NPLK16001U Advanced Crop Production

Volume 2024/2025

MSc Programme in Agriculture

MSc Programme in Environmental Science

MSc Programme in Global Environment and Development


Overall theme: Improving crop production

The course deal with modern developed cropping systems, mainly in temperate areas of the world. The outset will be the need for sustainable intensification and improved resource efficiency of cropping systems. In the decades ahead, there will be a need for increased crop production, but this has to be achieved within strong global limitations on the resource input and no chance to increase the total area of cropped land.

The students should understand the main agronomic constraints for increasing crop productivity, the methods currently used to develop crops, crop management and cropping systems (increasing yield potential, as well as closing the yield gap), and the science behind this.

Apart from the teaching based on textbook material and scientific papers, the students will also work with Danish case farms. They will visit farms, and get access to farm data. They will work with crop optimization and cropping system optimization, in order to understand on-farm limitations and constraints to optimizing crop production and closing the yield gap.

Following topics will be addressed for class teaching and student work, including working with the Danish case farm. The topics can be divided in the improvement of single crops and in the cropping system.


Improving the single crops:

  • Management - improved use of growth factors

  • Progress in breeding

  • Physiology of crop improvement

  • Development of major crops

  • Yield gap


Improving the cropping system:

  • Development of major world cropping systems

  • Dealing with main system limitations in rotation

  • Soil quality changes

  • Plant nutrients/N

  • Managing major stress factors, weed, disease and pest challenges

  • Environment and sustainability


Learning Outcome

The objective of the course is to enable students to understand and analyse modern crop production, its main limiting factors and the methods used to develop crop production at the crop and cropping system levels. Students should be able to analyse complex, real-life problems within crop production.


- Describe and reflect on model-based interventions in management of plant production.

- Identify key factors limiting yields, and the available strategies to overcome them with respect to productivity, profitability and environmental impact analysing modern crop production systems,

- Obtain tools to analyse farmers’ and other stakeholders’ decision making and the common gap between theory and practice.

Overview of components of farming and cropping systems and their interactions


- Suggest  strategies for reducing the “yield gap” in practical farming after analysis.


- Critical reflect on the environmental impacts of crop production and their mitigation.

 - Ability to apply the knowledge of farming and cropping systems and their interactions in analysis of real life system limitations

- Evaluate cropping systems by using the acquired overview of the complexity of biological, chemical and physical factors affecting crop production


Literature will be made available on course website at least 2 weeks prior to course start. The teaching will be based on textbook material (From: Crop physiology case histories for major crops, Sadras and Claderini (Eds), 2021 and Crop yields and global food security, Fisher et al., 2014), scientific papers and data available on the case farms.

Students are strongly recommended to have at least two of the below mentioned prerequisite courses (or similar knowledge), in order to follow the course and achieve course competence goals.
Plant Infection and Disease Management
Insects in Agricultural and Horticultural Crops
Afgrødelære (Crop Science)
Weed Biology and Management
Plant Nutrition and Soil Science

Academic qualifications equivalent to a BSc degree is recommended.
Lectures, individual report writing and group work on case farms
  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Class Instruction
  • 20
  • Preparation
  • 76
  • Excursions
  • 25
  • Project work
  • 50
  • Total
  • 206
7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Written assignment
Oral examination, 25 min, 30 min preparation
Type of assessment details
Written assignment: Assessment of written assignment (crop improvement report prepared during the course) (1/3)
Oral examination: Presentation and discussion of written assignment, and discussion of drawn topic within other parts of course curriculum (2/3).
Students must pass each exam element in order to pass the exam as a whole.
All aids allowed
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
Two internal examiners.

As the ordinary exam.

The individual crop improvement report prepared during the course can be used for reexam. If the report is missing or needs to be improved, it must be handed in three weeks before the reexamination.

Criteria for exam assesment

Please refer to learning outcome.