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Unit outline_

ANSC4100: Applied Livestock Systems

Semester 1, 2023 [Normal day] - Camden, Sydney

Providing animal protein and fibre to feed and clothe the world requires innovative approaches to sustainably improve livestock productivity and profitability in a changing environment. This unit provides an advanced understanding and appreciation of Australian sheep (meat and wool) and beef cattle production systems within a global production and consumption context. The course provides a whole-system approach across the supply chain, integrating animals, pastures, environment, management and economics to understand key challenges and develop appropriate solutions. Tropical and temperate production regions will be compared and include extensive grazing and intensive feedlot system management. Major issues impacting product quality and quantity will include livestock breed, breeding systems, nutrition, production and husbandry practices and animal welfare. This includes first stage processing in abattoirs and top-making plants as well as marketing. In addition, you will gain skills in meat grading and an opportunity to participate in the Intercollegiate Meat Judging (ICMJ) program. Lecture material is complemented with hands-on activities including practicals, day trips to 'Arthursleigh' and 'Pye Farm' (University farms) for sheep/cattle husbandry and farm management, and a 5-day study tour to regional south-west NSW to evaluate commercial beef, wool and prime lamb production, marketing and processing systems.

Unit details and rules

Academic unit Life and Environmental Sciences Academic Operations
Credit points 6
Animal and Veterinary Bioscience years 1-3 or Bachelor of Science in Agriculture years 1-3 or {144 credit points of units of study including a minimum of 12 credit points from [ANSC3106 and (ANSC3888 or AVBS3888 or SCPU3001)]}
AVBS4012 or AVBS3010
Assumed knowledge

3000-level knowledge in animal production management and behaviour and welfare of production animals

Available to study abroad and exchange students


Teaching staff

Coordinator Russell Bush,
Lecturer(s) Russell Bush,
Type Description Weight Due Length
Supervised exam
Final Exam
Closed book exam with 10 short answer questions and 2 mini-essays
40% Formal exam period 2 hours
Outcomes assessed:
Assignment Excursion Report
Written report
20% Week 10
Due date: 05 May 2023 at 23:59
1000 words plus excursion notes
Outcomes assessed:
Assignment Grazing trial
Written newspaper article with data analysis and interpretation
25% Week 11
Due date: 12 May 2023 at 23:59
1000 words plus appendix
Outcomes assessed:
Assignment Meat grading video
video of selecting, cooking and taste testing two meat samples
15% Week 13
Due date: 26 May 2023 at 23:59
max 10 minutes
Outcomes assessed:

Assessment summary

Final Exam: The final exam is a closed book examination of 2 hours duration that will be held in the formal exam period.  All material and activities covered in the unit will potentially be examinable.  The final exam assessment is compulsory and failure to attend, attempt, or submit will result in the award of an AF grade. If a second replacement exam is required, this exam may be delivered via an alternative assessment method, such as a viva voce (oral exam). The alternative assessment will meet the same learning outcomes as the original exam. The format of the alternative assessment will be determined by the unit coordinator.

Excursion Report: This is a written report based on the compulsory field excursion to SW NSW. Note: detailed notes taken at each site visited during the excursion also need to be submitted with your completed report.

Grazing Trial Newspaper Article and Appendices: This is a written assessment based on the style of a newspaper article (targeted at an appropriate audience and written in an appropriate style) with data analysis and interpretation.

Meat grading video: Video to be created reflecting selection, cooking and taste testing of two meat samples from different parts of a carcass.

Detailed information for each assessment can be found on Canvas.

Assessment criteria

Refer to unit handbook for grading rubrics for each submitted assessment task.

For more information see guide to grades.

Late submission

In accordance with University policy, these penalties apply when written work is submitted after 11:59pm on the due date:

  • Deduction of 5% of the maximum mark for each calendar day after the due date.
  • After ten calendar days late, a mark of zero will be awarded.

