Course overview

The Sustainable and Efficient Food Production MSc allows maximum flexibility for students wishing to develop and update their knowledge within specific areas of ruminant production. While each module covers a different area of technical expertise they all focus on the challenges facing pasture-based production systems and on their potential solutions.

This Masters programme is taught entirely online by distance learning, Students may choose any 5 of the below modules delivered by Aberystwyth University or Bangor University:

 

Block Starting September Block Starting January Block Starting May
Ruminant Nutrition (AU) Global Ruminant Production (AU) Farm Business Management (AU)
Ruminant Health and Welfare  (AU) Silage Science (AU) Genetics & Genomics (AU)
Grassland Systems (AU) Plant Breeding (AU) Organic & Low Input Ruminant Production (AU)
Climate Change (BU) Home Grown Feeds (AU) Ruminant Gut Microbiology (AU)
Soil Management (BU) Carbon Footprinting (BU) Agriculture & Society (BU)
Agro-ecosystem Services (BU) Global Food Security (BU) Anaerobic Digestion (BU)
Water & Agriculture (BU) Upland Farming (BU) Resource Efficient Farming (BU)

 

MSc students must complete the Research Methods module before undertaking their work-based research project.

Key facts file

Course Dates:

ongoing

Title: Sustainable and Efficient Food Production MSc
Type/Duration:

Up to 5 years (3 years for those in receipt of a student loan)

Entry Requirements:

Graduate level or relevant experience

Credits: 180
Cost: £6300.00
Course Provider: Aberystwyth University
Course Arrangements: Full joining instructions will be confirmed by the course provider.
Course Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Course Logistics:

Our distance learning modules are designed to be flexible so that you can fit studying around your work and other commitments. A typical master's student is expected to study for 200 hours when taking a 20 credit module. As a rule of thumb you should anticipate spending approximately 2-3 hours a week on online lectures, presentations and podcasts, and the remaining time on readings and assignments; the more time and effort you can put in, the more you'll benefit from studying the module and the better your grades are likely to be.

Tutors:

Neil Mackintosh
Sarah Watson Jones
Dylan Philips

Learning outcomes

• Provide students with a detailed understanding of the principles and processes that underpin pasture-based sustainable and efficient food production, including the social and environmental contexts;
• Develop students' intellectual, practical, numeracy, communication, information and communication technology (ICT), interpersonal / teamwork, self-management and professional development skills, in pasture-based food production context;
• Inculcate the values of scholarship: inquiry, reflection, integrity, open-mindedness, evidence-based thinking, collegiality
• Equip students who already have work experience in the food supply chain to implement the latest research into sustainable systems thinking, and to facilitate cutting edge careers for those who want to enter the food production and supply chain.

Course Structure

Agriculture and Society

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

Truly sustainable and efficient food production requires that the three pillars of sustainable development, economy, society and culture, and environment, are considered together. Topics will include food systems and supply chains; social concerns and ethics; controversies such as organic versus conventional farming and the development of GMOs; the conflicts between production, market, environment and culture; and future challenges around such things as climate change and resource competition. It will provide farmers and agri-food businesses, NGOs and government agencies an insight into current perspectives on ethical issues surrounding food production at the local, regional and global scale.

This course is a core module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Agro-ecosystem Services

Start Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will introduce you to the ecosystem services framework for assessing pasture-based food production, with an emphasis on landscape context and scale factors. Trade-offs and complementarities between food production and delivery of other ecosystem services such as water purification and climate regulation will be examined. The module will focus on the theme of “sustainable intensification”, using an ecosystem services approach to consider the direct and indirect (global) effects of particular management practices.

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment and  in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production .

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Carbon Footprinting and Life Cycle Assessment

Start Date: Jan to April 2018
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will provide critical insight into the calculation and interpretation of carbon footprints (CF) for livestock production systems. Students will gain detailed understanding of core carbon foot printing methodologies, in particular International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) good practice accounting for greenhouse gas emissions, and wider life cycle assessment (LCA) principles. The module will draw on a range of farm system case studies and will involve hands-on experience with online CF tools.

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Climate Change

Start Date: Sept to Dec 2017
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module provides a detailed assessment of current knowledge on climate change – science, impacts, adaptation and mitigation, and how it is perceived by the public.

This course is a core module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production and the MSc in Industrial Biotechnology. 

