Academic Year 2023/2024 - Teacher: GIORGIO TESTA

Expected Learning Outcomes

The course develops a training course able to provide students skills and applicative skills on crops intended in whole or in part for the feeding of domestic animals and on the related cultivation techniques in different pedo-climatic conditions, with particular attention to the semi-arid environment. The skills acquired will make it possible to recognize, cultivate and use forage species, improve the degree of farm self-sufficiency and the quality of forage production taking into account the social, economic and cultural aspects and the existing environmental and landscape constraints.


In particular, at the end of the course, students will be able to:

i)                    the knowledge and understanding of the bases of the management of Mediterranean forage systems, with particular attention to the choice of species, cultivation techniques aimed at optimizing production performance and the quality of forage resources.

ii)                   apply knowledge and understanding skills with a professional approach, and possess adequate skills to devise and support arguments aimed at solving problems relating to the rational management of forage resources in the Mediterranean environment;

iii)                 collect and interpret data and information aimed at independently analyzing the production processes and the effects of agronomic techniques applied to forage systems, critically evaluating their sustainability and scientific and ethical consequences.

iv)                 communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions relating to topics of agronomic interest to specialists and non-specialists.

v)                   develop, with specific reference to the contents of the discipline, learning skills that allow them to continue their university studies in subsequent cycles with a high degree of autonomy.

Course Structure

The course will be structured as follows:

  • Lectures
  • Participated lessons
  • Cooperative lessons
  • Analysis of case studies

If teaching is given in a mixed formula or remotely, necessary changes may be introduced to what was previously stated in order to comply with the provided and reported  syllabus.

Learning assessment may also be carried out on line, should the conditions require it.

As a guarantee of equal opportunities and in compliance with current laws, interested students can ask for a personal interview in order to plan any compensatory and/or dispensatory measures, based on their specific needs and on teaching objectives of the discipline. 
It is also possible to ask the departmental contacts of CInAP (Center for Active and Participatory Integration - Services for Disabilities and/or DSAs), in the persons of professors Anna De Angelis.

Required Prerequisites

Knoweledge of "Agrnomy" and "Plant biology"

Attendance of Lessons

Not mandatory.

Detailed Course Content

  1. Forage crops: general description, historical outline, ecological and environmental value, climate relationship.
  2. Forage crops: agronomic classification
  3. Economic importance of forage crops in the world, in Italy, in Sicily.
  4. Temporary forage crops
    1. autumn-spring annual species: main grasses, legumes and cruciferous species; botanical features, biology, environmental needs, cultural technique, production and quality.
    2. spring-summer annual species: main grasses species, botanical features, biology, environmental needs, cultural technique, production and quality.
    3. perennial forage crops: historical importance in the context of Italian forage production; main grasses and legume species, cultivation techniques and utilizations, production and quality.
  5. Pastureland (natural permanent pastures): definitions and agro-ecosystems functions; pastoral resources in the world and in the Mediterranean countries; pasture vegetation types and their analysis methods, productivity of pasture (direct methods and simulation models), forage quality, agronomic improvement, grazing management.
  6. The forage system: study methods.
  7. Case studies of Mediterranean forage systems

Textbook Information

  1. BALDONI R., GIARDINI L., 2002. Coltivazioni erbacee – Foraggere e tappeti erbosi. Patron, Bologna. DISPA – Le colture da energia di possibile coltivazione in Italia (a cura dei docenti della sezione di Scienze Agronomiche)
  2. BERTONI G., RONCHI B., BERNABUCCI U., 1991. Valorizzazione dei foraggi prativi in relazione alle tipologie di allevamento. Rivista di Agronomia, 25, 2, 127-147.
  3. CASSANITI S., COSENTINO S., COPANI V., RIGGI E., 2002. Disponibilità di risorse foraggere e movimenti zonali degli animali in allevamento nell’area dei Monti Nebrodi. Giornata di Studio su “La Transumanza: tecnica antica e tecnologie moderne”, Firenze, 27 settembre 2001. Atti Accademia dei Georgofili, XLVIII, 573-608.
  4. CAVALLERO A., CIOTTI, A., 1991. Aspetti agronomici dell’utilizzazione dei prati e dei pascoli. Rivista di Agronomia, 25, 2, 81-126.
  5. CERETI F. C., TALAMUCCI P., 1991. Possibilità di studio e di organizzazione del sistema foraggero pratopascolivo. Rivista di Agronomia, 25, 2, 148-169.
  6. COSENTINO S, CASSANITI S., COPANI V, CORLETO A, ZILIOTTO U., 2003. Ruolo agronomico delle leguminose foraggere. Rivista di Agronomia 37: 79-88. 
  7. TALAMUCCI P., 1997. Combinazione delle risorse pascolive nei sistemi foraggeri e loro ruolo nei sistemi multiuso. Rivista di Agronomia, 31, 1, 107-107
  8. Appunti del docente.

