Diploma of Applied Agronomy

Course Details

This course provides training in the high-level practical skills needed to provide technical information and advice on increasing the quality and production of crops in the agriculture and horticulture industry. Areas of study include plant nutrition, soil health, crop management, weed, pest and disease management and effective soil testing. It is assumed that an individual undertaking this qualification will have prior agriculture or horticulture industry experience.

  • Course Information

    This qualification is intended for individuals who require technical and applied skills and knowledge in agronomy. The qualification is appropriate for farmers wishing to develop their skills and knowledge and those seeking formal qualifications in Agronomy.

    • Enrol at any time
    • Take up to 2 years to complete in a self paced online format
    • Spend just the time you need to understand the materials - not affected by other students working faster or slower than you need

    Your learning time includes not only the time you spend working on the course materials, but also your time for reflection and thinking about what you have learned as you go about your normal activities. We estimate the total learning time may be up to 20 hours per week for some students. Of course, this will vary according to your existing skills and knowledge.

    Student Handbook

    • Be actively engaged in farming/ horticulture, or have ready access to and knowledge of a farm/horticulture business which can be used for completion of assessment tasks. As a guide, your chosen farm should show these characteristics:
      • Operated as a business for profit
      • Have a commercial scale
      • Have agricultural enterprises such as commercial crops or livestock
      • Be close to where you live so you can be physically on it regularly (eg weekly)
      • Be able to provide you with details of past production, management processes, costs, prices etc. Advanced Diploma units will require access to past financial records.
      • If you are not part of the farm business, RuralBiz Training may require you to provide contact details for the owner or manager to confirm your access to the farm.
    • Have access to a computer with at least Windows 7, Word 97, Excel 97, Adobe Reader and satellite broadband internet connection or similar. If you have a Mac computer, we suggest you talk to a computer technician about installing the Windows environment.
    • Basic computer skills e.g. use of internet, email, basic word processing skills.
    • Completion of Year 12 or equivalent or be able to demonstrate similar literacy and numeracy levels. All students complete a literacy and numeracy test as part of our enrolment process.

    Additional requirements for Diploma of Applied Agronomy

    • Completion of a Diploma of Agriculture. For RuralBiz Training students this will be structured to facilitate credit transfers to the Diploma of Agronomy
    • Completion of the following soils units at a high level of competency:
      • AHCSOL406 Sample soils and interpret results
      • AHCSOL505 Monitor soils for production
    • At least 3 years’ experience in commercial crop production management or agronomy related services.
    • Students will be required to complete a minimum of 2 weeks work experience with an agronomist. If you are currently employed in a role providing agronomy services, you may be able to have this verified by your current employer to meet this requirement.

    This course includes units which require students to independently research and analyse information at a management level. It is not suitable for people without prior study and experience in cropping or agronomy related services.

    Students who have not previously studied with RuralBiz Training MAY be required to demonstrate their level of competency in the soils units through completion of set tasks, interviews and/or provision of additional evidence. RuralBiz Training will advise you of any additional requirements prior to processing your enrolment form.


    RPL is a process which assesses your existing knowledge and skills gained through work or prior study. You can do part, or all, of your Diploma by RPL. You can apply for RPL at enrolment or at any time during your course.

    If you have done previous accredited training in any field we may be able to offer you direct credit transfer for units in this course. Contact RuralBiz Training if you think this applies to you.


    You'll be supported all the way in your course. Your team will include:

    • You!
    • Your trainer
    • Your Guardian Angel - your mentor and cheer squad who helps resolve any issues related to your progress
    • LLN specialist - helps students who want a hand with reading, writing or number work, particularly in assessment tasks.

    Your trainers are well qualified, practical people who are managing their own farm businesses or providing services to farmers.

    Click here for more about the RuralBiz Training trainers.

  • Units

    To achieve this qualification, competency must be demonstrated in 12 units of competency:

    • 7 core units plus
    • 5 elective units.

    Elective units must ensure the integrity of the qualification’s Australian Qualification Framework (AQF) alignment and contribute to a valid, industry-supported vocational outcome. The electives are to be chosen as follows:

    • 3 must be from the electives listed below
    • 2 from the remaining electives listed below, or any currently endorsed Training Package or accredited course packaged at Certificate IV, Diploma or Advanced Diploma.

    All units in the Diploma of Applied Agronomy listed on training.gov.au are available by RPL.

