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Duration (approx) 1500 hours
Qualification Associate Diploma

Study agricultural crop production - improve your crops, your business and your career.

  • A course relevant to all types of crop production - grain crops, fibre and oil crops, fodder, horticultural crops and others.
  • Learn to produce crops for a variety of applications including cosmetics and pharmaceuticals.
  • Student support from highly knowledgeable and experienced tutors.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the ASSOCIATE DIPLOMA IN AGRICULTURAL CROP PRODUCTION VAG036
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 4 of the following 11 modules.

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Train in agricultural crop production and management

Professional training by distance learning - improve your career and business prospects.

Some industries may come and go but crop production is one that has always been with us since the start of civilisation. It is, however, a changing industry. The world's population increase shows no sign of slowing so new crops which take up less room and which produce better yields are needed. Global warming affects the types of crops which can be grown in different regions.

  • Learn about crop production applicable to wide range of different products and applications.
  • Consider the production of crops which were previously not grown in the UK.
  • A foundation for planning your future in the crop production industry.
  • Flexibility with ACS: Start when you want and study at your own pace with guidance and support from highly knowledgeable and experienced tutors.

Crop production today requires a level of sophistication beyond what has previously been the case. It offers opportunities beyond comprehension, but to optimise a business or career in producing crops you need to have knowledge, awareness and drive to succeed not only in growing plants, but also in business management practices, science and technology.

Successful technologists and growers in this industry don't achieve success through qualifications alone, but they have a level of knowledge and awareness about growing commercial crops that would often leave the university graduates reeling.

This course aims to set you on the path to this sort of success with growing crops.



There are many difficulties to overcome in modern day farming; you have greater difficulties because:

  • You are operating in a global market place.
  • You have more choices about what you farm.
  • You have greater opportunities to apply technology.

It also offers greater opportunities for all the same reasons, and also because: 

  • Global warming means different types of crops can be grown.
  • Increasing population density means greater demand for crops.
  • More people want organic crops and new varieties. 

Consider just one crop - Sorghum:
Sorghum is a genus of plants in the Grass family (i.e. Poaceae or Gramineae). In warmer climates it is commonly cultivated as an agronomic crop, used as food for both animals and humans (also used  for ethanol production). In the UK it can be gown in southern England where it has achieved success as a cover crop for game birds or as a windbreak for other crops.

There are hundreds of cultivars, but they vary in characteristics and uses. They may belong to any of a number of species, the most common being Sorgham bicolor.

Some authorities divide them into four main groups:

  1. Grain Sorghum - non-saccharine plants, grown mainly as grain for livestock. Similar nutrition to corn but higher in protein and lower in fat. Most have a relatively dry stalk.
  2. Sweet Sorghum - stalks contain more sugar, used for forage, silage or making molasses.
  3. Broom Corn - stalks are very dry and woody; grown for making straw brooms.
  4. Grass Sorghum - grown for pasture, silage, hay, cover crop. Until plants are at least 50cm tall, prussic acid in foliage can cause food poisoning to grazing livestock.
Growing Conditions

Commonly cultivated in tropical or subtropical regions, but will grow in southern England

  • Warm season annual grass, up to 2m tall.
  • Sow after threat of frost in spring (frost-tender).
  • Sow 2.5mm deep in moist soil or 5cm deep in dry soil.
  • Rows are spaced at 25-50cm, seeds at 5-10cm apart.
  • Germinates ideally at soil temperature of 18 degrees C.
  • Tolerates high pH, may be used with barley to reclaim alkaline soils.
  • Needs minimum annual rainfall of 400 mm, preferably higher
Soils and Nutrition
  • Best in reasonably fertile & friable soil, but will adapt to many other soils.
  • Uses high levels of nutrients so for optimum results farmers may apply up to 160kg of nitrogen fertiliser per hectare on poor soil (half or less on fertile soils).
  • Phosphorus and potassium are often not needed.
  • Uses vary according to type (see above) though any forage types are good as a cover crop to increase organic content, promote microbes and control weeds.
  • May be grown as a windbreak cover crop mixed with maize, heat or hemp.
  • Makes a great game bird cover crop enabling guns to be put in position without disturbing birds.
  • A crop can be cut and baled 3-4 times (at 60 day intervals) over a season.
  • Very high Carbon to Nitrogen ratio, so slow to decompose.
  • Failed crops usually because of cold soils, hard soils (soil crusting or poorly prepared seed bed), poor seed quality or incorrect planting depth or spacing.
  • Young plants may be toxic to livestock.
  • Can harbour nematodes that may lead to reduction in productivity of vegetable crops following sorghum.
  • As a cover crop it can lead to decrease in nitrogen availability.
  • Can harbour pests of some other plants (particularly cereal and grain crops)
  • Grain will not reach good food quality in the UK due to lack of persistent warm weather.
  • Cannot be grown in northern England or Scotland.

