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Develop production plans for crops

Unit Descriptor This competency standard covers the process of developing production plans for agricultural and horticultural crops. It requires the ability to prepare budgets and gross margins, source and interpret relevant benchmark information from consultants or peers, sample soils and plant tissue for testing, manage and monitor crop diaries and associated records, select crop species and variety, determine yield potential for crop, prepare individual paddock plans and a whole farm crop, and review production plan. Developing production plans for crops requires knowledge of determinants of crop yield, market prices, gross margins, cash flow budgets and disease and pest management for relevant crops.

1 . Select crop species and variety
  1. Crop types and varieties are assessed and selected for their market potential and gross margin returns for the farm environment.

  2. Most profitable cultural practices and rotations are selected consistent with disease and pest management strategies, available machinery resources, and management for sustainability of resources.

  3. Production risks are identified for each crop and strategies to address these are determined.

  4. Environmental risks are identified and strategies developed as appropriate.

2 . Determine yield potential for crop
  1. Relevant benchmark yields are sourced, where available, to assist setting target yields.

  2. Past production records are analysed to determine the key determinants of yield.

  3. Available models for calculating water use efficiency or other key determinants of yield are used, as appropriate, to assist in setting target yields.

  4. Quality specifications and target yields are established for all crops.

3 . Prepare individual paddock plans and a whole farm crop production plan
  1. Paddocks are assessed for their nutrient, pest and disease status, water reserves, tillage requirements, and other factors before selecting crop variety.

  2. Records of chemical use are used, as appropriate, to assist planning to reduce chemical resistance.

  3. Crop variety is selected and paddock preparation, planting, fertilising and other treatments are planned.

  4. Optimum timing of planting, applications and treatments is determined and a calendar of operations is prepared.

  5. Cash flow budget for the farm-cropping program is determined.

4 . Review production plan
  1. Logistical arrangements related to harvesting/transportation/marketing and other key operations are planned for the production cycle.

  2. Machinery and equipment requirements are planned and checked for the crop production cycle.

  3. Labour requirements are identified and planned for the crop production cycle.

  4. Seed, fertiliser, pest and disease treatments and other input requirements are identified.

  5. Physical and financial record keeping system is established to provide data for the analysis of crop performance, and to meet other statutory requirements including records of chemical use.

  6. Production plan is reviewed and amended where required.

Key CompetencyExamples of ApplicationPerformance
How can information be collected, analysed and organised?Through record keeping of previous yields and other relevant data.3
How are ideas and information communicated within this competency?Through evaluation and review of production plans, and comparison with collated data.3
How are activities planned and organised?According to standard planning processes for crops production.3
How are problem solving skills applied?Through consultation with others involved in crop management.3
How are mathematical ideas and techniques used?Through determining yield potential.3
How is use of technology applied?Through planning for unforeseen circumstances related to crop production and dealing with variables as they arise.3
How is team work used within this competency?Through use of computer and communication systems.3

Range Statement

How might paddocks be assessed?

Assessment may include the use of objective soil tests, current and previous observations/tests, and a range of other historical records. The process may involve professional support from agronomists and consultants.

What records of chemical use should be required?

These will be established by minimum legal requirements, but will also reflect target quality parameters set by the production plan.

What may be considered a logistical requirement?

These requirements will include planning the most cost effective mix of arrangements related to on-farm storage capacity, off-farm collection point alternatives, transport alternatives and opportunities for backfilling when transporting product, etc.

What physical and financial record keeping system should be used to meet the requirement of this competency standard?

The system should include paddock records, input records, and may be computer or non-computer based.

Evidence Guide

What specific knowledge is needed to achieve the performance criteria?

Knowledge and understanding are essential to apply this standard in the workplace, to transfer the skills to other contexts, and to deal with unplanned events. The knowledge requirements for this unit are listed below:

What specific skills are needed to achieve the performance criteria?

To achieve the performance criteria, some complementary skills are required. These skills include the ability to:

Are there other competency standards that could be assessed with this one?

This competency standard could be assessed on its own or in combination with other competencies relevant to the job function.

Essential Assessment Information

There is essential information about assessing this competency standard for consistent performance and where and how it may be assessed, in the Assessment Guidelines for this Training Package. All users of these competency standards must have access to the Assessment Guidelines. Further advice may also be sought from the relevant sector booklet.