ensure a safe work environment

 

Westport College of Further Education reserves the right to limit the number of places available, make changes in any course or to withdraw the course. No part of this information shall be deemed to form a contract between Westport College of Further Education and the student, or a third party.