Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Crops)

Learn farm management for orchards, market gardens, nurseries and herb farms online. self paced 1 year full time, comprehensive 900 hour study program or take your time.

Course CodeVBS001
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

It's Easy to Enrol

Select a Learning Method

I am studying from...

Enable Javascript to automatically update prices.

All prices in Australian Dollars.

Click on Enrol Now to See Our Payment Plans Available. No Obligation.

Courses can be started at any time from anywhere in the world!

Many will use this course to become a farm manager, work in marketing horticultural crops or start your own business. Others will use it to enhance a career they have already started in the horticulture industry.

  • Learn about management, marketing and business
  • Learn about horticultural crop production
  • Combine these skills and discover opportunities for employment and business in the cropping industry
  • 900 hour, self paced practical course with options to upgrade to longer learning programs

This Advanced Certificate develops both the skills required to manage a horticultural farm (eg. Market Garden, Orchard), and also the knowledge in the identification, growing, processing and marketing crops and crop related products. This course involves seven units, plus a 200 hr workplace project.


Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Crops).
 Business Operations VBS006
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Industry Project II BIP001
 Management VBS105
 Marketing Foundations VBS109
 Office Practices VBS102
Stream ModulesStudied after the core modules, stream modules cover more specific or niche subjects.
 Outdoor Plant Production (Crops I) BHT112
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 1 of the following 15 modules.
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Commercial Organic Vegetable Growing VHT241
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Cut Flower Orchids VHT240
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Fruit Production - Temperate Climate BHT218
 Fruit Production - Warm Climate BHT217
 Nut Production BHT219
 Viticulture BHT220
 Weed Control BHT209
 Berry Production BHT309
 Bush Tucker Plants BHT328
 Cut Flower Bulbs BHT317
 Mushroom Production BHT310
 Warm Climate Nuts BHT308

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Applied Management (Crops) is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

CORE UNITS Click on each module for more details

Office Practices
Develops basic office skills covering use of equipment, communication systems (telephone, fax, etc) and office procedures such as filing, security, workplace organisations, etc. 
Business Operations
Develops knowledge of basic business operations and procedures (eg. types of businesses, financial management, business analysis, staffing, productivity, etc) and the skills to develop a 12 month business plan.  


Develops knowledge of management structures, terminology, supervision, recruitment and workplace health and safety.

Marketing Foundations.

Develops a broad understanding of marketing and specific skills in writing advertisements, undertaking market research, developing an appropriate marketing plan and selling.


The three specialist units include:

1. Outdoor Plant Production

2. Protected Plant Production

3. Another Crops Module chosen from the following options:

  • Cut Flower Production
  • Fruit Production
  • Commercial Vegetable Production
  • Nut Production
  • Mushroom Production
  • Berry Fruit Production
  • Viticulture
Fees do not include exam fees

Selected Module Outlines

Outdoor Plant Production

This course has ten lessons.

  1. Crop Production Systems    Learn to explain different cropping systems and their appropriate application for the production of different types of crops
  2. Organic Crop Production   Learn to evaluate and explain organic plant production, and the requirements in at least two different countries, to achieve organic certification.
  3. Soils and Nutrition     Learn the function of soils and plant nutrition in outdoor cropping systems.
  4. Nursery Stock Production   Describe the commercial production of a range of nursery stock.
  5. Tree Fruit Production   Describe the commercial production of a range of tree fruit crops.
  6. Soft Fruits Production   Develop an understanding of the techniques used to produce a range of soft fruits.
  7. Vegetable Production    Develop an understanding of the techniques used to grow a range of vegetables.
  8. Cut Flower Production     Develop an understanding of the commercial production of outdoor cut flowers.
  9. Herbs, Nuts and Miscellaneous Crops     Develop an understanding of the commercial production of herbs, nuts and other miscellaneous crops.
  10. Crop Production Risk Assessment     Learn to understand the risks that may occur in outdoor crop production.

Protected Plant Production

This course consists of 10 Lessons:

  1. Structures For Protected Cropping
  2. Environmental Control
  3. Cladding Materials And Their Properties
  4. Irrigation
  5. Nursery Nutrition
  6. Relationship Between Production Techniques And Horticultural Practices
  7. Horticultural Management In A Greenhouse: Pests And Diseases
  8. Harvest & Post Harvest Technology
  9. Greenhouse Plants
  10. Risk Assessment


This is the final requirement that you must satisfy before receiving your award.

There are various options including:


If you work in the industry that you have been studying; you may submit a reference from your employer, in an effort to satisfy this industry (ie. workplace project) requirement; on the basis of RPL (ie. recognition for prior learning), achieved through your current and past work experience.

The reference must indicate that you have skills and an awareness of your industry, which is sufficient for you to work in a position of responsibility.


If you do not work in the relevant industry, you need to undertake a project as follows.

Procedure for a Workplace Project

This project is a major part of the course involving the number of hours relevant to the course (see above). Although the course does not contain mandatory work requirements, work experience is seen as highly desirable.

This project is based on applications in the work place and specifically aims to provide the student with the opportunity to apply and integrate skills and knowledge developed through various areas of formal study.

Students will design this project in consultation with a tutor to involve industry based activities in the area of specialized study which they select to follow in the course. The project outcomes may take the form of a written report, folio, visuals or a mixture of forms. Participants with relevant, current or past work experience will be given exemption from this project if they can provide suitable references from employers that show they have already fulfilled the requirements of this project.

