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Ag. Science

Agricultural Science

Leaving Certificate agricultural science involves the study of the science and technology underlying the principles and practices of agriculture. It aims to develop knowledge, skills and attitudes that promote the sustainability of agricultural resources, and places emphasis on the managed use of these resources. Plants and animal types associated with agriculture are studied, and investigations are undertaken into such aspects as soil, ecology, plant and animal physiology, farm crops, farming practices, genetics and microbiology.

Agricultural Science is assessed at two levels, Ordinary level and Higher level, through a written examination and an assessment work undertaken during the course.

The course is typically aimed at pupils with an interest in Agriculture and Horticulture or those who wish to pursue a career in veterinary medicine. An agricultural background is not a necessity, and the course covers a wide variety of topics.  

The subject is based on the principles and practices of Irish farms and deals in detail with Sheep Management and Production, Beef Production, Dairy Farm Management, Grassland Management and Tillage Crop Growth and Harvesting as well as Horticulture (Gardening Design and Practices). Additional topics include Forestry, Soil Science and Farm Safety. It also covers Animal Biology and Taxonomy, Plant Biology and classification as well as Soil Science.  

As well as being classroom and lab orientated, a number of field trips and excursions to farms, universities and laboratories will allow those undertaking the course see the practical applications of their learning. Throughout the two year course the pupils will keep a portfolio of their practical experience, which will be assessed and contribute to their overall grade in the Leaving Certificate.  

Aims & Objectives:

  • At the end of the VI Form, Agricultural Science pupils will be able to:
  • Understand the origin, structure, texture and properties of soils.
  • Understand the use of fertilisers in Irish farms.
  • Explain the general structure and function of plants, including macro and micro structure, plant reproduction and plant physiology.
  • Account for different methods of Grassland Management and explain the processes needed to obtain and maintain good pastures.
  • Describe the main principles of Genetics and complete simple genetic crosses.
  • Outline the classification of both the Plant and Animal Kingdoms.
  • Classify common plants of agricultural importance.
  • Classify a variety of animals of agricultural importance.
  • Explain the principles of the main organ systems of the human body, as well as the ruminant digestive system.
  • Identify the principle cattle breeds associated with Dairy and Beef Production in Ireland.
  • Describe the principles & practices of Dairy Production in Ireland.
  • Describe the principles & practices of Beef Production in Ireland.
  • Identify the principle sheep breeds used in Ireland.
  • Outline the management practices of Sheep in Irish farms.
  • Maintain a practical portfolio, with details of their own practical experience throughout the course.
  • Maintain an experiment notebook, describing the methods and results of a series of practical investigations.

Subject Content

The course consists of the study of a variety of aspects of agriculture under the following headings:

•Soils

•The general structure and function of plants

•Farm crops – cereal and roots

•Farm crops – grassland

•Trees and shelter

•Structure and function of the animal body

•The cow, the sheep, horse, and pig

•Farm buildings (for school assessment only)

•Farm-house environment (for school assessment only)

Exam Structure

The examination in Agricultural Science consist of (a) a terminal examination paper and (b) an assessment of the work of the candidate during the course under the headings: identification of plant and animal types associated with agriculture; practical experience with crops, livestock, house and farmyard layouts; investigations carried out related to ecology, soil science, animal physiology, plant physiology, genetics and microbiology.

The examination for this subject is split into two parts as follows

1.The Practical Section (Project) and Oral Exam is worth 25% of your overall score.

2.Written exam is worth 75%


Subject Organisation:

Agricultural Science was introduced in August 2015 under the stewardship of Ms. Gillivan.

The Agricultural Science class has been allocated 5 class periods per week (one double class and three singles) to pupils. This is in line with department guidelines. In addition to class contact time, a number of excursions are organised outside of this time to facilitate achieving the desired goals.  

The classes are mixed ability. Most pupils would aim to sit the High Level exam at Leaving Certificate. As mentioned in the Aims & Objectives, the subject is practical in nature and every effort is made to expose the pupils to a range of practical investigations within these periods. In addition, the pupils will visit a number of farms throughout the course, typically a sheep farm, dairy, beef, potato and tillage farm. Pupils also visit the National Ploughing Championship each year. Pupils are expected to keep a portfolio of their practical experience, which will later account for up to 25% of their overall Leaving Certificate grade in the subject. Effort marks are awarded according to the school policy and exams are given at end of term.

Department Weblinks:

The Frog Blog www.frogblog.ie

FarmNet http://resources.teachnet.ie/farmnet

Leaving Certificate Agricultural Science Syllabus can be found at:

http://www.curriculumonline.ie/getmedia/9c52498c-8d89-47fc-a1be-96023ed0b6ad/SCSEC02_Agricultural_Science_syllabus_English.pdf