This unit has an exception to the standard University policy or supplementary information has been provided by the unit coordinator. This information is displayed below:

Written assignments submitted late without permission (see Special Considerations: will incur a late penalty equal to 5% of the maximum awardable mark per day. These deductions will continue for 10 calendar days or until a solution for the assignment is released or marked assignments are returned to other students. At that point the mark awarded will be zero. • For example, on an assignment given a mark of 7/10, the penalty would be 0.5 marks if submitted up to 24 hours late, resulting in a final mark of 6.5/10. If the assignment is submitted 6 days late, the penalty would be 3 marks and the final mark would be 4/10. If the assignment is more than 10 days late, the final mark will be zero.

Academic integrity

The Current Student website  provides information on academic integrity and the resources available to all students. The University expects students and staff to act ethically and honestly and will treat all allegations of academic integrity breaches seriously.  

We use similarity detection software to detect potential instances of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breach. If such matches indicate evidence of plagiarism or other forms of academic integrity breaches, your teacher is required to report your work for further investigation.

You may only use artificial intelligence and writing assistance tools in assessment tasks if you are permitted to by your unit coordinator, and if you do use them, you must also acknowledge this in your work, either in a footnote or an acknowledgement section.

Studiosity is permitted for postgraduate units unless otherwise indicated by the unit coordinator. The use of this service must be acknowledged in your submission.

Simple extensions

If you encounter a problem submitting your work on time, you may be able to apply for an extension of five calendar days through a simple extension.  The application process will be different depending on the type of assessment and extensions cannot be granted for some assessment types like exams.

Special consideration

If exceptional circumstances mean you can’t complete an assessment, you need consideration for a longer period of time, or if you have essential commitments which impact your performance in an assessment, you may be eligible for special consideration or special arrangements.

Special consideration applications will not be affected by a simple extension application.

Using AI responsibly

Co-created with students, AI in Education includes lots of helpful examples of how students use generative AI tools to support their learning. It explains how generative AI works, the different tools available and how to use them responsibly and productively.

WK Topic Learning activity Learning outcomes
Week 01 Introduction, History of Merino, Wool production and marketing Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO7 LO8 LO9
Grazing practical #1 Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 02 Wool quality Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO7 LO8 LO9
Wool types Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 03 Nutritional management Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Grazing practical #2 Practical (3 hr) LO1 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 04 Prime lamb production Lecture (3 hr) LO2 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Whole farm evaluation Tutorial (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO4 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 05 Beef production Lecture (3 hr) LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
ICMJ Introduction Practical (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Week 07 Meat quality Lecture (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8
Week 10 Meat processing Lecture (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8
Meat grading Practical (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8
Week 11 Meat grading Practical (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Drought management Lecture (3 hr) LO1 LO2 LO3 LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Week 12 Livestock production in developing countries Lecture (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Meat grading Practical (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9
Livestock welfare Lecture (3 hr) LO5 LO6 LO7 LO8
Meat grading Practical (3 hr) LO4 LO7 LO8 LO9

Attendance and class requirements

This is an applied unit with numerous hands-on activities and discussions in class. Attendance to all lectures/tutorials/practicals and field trips/excursions is strongly encouraged to to ensure skill and knowledge attainment in order to satisfactorily complete all assessment tasks.

Study commitment

Typically, there is a minimum expectation of 1.5-2 hours of student effort per week per credit point for units of study offered over a full semester. For a 6 credit point unit, this equates to roughly 120-150 hours of student effort in total.

Required readings

Some references that will benefit your understanding of key concepts for this course:


Anderson RS, Edney ATB (1991) Practical animal handling, Pergamon Press

Battaglia RA (2007) Handbook of livestock management 4th Edition, Prentice Hall

Cottle, DJ (2010) International sheep and wool handbook, Nottingham University Press

Cottle, DJ and Kahn, L (2014) Beef cattle production and trade CSIRO Publishing

Ensminger, ME & Perry RC (1997) Beef cattle science, Interstate Publishers

Lawrie, RA (2006) Lawries Meat Science, 7th edn, CRC Press 

Massy, C (1990) The Australian merino, Viking O'Neil

Philips, CJC (2010) Principles of Cattle Production 2nd Edition, Landlinks Press, Collingwood

Temple, G (2000) Beef cattle handling and facilities design, Grandin Livestock Systems, Fort Collins, Colo

Learning outcomes are what students know, understand and are able to do on completion of a unit of study. They are aligned with the University's graduate qualities and are assessed as part of the curriculum.

