Alternative farming, bringing together sustainable and organic farming systems, is growing worldwide. As a result, modern farmers must continuously adapt to meet demand.
Certificate of Alternative Farming is an online professional development program that will help you navigate change and implement sustainable organic farming methods.
In this online farming course, you will learn about organic farming management systems, certification and environmental considerations, marketing and promotions, financial sustainability, board management strategies and plant and animal enterprise management.
On completion of this course, you will have a foundation knowledge of alternative farming to build a thriving agricultural business.
Unit - Sustainable Agriculture
Unit 1 – Introduction
Whole farm planning
Land Management programs
Sustainable ways of farming
No Dig techniques
Unit 2 – Soils
Major types of soil problems
Soil structural decline
Adding organic matter to soils
Unit 3 – Water
Types of water storage
Livestock water requirements
Water saving measures
Swales and Keylines
Unit 4 – Land Care
Pest and diseases
Unit 5 – Financial Sustainability
Developing a farm business plan
Unit 6 – Broad Management Strategies
Toward better planning
Land care or land management
Broad management categories
Plan drawing of farm
Looking at risk
Unit 7 – Plant Enterprises
Considering new crops
Unit 8 – Animal Enterprises
Wool and meat production
Unit - Organic Farming
Unit 1 – Introduction to organic farming
What is organic farming?
The benefits of organic farming
The scope of organic farming
Overview of organic techniques
Promoting plant growth
Intercropping, manurial systems
Composting and mulching
The soil microbiome
Cultural control of pests/diseases/weeds
Physical control of pests/diseases/weed
Biological control of pests/diseases/weeds
Nutrient cycling and recycling
Promoting plant growth
Unit 2 – Organic farming systems
Choosing a production system
Types of organic farming
No dig techniques
Vegetable-sod inter planting
No dig raised beds – one method
Broad-acre and row cropping
Animal production systems
Animal breeding/stud operations
Fish and aquaculture
Poultry, hordes, swine
Cattle semen production
Unit 3 – Organic Management Issues
Approaches in organic production & manufacturing
The benefits of an ethical approach to organic production and manufacturing
Ethics help to meet consumer expectations and improve an organisation’s reputation
What consumer law tells us – self-labelling
Changing an existing farm to an organic property
An example certification process
Marketing organic produce
Conservation & management of resources for long-term sustainability
Native vegetation & farms
Important reasons for using trees
Problems with wet areas
Waste water treatment (reed-beds)
Unit 4 – Organic soil management & crop nutrition
Composting on organic farms
Mulching on organic farms
Blood and bone meal
Boosting the soil microbiome
Unit 5 – Organic weed management
What is a weed?
Plants which take over
Ways to control weeds without chemicals
Check soil condition
Minimise sources of weed seeds
Biological weed control
Other grazing animals
Organic weed control practices
Techniques used to manage weeds
Unit 6 – Pest & disease management
Livestock disease management
The healthy animal
Recognising ill health
Causes of ill health
Living organisms and microorganisms
Preventing ill health
Feed animals an adequate and well-balanced diet
Avoid stressing livestock
Prevent diseases from entering the farm system
Practise good hygiene
Actively manage grazing and fencing
Pulpy kidney vaccination
Blue tongue vaccination
Ovine brucellosis vaccination
Other vaccinations which may be needed:
The first aid kit
Aids for diagnosis and instruments and medicines
The hospital pen
Quarantine and slaughter
Controlling pests and diseases in plants
Choose the right plant for the right position
Choose healthy plants and resistant plant varieties
Groups of foods (carbohydrates, proteins and fats)
Other terms that are used
Food processing terms
Factors affecting water intake
Site requirements for feedlots
Managing cattle in lots
Problems with lot fed cattle
Pen fattening of cattle -one method
Unit 8 – Livestock management II
Advantages and disadvantages to aquaculture
Extensive production (EP)
Intensive production (IP)
Species of fish to farm
Unit 9 – Organic pasture management
Managing pasture site
Choosing pasture sites
Growth and development of grasses
Phases 1,2 and 3
The importance of legumes in pasture
Major types of legumes
Other pasture crops
Choosing the correct seed mix
Establishing new pasture
Preparation of the land for pasture
Sowing and germination
Testing the soil microbiome
How to perform a cotton strip assay:
Reading the results of your cotton strip assay
Grazing the new pasture
Grassland management rests – to promote rapid growth
Rests based on the requirements of animals
Pasture varieties and grasses
Major types of pasture grass
Pasture management principles
Rest and grazing periods
Stocking and carrying capacity
Number of herds and herd size
Applying grassland management principles
Continuous light stocking
Split – season systems
One herd, four paddock system
Unit 10 – Broad-Acre Organic Crops
Plant fibre crops
Table of commonly grown fibre crops
Hay & silage
Silage production and inoculants
Sorghum (grain and sweet varieties)
Storage and handling
Pits and bunkers
Estimated duration 100 hours
Course Delivery and Start
Start anytime, self-paced and 100% online
Assessment will be comprised of written exercises, including short-answer questions, reflective tasks, short reports and/or projects. There are no examinations or due dates for assessment. As a result, you can complete training in your own time and at your own pace with the assistance of unlimited tutor support.
Why Choose Australian Online Courses?
Professional development that is widely recognised and respected;
Improve your employment opportunities;
Study online, anywhere via our elearning system;
High-quality professional development programs written by industry experts;
All course materials provided online – no textbooks to buy;
Unlimited tutor support;
We offer twelve (12) months’ access, with extensions available upon application (fees apply);
Course may be tax deductible; see your tax advisor.
Are there any entry requirements or pre-requisites?
There are no entry requirements or pre-requisites for entry into this program.
How long will it take to complete this course?
The approximate study hours for this course is 100 hours. We offer twelve (12) months’ access, with extensions available upon application (fees apply).
Can I purchase optional printed materials?
While printed materials are not available for purchase, PDF copies are available for download and self-printing for this program.
When can I start this course?
You can start within 60 minutes during business hours when you enrol and pay in full with a credit card!
Credit card: Within 60 mins during business hours.
BPAY: Within 1-2 working days.
Internet Banking: Within 1-2 working days.
Cheque/Money Order: Upon receipt of mailed cheque.
Will I receive a certificate upon completion of this course?
Yes! You will receive a Certificate of Attainment upon successful completion of your assessment.
Do I need to attend classes or undertake any work placements?
No. All courses are delivered online via our e-learning system and there are no work placement requirements in this course.
What support can I expect from Australian Online Courses?
Unlimited tutor support is available throughout your studies via email during business hours Monday to Friday. Our Administrative team are available Monday to Friday via email, live chat and telephone.
I am an international student. Can I enrol into this course?
Yes! We accept enrolments from individuals both within Australia and internationally; location is no barrier to entry into our programs.