Note: Many new varieties have disease and insect resistance bred into them.


Whether you are farming on a small or large scale, the best crop to grow does change from time to time.

In today's world, every consumer is always looking for "the next big thing" whether fashion, technology, food or something else. Demand will wax and wane for long established crops and opportunities will be revealed  for crops that were unknown previously. With global warming the types of crops which can be successfully grown in the UK is changing. Already crop growers are experimenting with commercial production of pecans, almonds, olives, nectarines, peaches, apricots, kiwi fruits, wine grapes and guavas.

This course is relevant to all types of crops from mainstream broad acre grain and fibre production, to niche crops such as obscure herbs and fruits. Our staff have studied and grown both, and can show you the common concepts as well as the details that separate production of different types of crops.

Learn to produce grains and vegetables, nuts and oils for cosmetics and pharmaceuticals, and discover opportunities you might not have considered. Lay the foundation for an exciting future today.

... What next?

If you want to become an expert in crop production, this course is an excellent option.

  • Gain a detailed knowledge of agricultural production.
  • Improve your own crops or improve your job prospects within the agriculture industry.
  • Job opportunities in the agricultural industry are varied, so having a specialist qualification like agricultural crop production will show your knowledge in this area.
  • Throughout your studies you will be supported by our highly experienced and well qualified tutors.

So why delay? Enrol today and get started.


Growing crops is an important part of life. If you would like to learn more about agricultural methods of crop growing, this course is the one for you.  Learn with industry experts and improve your knowledge, skills, job and career prospects. To find out more, or if you have any questions, please get in touch with our specialist Agriculture and Crop tutors today.

Courses can be started anytime from anywhere in the world!

Meet some of our academics

Timothy WalkerB.A.(Botany), RHS.M. Hort., Post.Grad.Dip.Ed. Former Director, Oxford Botanic Gardens.
John Mason (Horticulturist)Horticulturist, Nurseryman, Landscaper, Garden Writer, Parks Manager and Consultant. Over 45 years experience; working in Australia and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world; author of more than 100 books and editor for 4 different gardening magazines. John has been recognised by his peers being made a fellow of the Institute of Horticulture in the UK, as well as by the Australian Institute of Horticulture.
Cheryl McLardyA scientist, teacher, writer and animal scientist, with more than 20 years experience including: Sports Horse Stud Groom, Stable Manager, Yard Manager, Equine industrial Training Manager, FE Distance Learning Manager. Cheryl has travelled widely, working in England, Scotland, Australia and New Zealand; and is now based in Scotland. She holds a Bachelor of Science (Hons), Higher National Diploma in Horse Management, and a City and Guilds Teaching Certificate.

Check out our eBooks

Growing & Knowing GrassesThe Growing & Knowing Grasses ebook will provide you with everything that you need to know about grass. Get to all about the botany of grasses, how to identify them, how to cultivate grasses, the different uses for grasses and also includes a detailed illustrated encyclopedia of grasses and grass-like plants.
Food PreservingA great supplement for students of nutrition, self sufficiency or even horticulture, the Food Preserving ebook is a great introduction into all things preserving.
Capsicums and ChillisCultivars, growing at home or commercially, how to use them, recipes for different cultures, lots of photos.
Farm ManagementThe Farm Management ebook is a valuable piece of equipment for any farming student or current farmer. Improve your farm management skills or learn new skills and techniques. The topics covered within this Farm Management ebook include 1/ Scope and nature of the farm industry, 2/ The farm site, 3/ Production systems, 4/ Managing livestock, 5/ Managing pasture, 6/ Managing crops, 7/ Managing equipment and materials, 8/ Computer applications, 9/ Farm structures and buildings, 10/ Financial management, 11/ Marketing, 12/ Farm planning, 13/ Staff management, 14/ Water management and 15/ Diversification.