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Dissertation (Aberystwyth)

Start Date: Jan 2018
Location: Online
Credits: 60 credits

The work based research module offers the opportunity for student to focus in depth on a topic of personal interest to them within a professional, work based context. The module will allow them scope to address a research question of applied relevance, employing appropriate research methodology to do so. The project may be discipline specific or multidisciplinary - in a work based, applied context this is quite likely. The professional context itself must have a clear connection with the agri-food industry.

Farm Business Management

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module gives students the skills to analyse, carry out and revise farm business plans. The module will look at all aspects of farm planning from the accounts to the physical aspects that anyone dealing with farms should be aware of. The students will be taught how to develop a robust and logical plan, and be given the task of creating a plan of their own through our unique interactive farm business. 

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Genetics & Genomics in Agriculture

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module is designed to give those with little understanding of genetics a practical knowledge of the principles and technologies that underpin breeding programmes. It will focus on the challenges facing land-based production in the 21st century and on the role of emerging technologies in meeting these challenges sustainably. After initially detailing the broad objectives and methods involved in breeding programmes it will allow you to follow a specific crop or animal breeding pathway. It will give you an understanding of the methodologies applied in molecular and population genetics as well as in related disciplines such as proteomics and metabolomics, allowing you to conceptualise and apply these concepts to further agricultural production.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production  and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Global Food Security

Start Date: Jan to April 2018
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module takes a global perspective on food systems and food security, and aims to equip students with the ability to fully understand global food systems and their role in providing food security, and to be able to critically assess existing and future pressures and solutions. A range of diverse factors are coming together to affect the global food system, and after describing the various food systems globally, different definitions of food security, and how these are evolving, the module will look at these drivers.

This course is a core module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Global Ruminant Production

Start Date: Jan to April 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

The focus of this module is on how to increase the efficiency of both intensive and extensive ruminant production systems. It draws upon research within IBERS and elsewhere and will cover topics including: the basics of performance measuring; the latest research on ruminant genetics and using this to reduce the environmental impact of production. You will explore the fundamental genetics and physiology that underpin animal production in terms of: reproductive technology; genetic improvement; dairy cattle production systems; meat production systems; meat and milk quality; disease prevention and management.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production  MRes Agriculture and the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Sustainable Grassland Systems

Start Date: Sept to Dec 2017
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module looks at the range and distribution of grassland and forage crops. Nutrient management and environmental protection are themes throughout, as are strategies for grazing and forage preservation. The role of plant breeding and management is investigated. You will evaluate the management requirements of a range of grassland systems and the factors that underpin forage cropping programmes. 

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Sustainable & Efficient Food Production and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning

Sustainable Home Grown Feeds

Start Date: Jan to April 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

Arable crops are often a key part of pasture-based agriculture, yet their selection and management are likely to be driven by very different requirements than those of intensive arable situations. This module focusses on developing appropriate management approaches to the maintenance and building of soil fertility whilst maximising livestock productivity, to deliver a system that is both resilient and sustainable. You will explore rotational farming practices in the context of mixed farming systems and examine different crop options and their suitability for different situations and regions, their use in the feed ration, and crop management approaches. The environmental and economic implications of different management practices will also be evaluated in context with current UK policy.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production, MRes Agriculture and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Anaerobic Digestion On-Farm

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will explore the role of anaerobic digestion (AD) as an important technology to improve the sustainability of the food production system. AD can be used to produce renewable energy, while the remaining digestates can act as a bio-fertilizer. The focus of the module is on the use of farm-scale AD to treat wastes, manures and crops. The module covers technical aspects of AD, but focusses on environmental and economic sustainability of different AD deployment options, including: choice of feedstock, alternative uses of biomethane and digestate, and indirect consequences of AD on food production, waste management and energy generation. Pertinent policies, regulations, and planning issues driving and constraining AD are considered. The application of AD in industrialised and industrialising countries will be explored.

