This is a one year, full time course running from September to May.
Successful completion of this course will result in a QQI Level 5 Certificate in Agriculture, 5M2373.
- 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:
- Crop Production Science 5N1730
- Animal Production Science 5N2351
- Farm Business Organisation 5N2352
- Beef Production 5N1737
- Sheep Production 5N1735
- Agricultural Mechanics 5N1745
- Chemical Fertiliser Application 5N1750
- Leadership 6N2191
Practical experience in a farm environment will form an integral part of the course and may take place at a number of locations.
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
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.
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
Crop Production Science 5N1730
The purpose of this module is to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to apply scientific principles to the production and management of crops. Learners will be able to:
- Explain the living processes of plants and their relationship with environmental factors in a crop production context
- Discuss the characteristics of micro-organisms and their role in crop and animal production
- Explain the relevance of physical and chemical composition of soils for modern farming practices
- Outline the consequences of farming activities on the environment with respect to wildlife and biodiversity, water quality, current European Union (EU) directives and environment protection schemes
- Appraise factors affecting grass production including the growth habits of grass and clover plants, grass seed mixture selection, role of clover, manipulation of grass growth, grass utilisation, and grass conservation
- Identify plant parts in a crop production context including name and function of; roots, stems, leaves and flowers
- Use plant identification techniques and grass measurement techniques for high value plants, common weeds, and grass growth performance in a commercial pasture sward
- Determine farm winter forage provisions including quantities required and quantities in storage, dry matter, pH and dry matter digestibility, and suitability of forages in storage
- Interpret a soil analysis report in respect of lime, nitrogen, phosphorous and potassium requirements
Assessment Criteria: Assignment 20%, Examination – Theory 40%, Examination –Practical 40%
Animal Production Science 5N2351
This subject will equip learners with the knowledge, skill and competence to apply scientific principles to the production and management of farm animals.
- Describe legal and ethical animal welfare and food assurance requirements
- Explain the behavioral characteristics of animals to be considered when working close to animals, controlling and handling animals, loading animals or designing facilities for animals
- Apply knowledge of animal anatomy and physiology to animal production systems.
- Describe the effect of feeding on the development of the young ruminants digestive system
- Outline the principles and role of milk production including importance in Irish agriculture, breeds, milk production systems, stocking rates, quality milk production, feeding, investment and returns
- Outline the principles and role of lamb production .
- Outline the principles and role of beef production including importance in Irish agriculture.
- Outline the principles and role of pork and bacon production .
- Outline the principles and role of poultry meat and egg production.
- Apply principles of animal nutrition to growth, development, reproduction and production of animals.
- Apply principles of animal reproduction to evaluation, selection and breeding of farm animals.
Assessment Criteria: Examination – Theory 60%, Examination – Practical
Farm Business Organisation 5N2352
This module aims to equip the student with the knowledge, skill and competence to maintain accurate records for physical and financial analysis of the farm. It also gives the learner the opportunity to gain an understanding of farming as an enterprise, which has to adhere to current legislation and the importance of implementation of the Safety Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005.
- Outline the range of documents needed for compiling physical and financial records for a farm including the identification, collection and recording of relevant information
- Discuss indicators commonly used in the measurement of physical and financial performance on farms
- Describe the agribusiness sector in Ireland to include: products, size, employment, farm structure, self sufficiency, and the role of government and non governmental agencies
- Review the role of co-operatives in the agriculture sector including co-operative principles, operation and current status
- Describe farm credit including credit types, sources, cost, availability and documents relating to obtaining credit
- Outline the purpose and components of the marketing mix in the context of Irish agriculture at farm and industry level
- Outline the duties of farmers and farm workers under the Safety, Health and Welfare at Work Act 2005
- Identify the main causes of farm accidents
- Outline the prevention of farm related health problems.
- Complete a valid Code of Practice Risk Assessment for a given farm
- Operate an email account with respect to sending and receiving of emails and attachments
- Use government and commercial agricultural websites to gather physical and financial information
- Record reconciled livestock inventories including end of month numbers, births, purchases, sales and deaths
- Record assets and liabilities for management farm accounts including land area and usage, opening and closing inventories, building depreciation and machinery depreciation
- Prepare a computerised monthly cash flow for a farm business for a one year period
- Explain the relevant reports produced by a computerised cash flow program with respect to key financial indicators.
Assessment Criteria: Project 30%, Examination – Theory 60%, Examination – Practical 10%
Beef Production 5N1737
This module aims to equip the learner with the knowledge, skill and competence to operate a commercial beef farm under management in accordance with best practice and relevant legislation.
