Advanced Certificate in Crop Production

Training for professional horticulturists on farms, orchards or nurseries. Use what you learn to start your own market garden. Study horticultural crop production by distance education.

Course CodeVHT076
Fee CodeAC
Duration (approx)900 hours
QualificationAdvanced Certificate

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Develop a Broad Knowledge Base in Growing Crops 

This comprehensive course provides students with a solid background into growing a variety of crops.

Learn about how to increase crop yield and quality in outdoor and indoor production systems. Find out how crop production is influenced by soil types, soil pH, temperature, pests and diseases.

Prepare yourself with knowledge you can use in a range of crop growing situations and workplaces, or use what you learn to establish your own production farm. 

An exceptional qualification for anyone who wants to excel in a Career in Production Horticulture.

  •    has been developed and is taught by a team of exceptional horticulturists, all highly qualified and with years of industry experience. Our faculty -your teachers -are people who have worked in the real world, any most continue to work in horticulture outside of education, giving us an up to date perspective on the industry today, and where it is moving.

What You Study

There are 8 modules (subjects) to be studied, plus 100 hours work experience.

The modules are divided into 6 core modules and 2 elective modules. 

Work Experience

This can be made up of paid or voluntary employment, industry conferences or seminars. We expect you will be able to undertake this however if you're unable to complete it you can alternatively study a module from the school called Workshop 1 which comprises of three problem based learning projects. This option is easily undertaken anywhere in the world. Another option is the Industry Project.








Core ModulesThese modules provide foundation knowledge for the Advanced Certificate in Crop Production.
 Industry Project I BIP000
 Machinery and Equipment BSC105
 Outdoor Plant Production (Crops I) BHT112
 Soil Management (Crops) BHT103
 Commercial Vegetable Production BHT222
 Horticultural Resource Management BHT203
 Protected Plant Production BHT223
Elective ModulesIn addition to the core modules, students study any 2 of the following 31 modules.
 Biochemistry I (Plants) BSC102
 Botany I (Plant Physiology And Taxonomy) BSC104
 Herb Culture BHT114
 Horticultural Research I BHT118
 Hydroponic Supply and Consultancy VHT119
 Botany II (Plant Growth and Development) BSC204
 Culinary Herbs VHT242
 Cut Flower Orchids VHT240
 Cut Flower Production BHT221
 Fruit Production - Temperate Climate BHT218
 Fruit Production - Warm Climate BHT217
 Greenhouse Cut Flowers VHT239
 Greenhouse Management BHT257
 Horticultural Research II BHT241
 Hydroponic Management (Hydroponics II) BHT213
 Hydroponics I BHT224
 Irrigation - Crops BHT204
 Medicinal Herbs BHT227
 Nut Production BHT219
 Plant Breeding BHT236
 Plant Protection BHT207
 Agronomy II - Grains BAG309
 Aquaponic Production BHT319
 Berry Production BHT309
 Cut Flower Bulbs BHT317
 Food Processing and Technology BSS301
 Horticultural Marketing BHT304
 Hydroponics III BHT321
 Mushroom Production BHT310
 Organic Plant Culture BHT302
 Warm Climate Nuts BHT308

Note that each module in the Advanced Certificate in Crop Production is a short course in its own right, and may be studied separately.

Growing Crops in a Protected Structure such as a Greenhouse

Greenhouses are used to grow commercial crops all around the world; in the ground, in containers, and using hydroponic culture.

Greenhouses allow us to produce crops for an extended period, or out of season.

Common greenhouse crops include vegetables, cut flowers and certain berry fruits.

A greenhouse is only as good as its user!  You can grow all sorts of plants in a greenhouse, and achieve all types of things, which you might not be able to achieve otherwise, whether growing as a hobby or commercially. 
However the greenhouse is only a tool which enables you to keep your plants a little warmer and perhaps control a few other aspects of their growing conditions.  You must know what conditions the plant needs and try to create those conditions with your greenhouse.  Greenhouses are very labour intensive you must watch the greenhouse carefully and adjust the way you are managing it if the conditions start to vary from what is desired. In the summer this may mean monitoring it every day, particularly if the greenhouse does not have automatic watering and ventilation systems.
You need to decide what you will grow in the greenhouse, and be aware that different plants have different requirements. It may not be possible to grow a great variety of plants in the greenhouse and get the very best out of each one...if each of those plants has different growth requirements.



The Greenhouse Business

The greenhouse is an expensive outlay the cost of which will naturally vary according to your needs, however no matter how large or small the set-up is it will take some time to “pay for itself”. In order to choose the type of greenhouse structure that will suit your budget, productivity requirements and also enables you to have an efficient and productive system within your specific nursery environment, it is important to be aware of the many designs that are available, and to understand the advantages and disadvantages of each design.

Before choosing a greenhouse facility an overall business plan should be formulated. This means that even if the initial choice is modest, a long term plan that includes the prospect of growth within the business allows for the addition of extra structures and facilities. This will serve to save money in the long term as the need to move structures due to bad placement or discard structures due to unsuitability is hopefully eliminated. Systems should be chosen so that they can be added to later on, as the business grows, at the least possible cost.
A business strategy should include: Marketing, production, financial and human resources plans. However the overall business plan should be formulated after you have researched and considered the following strategic elements:

  • Identify your market and customer needs

  • Define your mission

  • Set your business goals

  • What are your objectives?

  • Research business opportunities and issues that will affect your business

  • Formulate a basic business strategy

  • Implement and evaluate the strategy

The Greenhouse System

Thinking of a greenhouse as a system, rather then a structure, will help to reduce problems in the future, consider the following points before choosing a greenhouse system:

  • Site - is it accessible? Take into consideration delivery of materials, access to (and for) customers, available light, wind and other climatic factors i.e. snow, topography, drainage, restrictions through local government by-laws and regulations, what planning permits do you require?

  • Environmental control systems including heating, ventilation and the ability to conserve energy.

  • Water supply and irrigation systems

  • Availability of other services such as electricity and gas

  • The plant production system- including the inputs and outputs of the system

  • The availability of labour


You will develop the skills and knowledge required to work in production horticulture at management level.

This course is different to many others. It is an "experiential based" learning program; designed to get you involved with the horticulture industry as you study. The industry is changing faster than ever; and will continue to change; and for ongoing success you need to become "connected" and remain "connected", so that you see and adapt to recent changes, and ongoing changes as your career moves forward.


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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.
Rosemary Davies

Leading horticultural expert in Australia. Rosemary trained in Horticultural Applied Science at Melbourne University. Initially she worked with Agriculture Victoria as an extension officer, taught horticulture students, worked on radio with ABC radio (c
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
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