Course Planning

 SubjectsText References
1Introduzione al corso: definizioni, cenni storici, importanza ecologica e ambientale, clima e colture foraggereAppunti del docente
2Classificazione agronomica delle colture foraggere; la produzione foraggera nel mondo, in Italia e in Sicilia.Appunti del docente
3Erbai autunno-primaverili di graminacee, di leguminose, di crucifere, miscugli.Testo di riferimento n. 1, capitolo n. 2, pagine 33-65
4I trifogli e le mediche annuali dei riposi pascolativi mediterranei.Appunti del docente
5Erbai primaverili-estivi ed estivi di graminacee, di leguminose, miscugli.Testo di riferimento n. 1, capitolo n. 2, pagine 66-81
6Prati avvicendati di leguminose: importanza agronomica ed ecologica, evoluzione storica.Testi di riferimento n. 4 e 6
7Prati avvicendati di leguminose: diffusione ed inquadramento sistematico; principali specie e varietà; tecnica colturale; consociazioni ed associazioni prative.Testo di riferimento n. 1, capitoli n.3, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9,10, 11; pagine 83-177
8Prati avvicendati di graminacee: - diffusione ed inquadramento sistematico - caratteristiche generali - principali specie e varietà - Consociazioni ed associazioni prative.Testo di riferimento n.1, capitoli n. 13 e 14; pagine 181-237
9Le popolazioni mediterranee di Dactylis glomerata L. .Appunti del docente
10Pascoli: definizione e inquadramento; l'ecosistema cotico erboso; la valutazione dei pascoli, metodi di analisi; la vegetazione pastorale ed i metodi di studio; tipologie di vegetazione pastorale .Testo di riferimento n. 1, capitolo n. 15, paragrafi 1, 2, 3, 4; pagine 239-273
11Pascoli: produzione, utilizzazione, miglioramento, organizzazione del'attività pastorale.Testo di riferimento n. 1; capitolo n.15, paragrafi 5, 6,7, 8; pagine 274-293
12Il sistema foraggero: metodi di studio.Appunti del docente e testi di riferimento n. 5
13Casi studio di sistemi foraggeri mediterranei.Appunti del docente

Learning Assessment

Learning Assessment Procedures

The assessment of learning takes place through an oral interview. The evaluation of the student's preparation will take place on the basis of the following criteria: learning ability and level of depth of the topics covered, properties of synthesis and exposition, and the student's ability to reason.

The vote follows the following scheme:


Knowledge and understanding of the subject: Major shortcomings. Significant inaccuracies.

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Irrelevant. Frequent generalizations. Inability of synthesis.

Use of references: Completely inappropriate.


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: At the threshold level. Obvious imperfections.

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Just enough skills

Using references: As soon as appropriate


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Routine knowledge.

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Is able to analyze and synthesize correctly. Argue logically and consistently. Use of references: Use standard references


Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Good knowledge.

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Has good ability to analyze and synthesize. The arguments are consistently expressed.

Use of references: Use standard references.



Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Knowledge more than good.

Ability to analyze and synthesize: Has considerable ability to analyze and synthesize.

Use of references: Has investigated the topics.



Knowledge and understanding of the topic: Excellent knowledge.

Ability to analyze and synthesize: He has considerable abilities of analysis and synthesis.

Use of references: Important insights.


Verification of learning can also be carried out electronically, if the conditions require it.

Examples of frequently asked questions and / or exercises

Classification of forage crops.

Areas and production of forage crops in Italy and Sicily.

Description, biology, adaptation and cultivation techniques of a grassland and alternate meadow forage species.

Pastures: typologies, methods of surveying pastoral vegetation and production.

Techniques for improving the production and quality of pasture.