- Explain factors affecting efficiency in beef production including management and biological efficiency factors
- Describe suckler beef breeding and husbandry systems, including advantages, disadvantages and costs for a range of physical and economic efficiency indicators
- Describe diseases, disorders and parasites of cattle including bio-security measures, causal agents, symptoms, prevention and control measures
- Evaluate the effectiveness of Irish beef production systems, by accurately assessing the husbandry strategies including grass utilisation and nutrition required to achieve optimal economic and animal performance for different systems of beef production
- Control the movement of cattle, by applying industry recognised techniques and performance standards related to herding, handling, controlling and fencing
- Perform cattle husbandry tasks, by applying industry recognised techniques and performance standards including animal tagging, registering, recording animal events, dehorning, castrating and calving
- Assess a range of beef animals for economic characteristics, by applying recognised criteria including animal breeds and crosses, weight, fat score, conformation score, cleanliness score, mart sales, sex, value and condition score
- 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 recommended good practice including checking temperature, dosing, subcutaneous and intramuscular injection, pour-on, and maintaining records
- Demonstrate stamina, initiative and independence through involvement in work on a beef farm
Assessment Criteria: Skills Demonstration 60%, Learner Record 10%, Examination – Theory 30%
Sheep Production 5N1735
- This module aims to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skill and competence to operate a commercial sheep farm under management in accordance with recommended standards, relevant legislation and good farming practice.
- Review management and biological factors affecting efficiency in sheep production
- Compare systems of lamb production including breeding calendar and physical and economic performance
- Describe diseases, disorders and parasites of ewes and lambs including bio-security measures, causal agents, symptoms, prevention and control measures
- Evaluate a system of lamb production, appropriate to a specific farm situation, including breeds and breeding, feeds and feeding, disorders, disease and parasite control, grassland management, husbandry tasks and marketing strategies
- Control the movement of sheep using recognised techniques and performance standards including herding, catching, controlling and fencing
- Perform peri-natal tasks with ewes and lambs using recognised techniques and performance standards including preparing lambing facilities and equipment, assisting at lambing, tube feeding lambs, helping lamb to suck, tail docking, castrating lambs and lamb identification
- Assess a range of ewes and lambs for economic characteristics, by applying recognised criteria including breed and cross, weight, body condition score, mart sales, market requirements, sex and value
- Control common diseases affecting the health of ewes and 5 lambs using recognised techniques and performance standards including trimming feet, foot bathing, dosing, subcutaneous and intramuscular injection, using pour-ons, scarification, dipping and maintaining animal remedies records
- Perform breeding tasks using recognised techniques and performance standards for ewe selection, ram selection, dagging and fitting a raddle harness
- Demonstrate stamina, initiative and independence through involvement in work on a sheep enterprise
- Operate effectively under management in a commercial farm situation
Assessment Criteria: Skills Demonstration 60%, Learner Record 10%, Examination – Theory 30%
Agricultural Mechanics 5N1745
The purpose of this module is to facilitate the learner to develop the skills and knowledge to perform a range of mechanical/electrical maintenance and repair procedures associated with tractors and farm workshops in a competent and safe manner.
- Explain mechanical principles applying to engines, machines, hand and power tools including force, torque, pressure, work, power, horsepower, principle of moments, gear and belt speed ratios, centre of gravity and stability
- Make comparisons between diesel and petrol engines including combustion, torque, power, fuel consumption and relative advantages and disadvantages of each engine type in agricultural/horticultural work
- Describe the component systems associated with tractor engines including cooling, lubrication, fuel, ignition, transmission, hydraulic, power take off, steering, four-wheel drive and braking systems
- Appraise the range of fuels and oil and grease lubricants for agricultural use including handling precautions, selection and onfarm storage
- Use hand and power tools and equipment for nuts and bolts, measuring and marking, cutting and punching, drilling, grinding and welding
- Carry out basic electrical maintenance tasks including batteries, carbon brushes, fuses, bulbs, 13 amp plugs and 7 pin trailer plugs
- Perform routine 50 hour and 500 hour tractor services in accordance with manufacturers recommendations
- Carry out tractor and workshop tasks effectively and in accordance with safety requirements.
Assessment Criteria: Skills Demonstration 60%, Examination – Theory 40%
Chemical Fertiliser Application 5N1750
This module aims to equip the learner with the relevant knowledge, skills and competence to apply chemical fertilisers in accordance with crop nutrient requirements and environmental legislation.
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.
Assessment Criteria: Skills Demonstration – 60%, Examination – Theory – 40%
This Level 6 module enables the student to gain an insight into theory of leadership, and its evolvement over time. Students also conduct research and provide feedback in a variety of forms thus providing the opportunity to improve and enhance their communication skills.
Learners will be able to:
- Analyse the evolving role of leadership over time, to include current and past examples of good leadership and its impact on the turn of events
- Evaluate leadership styles and approaches in a range of public and private contexts.
- Draw up a personal leadership plan for a task, project or job, to include strengths and areas for improvement
- Demonstrate effective communication skills.
- Demonstrate problem-solving skills.
- Manage projects and tasks, to include working with a team on a practical project or task that results in effective team performance
- Handle group dynamics.
- Conduct meetings efficiently.
- Demonstrate leadership skills in a chosen environment, to include reflection on personal experience and progress.
Assessment Criteria: Skills Demonstration – 60%, Portfolio – 40%
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.