Undergraduate Study
Plant Protection

Study Programme Coordinator: Prof. Tanja Gotlin Čuljak, PhD

Plant protection is an area of agriculture dealing with preventing losses caused to crops by diseases, pests and weeds. Difficulties in choosing among large number of measures and products for plant protection and the necessity of their professional application demand specialized knowledge. Almost all plant protection products are classified as poisons, so their usage is linked to dangers for people and the environment. The focus on the chemical measures of fighting parasites, along with the advantages also brings certain disadvantages. Modern plant protection deals with existing problems by integrating the contemporary knowledge, which includes preventive, administrative, mechanical, chemical, biological and other means of fighting pests in order to minimize the loss of yields, causing minimal damage to the environment.

Almost all plants are affected by parasites and diseases that cause significant economic damage. Therefore, plant protection has equal significance in all areas of plant production, in landscapes and urban spaces, industrial and sport objects, water flows, channels, etc. In addition to this, plant protection also covers the storage of plant products.

Description

During their first year of studies, students acquire basic knowledge of natural sciences and agriculture, soil microbiology, agroeconomics, and the basics of garden, wood and farming crops production. During their second year, students are engaged in specialized modules through which they gain basic knowledge of phytopharmacy, systems of fighting harmful organisms, entomology, phytopathology, herbology and methods of pesticide application. During their third year, students can choose elective modules in order to expand their knowledge about the production of certain crops. They also familiarize themselves with the specialized protection of specific groups of crops (farming crops, fruit, vine, vegetables and ornamental plants). During the sixth semester, students join professional projects, where they develop the ability to use scientific discoveries in solving problems. They are encouraged to work in teams. The pre-condition to complete the studies is a written experimental final thesis and its public defence. Students have the obligation to do professional practical work for at least 2 months on the Faculty test field, on farms that have a contract with the Faculty, and/or abroad.

After the completed program, students of plant protection gain the necessary knowledge in the areas of conventional and ecologically acceptable plant protection.

The study program provides knowledge and understanding of the basic principles of agricultural production, growing crops, and the key elements of conventional and ecological plant protection, as well as the legal context of different systems of plant protection. After their completed studies, students are trained for independent search through literature, data bases and other information sources. They also gain the ability to conduct simple experiments in the area of plant protection, and they are able to unite theoretical knowledge and practical skills in solving problems of plant protection. Bachelors will be able to manage plant protection tasks on family and commercial farms, in agricultural pharmacies, state and local inspection services, agricultural companies, pesticide producing companies, etc. If students decide to continue their studies, they can do this within graduate study programs.

After the completion of this program, students are awarded the university degree of Bachelor (baccalaureus) in Engineering of Plant protection. The study covers the basic knowledge of natural sciences and agricultural production. In this way, students acquire the necessary knowledge and skills to solve problems in the area of protecting different agricultural crops from pests according to principles of conventional, integrated, and ecological plant protection. They are able to manage the business of plant protection on family and commercial farms, work in agricultural pharmacies, state and local inspection services. Employment is not necessarily limited to the area of plant protection.

After completing this undergraduate study program, students gain the right to enroll to any of the thirteen graduate programs of the Faculty of Agriculture, University of Zagreb, under conditions valid for each study program. Students also gain the right to enroll to any other University in Croatia and abroad under the conditions set by these institutions.

Objective

The objective of the Plant Protection study programme is education and training of experts for various jobs that require essential competencies in the field of plant protection (phytomedicine). The objective is to train experts who will professionally apply regulations and principles of plant protection in practice, upgrade existing and acquire new competencies for analysis and synthesis of basic and practical knowledge in the field of zoology, phytopathology, weed science, phytopharmacy and pesticide application as well as in general agricultural knowledge. The objective is to enable students to develop critical and self-critical opinion and approach aiming at solving the most important practical problems in the field of plant protection (phytomedicine) by applying gained competencies and in accordance with high standards of academic integrity (ethics and moral) both in the profession and in society as a whole. Along with employment opportunities in public, state and private companies as well as in the industry, the study programme will enable further education at the graduate study.

Learning outcomes

  1. Single out basic principles of agricultural production with emphasis on the principles of plant protection
  2. Describe the role and importance of plant protection in plant production and interpret basic legal framework
  3. Describe non-chemical methods of plant protection from pests and distinguish key elements of conventional, integrated and ecological plant protection
  4. Distinguish basic cultivation characteristics of arable crops, vegetables and woody plants and integrate plant protection measures in cultivation technology
  5. Identify types of damage, estimate and calculate value of direct and indirect losses caused by diseases, insects and weeds
  6. Describe morphology, anatomy and biology of the most important pests and group them into basic systematic categories
  7. Determine pests based on morphological appearance and injury symptoms.
  8. Specify and describe interaction between pesticides and soil and plant and between pesticides and environment.
  9. Specify and describe characteristics of pesticides groups (herbicides, insecticides, fungicides).
  10. Describe pest management and main methods of pesticide application
  11. Develop learning skills necessary to continue studies and/or further lifelong learning

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