    Core Units  
    AHCAGB521 Select and use agricultural technolgy
    AHCBAC509Plan and manage long-term weed, pest, and disease control in crops
    AHCBAC513 Apply plant biology to agronomic practices
    AHCBAC514 Design and manage a crop or pasture nutrition program
    AHCBUS408 Operate within a budget framework
    AHCSOL508 Manage soils to enhance sustainability
    AHCWRK513 Write and present reports
    AHCAGB518 Develop climate risk management strategies
    Develop production plans for crops and pastures    
    AHCBUS518 Prepare and monitor budgets and financial reports
    AHCPCM507 Diagnose plant health problems
    AHCPHT511 Develop a horticultural production plan
    AHCSOL505 Monitor and manage soils for production
  • Cost

    Your fee for this course will depend on the the availability of a subsidy from your State and your eligibility. To view a summary of all current course fees and subsidies please click here or contact our office for more information.


    VET Student Loan

    VET Student Loan approval for this course is pending. Please contact us for more details

    If you'd like to enrol in this course but can't afford the fees, you may be eligible to use a Vet Student Loan. A VET student loan gives rise to a VETSL debt that continues to be a debt due to the Commonwealth until it is repaid.  The 2023 VSL loan cap for these courses is $16,788. Additional information on VET Student loans is available on our website at http://www.ruralbiztraining.com.au/vet-student-loans, by contacting our office or by visiting the government Study Assist website: https://www.studyassist.gov.au/ . 

    Payment plan

    Want to make smaller, regular payments throughout your course?

    The payment plan option consists of establishing a direct debit for payments deducted weekly, fortnightly, monthly or quarterly from your nominated bank account or credit card, across the duration of your enrolment. There is a $13.64 establishment fee and an administration charge (Amex, Debt Collection: 5.5% or Direct Debit: 4.5%) on all payment plans. The establishment fee is paid in your first instalment and the administration fee becomes part of your scheduled deduction. Payment plans are administered by DebitSuccess – www.debitsuccess.com.au

    Upfront payment

    Individual students can pay up to $1,500 of their course fee up-front. An employer or organisation  can pay up to 100% of a learners course fee up-front if they are an employee or member of the organisation.  Vet Student Loan students may make upfront payments prior to the census date for that unit.

  • Delivery

    Self-paced online learning

    Use resources and information in our online learning site (RuralBiz Online) to work at your own rate, at times that suit you. You will find resources to help you learn including videos, quizzes, print materials and links to other useful websites. This site also has a forum where you can post comments and questions for other participants and your trainer. It will also be the spot to upload your assessments, receive trainer feedback and track your progress.

    Interactive online sessions

    These are run in our Blackboard Collaborate virtual classroom where you work with a trainer and other participants. You will be able to see a presentation on your computer screen, hear the trainer and other group members, and ask questions or make comments. One of our previous participants described it as being like "two way radio with pictures" but it also has a whiteboard, chat function and many other tools useful for training. Some sessions are also recorded for listening back at a later date. These sessions are usually run on demand when there is a group of at least 10 participants to attend.

    Printed Manuals

    Many of our units use a printed manual, giving you time to explore the online learning environments while having familiar materials at hand.


    Your assessment tasks are designed for you to apply your learning to your own farm. In many cases, you produce a valuable resource for ongoing use in your own business - such as an e-Farm Plan which is easily updated or business, cropping or livestock plans.

    Past students have found that they continue to use and adapt these plans well after they have completed their qualification.

    You'll attend an AgForum in each unit - an online informal discussion with other students about day to day issues of interest in agriculture.


    At enrolment, we work with you to design an individual training plan that meets your needs and course rules, so you can complete your course within the 2 year timeframe.

    We know that farmers have busy periods during the year depending on their district and type of farming. We also recognise that family issues mean some students will need time out during their course.

    If you find you are unable to keep to your training plan, you can talk to your guardian angel and amend it as needed.

    Remember, we're working with you to make your study possible!

  • Benefits

    Key Benefits

    • Flexible - self paced online or online group delivery
    • Everyone with an internet connection has equal access to training
    • Training is delivered to you - wherever you have internet access
    • No travel time or travel costs
    • Access to online materials 24/7
    • Access to the best trainers who are farmers themselves, not just trainers who can visit your district
    • Work in groups from a wide geographic area
    • Training can continue even if you are travelling or cut off by floods or other natural disasters
    • Assessments are submitted online - fast turnaround times
    • Student Card - purchase some items at discounted prices
  • Pathways

    Further Education or Training:

    Further training pathways from this Qualification include, but are not limited to:

    • Advanced Diploma of Agribusiness Management (AHC60319)
    • Bachelor of Agricultural Business Management
    • Various University Degrees Note: you may receive credit for some of the units completed in your Diploma or Advanced Diploma qualifications. Contact the university of your choice to find out more.

    Employment pathways from this qualification include, but are not limited to:

    • Agronomist
    • Farm production manager
    • Production unit manager
    • Station/property manager