University of Florida

AOM 4455
Agricultural Operations and Systems

Semester Taught - Spring

Catalog Description

Credits: 3

Quantitative and managerial techniques for management and planning of technical resources in agriculture. Applications of queuing theory, project scheduling, optimization and expert decision systems.


MAC1147, or equivalent, computer course or instructor approval

Course Objectives

This course is a study of agricultural operations from a technical standpoint, using examples such as materials handling operations at a processing plant, field crop operations, crop growth processes, technical management of processes such as facility construction and selecting an optimal mix of products to be produced. Agricultural production and processing facilities are viewed as systems, and system management and optimization tools are studied, including spreadsheets, linear programming, database management, scheduling software and expert systems. Guest lecturers will be incorporated into the class schedule.


Dr. Wendell Porter
Phone: 392-1864 x113
Office: 113 Rogers Hall

Material/Supply Fees


Class Materials Required

There are no required texts for this class.  Numerous selected readings are included as links or attached texts.

Course Outline

  • Trends: Explore trend curves such as exponential, logistic and Gaussian and relate to real world trends and possibilities.
    1. Homework would include population growth, world grain supplies, water consumption, etc.
    2. Readings would include Vital Signs, Internet sources, etc.
  • Optimization:  Use linear programming tools (embedded in Excel) to optimize feedmill operations.  Illustrates the fact that there are multiple correct answers but some solutions provide an optimum outcome.
    1. Homework includes feedmill problem.
    2. Readings:  ??
  • Labor optimization:  Labor costs compared to material and organizational costs.
    1. Examples:  Where does the Porta-John go on a construction site?  Do you buy pre-cut studs or 8’ lengths?  Do you learn how to weld for farm operations or do you hire it done? 
    2. Analyze the total cost of ownership of a: tractor, front-end loader and a car.  How much does checking your tire pressure actually save?  Tractors, cars??
  • Models:  The use of models to aid decision making.  Short term, long term.
    1. Simple growth models
    2. Seasonal
    3. Crop
    4. Economic
    5. Combined
  • Use of predictive models:
    1. AgroClimate: When and what to plant.  Spraying frequency
    2. Rain days for harvest and construction bidding
    3. Commodities


A C- will not be a qualifying grade for critical tracking courses.  In order to graduate, students must have an overall GPA and an upper-division GPA of 2.0 or better (C or better).  Note: a C- average is equivalent to a GPA of 1.67, and therefore, it does not satisfy this graduation requirement.  For more information on grades and grading policies, please visit:

Tests 3 @ 100 each 300 points
Homework 15 @ 10 each 150 points
Projects 3 @ 50 each 150 points
Attendance 20 @ 5 each 100 points
Total Points   700 Points

Projects are worth 50 points each and a grading rubric for each will be included in the information provided for that assignment.  UF grading policy can be found at:

700-647 pts     =          A
646-627           =          A-
626-612           =          B+
611-577           =          B
576-556           =          B-
555-542           =          C+
541-507           =          C
506-486           =          C-
485-472           =          D+
471-437           =          D
436-416           =          D-
<415            =          E

Projects and homework will be due on or before the date assigned in class.  Late work will not be accepted without prior approval.  A penalty of 10% per class period will be assessed for late assignments without approval.  Class participation is expected.

General Requirements

  1. Many assignments, whether homework or projects, will be due on a given date.  Late assignments will lose points in grade for each day late.  Missed exams may be rescheduled only with proper documented excuses within one week of the original date given.
  1. There is no cumulative final exam.  The last exam is given in the last class of the semester.


Academic Honesty

Academic Honesty

As a student at the University of Florida, you have committed yourself to uphold the Honor Code, which includes the following pledge: “We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to hold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.”  You are expected to exhibit behavior consistent with this commitment to the UF academic community, and on all work submitted for credit at the University of Florida, the following pledge is either required or implied: "On my honor, I have neither given nor received unauthorized aid in doing this assignment." 
It is assumed that you will complete all work independently in each course unless the instructor provides explicit permission for you to collaborate on course tasks (e.g. assignments, papers, quizzes, exams). Furthermore, as part of your obligation to uphold the Honor Code, you should report any condition that facilitates academic misconduct to appropriate personnel. It is your individual responsibility to know and comply with all university policies and procedures regarding academic integrity and the Student Honor Code.  Violations of the Honor Code at the University of Florida will not be tolerated. Violations will be reported to the Dean of Students Office for consideration of disciplinary action. For more information regarding the Student Honor Code, please see:  

Accommodation for Students with Disabilities

The Disability Resource Center coordinates the needed accommodations of students with disabilities. This includes registering disabilities, recommending academic accommodations within the classroom, accessing special adaptive computer equipment, providing interpretation services and mediating faculty-student disability related issues.

0001 Reid Hall, 352-392-8565,  

Software Use

All faculty, staff and student of the University are required and expected to obey the laws and legal agreements governing software use. Failure to do so can lead to monetary damages and/or criminal penalties for the individual violator. Because such violations are also against University policies and rules, disciplinary action will be taken as appropriate. We, the members of the University of Florida community, pledge to uphold ourselves and our peers to the highest standards of honesty and integrity.

Campus Helping Resources

Students experiencing crises or personal problems that interfere with their general well-being are encouraged to utilize the university’s counseling resources. The Counseling & Wellness Center provides confidential counseling services at no cost for currently enrolled students. Resources are available on campus for students having personal problems or lacking clear career or academic goals, which interfere with their academic performance.

  • University Counseling & Wellness Center, 3190 Radio Road, 352-392-1575,

    Counseling Services
    Groups and Workshops
    Outreach and Consultation
    Self-Help Library
    Training Programs
    Community Provider Database

  • Career Resource Center, First Floor JWRU, 392-1601,