At the completion of this unit, you should be able to:

  • LO1. Evaluate the relationships between Merino strain and environment on wool production, quality determinants, processing and product value across the supply chain to enhance productivity and profitability.
  • LO2. Describe the role of breed, environment, processing and marketing options in optimizing prime lamb production and quality across the supply chain.
  • LO3. Describe the role of breed, environment, processing and marketing options in optimizing beef production across northern and southern Australian grazing and feedlot production systems.
  • LO4. Evaluate the relationships between meat quality determinants, processing and product value to enhance productivity and profitability.
  • LO5. Evaluate the role of pasture management, budgeting and fodder conservation to fill feed gaps and meet specific nutritional requirements for livestock production.
  • LO6. Evaluate the impact of a variable climate and increased occurrence of drought on livestock production and develop strategies to assist minimise impact.
  • LO7. Describe innovative approaches to improve sustainable livestock health, production, productivity and welfare domestically and internationally.
  • LO8. Formulate and develop solutions to improve farm production systems with management plans that integrate cross-disciplinary expertise.
  • LO9. Develop communication skills that are articulate, evidence-based and appropriate for stakeholders of the livestock industries.

Graduate qualities

The graduate qualities are the qualities and skills that all University of Sydney graduates must demonstrate on successful completion of an award course. As a future Sydney graduate, the set of qualities have been designed to equip you for the contemporary world.

GQ1 Depth of disciplinary expertise

Deep disciplinary expertise is the ability to integrate and rigorously apply knowledge, understanding and skills of a recognised discipline defined by scholarly activity, as well as familiarity with evolving practice of the discipline.

GQ2 Critical thinking and problem solving

Critical thinking and problem solving are the questioning of ideas, evidence and assumptions in order to propose and evaluate hypotheses or alternative arguments before formulating a conclusion or a solution to an identified problem.

GQ3 Oral and written communication

Effective communication, in both oral and written form, is the clear exchange of meaning in a manner that is appropriate to audience and context.

GQ4 Information and digital literacy

Information and digital literacy is the ability to locate, interpret, evaluate, manage, adapt, integrate, create and convey information using appropriate resources, tools and strategies.

GQ5 Inventiveness

Generating novel ideas and solutions.

GQ6 Cultural competence

Cultural Competence is the ability to actively, ethically, respectfully, and successfully engage across and between cultures. In the Australian context, this includes and celebrates Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures, knowledge systems, and a mature understanding of contemporary issues.

GQ7 Interdisciplinary effectiveness

Interdisciplinary effectiveness is the integration and synthesis of multiple viewpoints and practices, working effectively across disciplinary boundaries.

GQ8 Integrated professional, ethical, and personal identity

An integrated professional, ethical and personal identity is understanding the interaction between one’s personal and professional selves in an ethical context.

GQ9 Influence

Engaging others in a process, idea or vision.

Outcome map

Learning outcomes Graduate qualities

This section outlines changes made to this unit following staff and student reviews.

This is a new unit, delivered in 2023 for the first time. Staff will see formal and informal student feedback throughout semester.

Additional costs

There will be a cost associated with attending the field trip to 'Arthursleigh' and the SW NSW Excursion. These costs are subsidised through sponsorship from Australian Wool Innovation (AWI).

Site visit guidelines

See site requirements on the unit's Canvas page.

Work, health and safety

See WHS requirements on the unit's Canvas page.


The University reserves the right to amend units of study or no longer offer certain units, including where there are low enrolment numbers.

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