For courses that involve more than 100 hours, more than one workplace project topic may be selected. For example, 200 hours may be split into two projects each of 100 hours. This will offer the student better scope to fulfill the needs of their course and to meet the number of hours required. Alternatively, the student may wish to do one large project with a duration of 200 hours.

Students will be assessed on how well they achieve the goals and outcomes they originally set as part of their negotiations with their tutor. During each 100 hours of the project, the students will present three short progress reports. These progress reports will be taken into account when evaluating the final submission. The tutor must be satisfied that the work submitted is original.

If the student wishes to do one large 200 hour report, then only three progressive reports will be needed (however the length of each report will be longer).


Graduates from this course have a foundation for growing just about any crop they choose to grow.

Even if you don't study the specific crop plant that you end up growing; the principles you learn and the scientific and commercial understanding which you develop, will lay a foundation that allows you to adapt to any type of job or any type of crop you find yourself confronted with.

This course lays a very solid foundation for business or employment in any type of Horticultural Crop Production.

For a farm to remain sustainable, certain minimum productivity levels must be maintained, using preferred plant species on an ongoing basis. These plants may be pasture species, fodder crops, grain, vegetables, fruit or other harvested plants.


  • What crops are currently in demand? You need to attempt to gauge future demand, particularly if you are looking at growing crops that are long-term investments and may take several or more years to reach a marketable stage (eg. tree fruits, nuts, timber). Also look at the "stage" of demand for a crop. Is it a new, growing market, or is it one that everyone is "getting into" (resulting in a possible glut on the future market)? Select crops that are in high demand, where possible, to remain economically sustainable.
  • Which crops are suited to growing in your locality? Some alteration to the soil and climate of the area may be beneficial in the long term. Examples are the introduction of windbreaks to prevent erosion, installing irrigation systems, or the creation of a microclimate to encourage growth of a particularly suitable plant.
  • What resources do you have to produce different crops? This could include suitable land, equipment, staff, materials, or the financial backing to obtain these. Investment in equipment and materials must also be balanced with the amount of return you can expect.
  • What expertise or knowledge do you have with regard to growing different crops? Can you obtain that knowledge? For new or experimental crops, determine what information is available on their culture and find out what grower support exists (eg. Department of Agriculture). Trying crops new to your area or still in an experimental usage stage can be costly but it has the potential to be very rewarding. Overseas research can often shed light on the suitability of the crop for your area. Start small and work up to larger production numbers if the results are good.
  • How will the crop under consideration work with other crops? For instance, is there a market for a suitable companion plant? What crops should it be rotated with? What effects will this have on the soil and on the economics of growing this plant? Can the crop be marketed easily in conjunction with other crops you produce?
  • What will you be using the crop for? If you are considering crops for your own subsistence, is this the cheapest and easiest way to obtain the crop? If you are using it for stock feed, is this the cheapest or easiest way to obtain suitable stock food?
  • Is the crop sustainable? Many crops can only be grown with large inputs of fertilisers and pesticides. Choose crops that are suitable for your soils and the surrounding ecology.

The Future

The only way to effectively reduce our environmental footprint and effectively become sustainable globally in our food production, is going to be to increasingly grow food close to the consumer.

In the past it has been a luxury to grow food on broad scale in one country and transport it to consumers in another country. Watchworld trends. Look at energy problems and calls for global sustainability. These and other issues point toward a shift in the way we produce our food crops; and that shift will undoubtedly give rise to new opportunities.

Need assistance?

Start Now!


Dr. Lynette Morgan

Broad expertise in horticulture and crop production. She travels widely as a partner in Suntec Horticultural Consultants, and has clients in central America, the USA, Caribbean, South East Asia, the Middle East, Australia and New Zealand.
John Mason

Parks Manager, Nurseryman, Landscape Designer, Garden Writer and Consultant. Over 40 years experience; working in Victoria, Queensland and the UK. He is one of the most widely published garden writers in the world.
Robert James

B.App. Sc. (Horticulture), Dip.Ag., M.Sc., Grad Dip.Mgt. Over 50 years experience that includes, Nursery Manager Brisbane City Councoil, Grounds Manager (University of Qld), Lecturer Qld Agricultural College, Propagator/Nurseryman at Aspley Nursery, Hort
Adriana Fraser

Over 30 years working in horticulture, as a gardener, propagator, landscape designer , teacher and consultant. Adriana has spent much of her life living on large properties, developing and maintaining her own gardens, and living a semi self sufficient li
Commercial Hydroponics
Learn how to grow vegetables, fruit, cut flowers, herbs and other plants hydroponically. This classic is now re-published with new images, a new layout and revised text. A must have resource for anyone who wants to grow hydroponically.
Fruit, Vegetables and Herbs
Home grown produce somehow has a special quality. Some say it tastes better, others believe it is just healthier. And there is no doubt it is cheaper! Watching plants grow from seed to harvest and knowing that the armful of vegies and herbs you have just
Organic Gardening
For decades farmers have relied upon chemicals to control pests and diseases in order to produce saleable crops. In the ornamental, vegetable and fruit gardens reliance on chemical controls has also been the mainstay for many gardeners.
There are few things as uplifting as being greeted by the sweet fragrance of roses from your own garden. If you have always wanted to grow roses, or perhaps improve an established rose garden, make sure you are armed with the right knowledge! Learn from t