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Organic and Low Input Ruminant Production

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will examine the concepts behind ruminant production in a low input or organic system. It will consider alternative methods of production, from unique forages and sward mixtures to interesting animal breeds that could provide a more tailored product for niche markets. The course will also look at natural methods of disease control that can be adopted by low input or organic systems.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Plant Breeding

Start Date: Jan to April 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module is designed to give those with an interest in plant breeding a comprehensive understanding of what it takes to bring a variety from a concept to market. Featured crops include: beans, peas, oats, ryegrass, clover and energy crops. We will consider all aspects of what makes a commercial plant breeding program successful. Real datasets will demonstrate the challenges a breeder faces when making selections. Students will undertake case studies to look in depth at the process of breeding a crop of their choice.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production, MRes Agriculture and the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Research Methods (Aberystwyth)

Start Date: Jan 2018
Location: Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module is compulsory for anyone intending to undertake a full MSc or who has been accepted for a research degree (Research Masters or Professional Doctorate). It runs twice a year for five months. The additional length of the module is to allow you the time to work with your supervisor in developing the research proposal for your MSc, MRes or Doctoral research. 

Resource Efficient Farm Management

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

Drawing on life-cycle assessment expertise at Bangor University and a wide range of best practice guidance and decision support tools for the farming sector, this module will apply a systems approach to evaluate the resource efficiency effects of specific farm management practices. The module will provide detailed insight into how management practices influence production efficiency at the process, farm and product level. Students will be guided through practical exercises using a range of decision support tools to validate priority management practices for pasture-based farms – highlighting effective options to maximise resource efficiency and productivity, and to minimise environmental impact.

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

Ruminant Gut Microbiology

Start Date: May to August 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will explore the fundamental research that is developing our understanding of the anatomy and environmental conditions of the rumen, covering the negative and positive effects of rumen digestion on productivity. You will explore the function and importance in the rumen of bacteria, protozoa, fungi and archaea. The study area will investigate both traditional culture-based and modern molecular-based methods used to investigate rumen microbiology, together with a review of ways of manipulating rumen fermentation to improve productivity whilst decreasing the environmental footprint of ruminant agriculture.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production  and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Ruminant Health & Welfare

Start Date: Sept - Dec 2018
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will not be running in 2017 due to the tutor's health

This course draws on the expertise of Aberystwyth University and the Royal Veterinary College, Wales. The first half of this module will cover the general legislation and management of ruminant health and welfare across the three sectors of dairy, beef and sheep. The second half will offer you the choice of which of these sectors you will be assessed on. Depending on which sector you choose you will cover the latest research on those diseases of most concern and will look at how welfare is measured and could be improved in that sector. 

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

Ruminant Nutrition

Start Date: Sept - Dec 2017
Location: Aberystwyth University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will outline the fundamental physiological and microbiological principles underpinning ruminant nutrition. You will look at the design of animal nutrition experiments; ruminant ration formulation and evaluation; nutrient digestion and metabolism; microbial populations and their ecology; and metabolism of carbohydrates, protein and lipids in order to modify the characteristics of meat and milk. The module will also look at research into reducing environmental impacts from ruminants through their nutrition.

This course is an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production  and in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment.

The module is delivered by Aberystwyth University, entirely online through distance learning.

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Soil Management

Start Date: Sep 2017
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

This module will draw on the expertise of Bangor University and NIAB to provide both a practical and a theoretical overview of soil management. Sustainable soil management is reviewed in relation to increasing food production efficiency whilst limiting environmental impacts and a decline in soil quality and services. The dynamic function of the soil system will be explored, including ecosystem services, nutrient budgets, carbon cycling, greenhouse gases and mitigation.

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

 

Water and Agriculture

Start Date: Sept to Dec 2017
Location: Bangor University, Online
Credits: 20 credits

Water shortage and water quality issues are increasingly affecting agricultural production worldwide, and problems will increase with climate change and increasing populations. This module takes a global perspective, and aims to equip students with the ability to fully understand the role of water in agricultural production, and to critically assess existing and future pressures and solutions. After describing the basics of crop water relationships, the module will address the pressures caused by water shortages and water quality issues, and the interactions between them. Topics covered will include irrigation and drainage, rainwater harvesting, water and livestock, and salinity, and will cover a wide range of agricultural systems. After an assessment of trends, we will look at how existing and future technologies might be used to sustain production, and at how the governance of irrigation systems could play a part.

This course is an optional module in the MSc in Food Security in a Changing Environment, and an optional module in the MSc Sustainable and Efficient Food Production.

It is delivered by Bangor University entirely online through distance learning.

My training course has given me greater confidence day-to-day and more insight into the impact of new techniques and technologies.
Andy Russell - Fresh Produce Technologist, Bakkavor

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