One of the primary aims of the Agricultural
Science course that the student should, through
personal experience, become aware of good
farming practice and should have enough
scientific knowledge to understand the scientific
principles behind it.
In schools where direct and regular access to a
farm is not available, it is advisable that each
student, regardless whether he / she comes from
a farm or not, should become thoroughly familiar
with one farm that has at least one livestock
enterprise, preferably dairy and / or beef cattle.
Contact should be made as soon as possible and
should be maintained for at least one continuous
twelve-month period, through regular visits,
voluntary work and frequent discussions with the
It is recommended that the student keep a
notebook specially for his / her farm visits.
Some points of attention are listed below that
might be helpful in stimulating and guiding the
student’s natural curiosity.
i. Type of farming
Arable acreage under tillage
Arable acreage under grass
ii. Farm layout
Fencing (drystone walls?)
Power source (3-phase electricity?)
iii. Farm buildings
Animal houses: old or new?
General or purpose-built?
Permanent or temporary?
Space per animal
Methods of feeding
Methods of cleaning
Cattle handling facilities
Storage of hay and straw
Grain drying facilities
Owned or hired
Suitability for intended purpose
v. Crops grown
Acreage of each crop
Reasons for choice
Reasons for choice of rotation
Disposal of products
vi. Grassland management
High/low clover swards
Long/short term leys
Sourcing of replacements
Sires used (AI?)
viii. Livestock feeding and management
Creamery/sugar factory by-products
ix. Field monuments
x. Plans or suggestions for improvements
Long term/short term plans for new buildings
Increased stocking rates
Student’s ideas for improvements
While there is no requirement for the student to
submit a thesis on this project, he / she should, at
the end of the course, be able to participate in an
intelligent and informed discussion of the points
relevant to his/her ‘adopted’ farm.
Proximity to yard. Would you like to have the
house to be near the yard or at a distance away
from it? Consider easy access to the yard (too
easy for children can mean danger when
unsupervised?), smells from manure / slurry
pit, noise level (tractors, livestock at feeding
Sales value. Could the situation arise where
the house be sold separately from the farm (or
the farm sold and the house retained)?
Cost of servicing the site. Water, sewerage,
Access. Access only from the farmyard or
independently from a public road?
View. How important is the view? A view is not
usually appreciated after the lapse of one year.
ii. Ground conditions
Load bearing capacity of soil. Is there
bedrock underneath (if so, what type?), gravel,
Permeability. Is the subsoil able to take
surface water from concrete surfaces, tarmac,
roof? (Treated) effluent from kitchen,
Drainage flow. If surface water has to drain off
in an open or a covered ditch (pipes), is there a
sufficient gradient to a stream/river?
Water tables. Will the water table interfere
with soakage or drainage? Is it subject to
Rock outcrops. Will they cause problems
when excavating the foundation? Can they be
integrated in the overall design (foundation,
iii. Natural Features
Impact on landscape. Will the house integrate
without difficulty into the landscape, or will it
stick out like a sore thumb?
Preservation of historical monuments. Is
there a ringfort, souterrain, fulacht fia etc. on or
near the chosen site that would be damaged or
destroyed? (Check Sites and Monuments
Record; check with Duchas the Heritage
Service about distances to be kept from
archaeological sites and about proper
Protection of geological and topographical
features. Eskers and drumlins are important
features of the Irish landscape, and very
vulnerable (easily bulldozed). Gravel extraction
from an esker for road foundation, site levelling
etc. can severely compromise the local
Natural shelterbelts. Making use of existing
shelterbelts provides instant protection, adds
character to the house and reduces negative
impact on the landscape.
Energy efficiency. Orientation is important to
maximise energy efficiency.
Maximise surface area exposed to the sun.
The sun can provide welcome heat in autumn,
winter and spring. A well-designed overhanging
roof can reduce insolation in the summer, when
the sun is high in the sky.
Heat loss through exposure to wind. The
greatest heat loss occurs when the wall is wet
and the wind blows against it. The evaporation
of the water draws heat from the fabric.
Strategic location of the most important
rooms. The kitchen should get the morning
sun (SE corner of the house). The master
bedroom should be facing east. The family
living room, if placed in the SW corner, will get
the afternoon and evening sun.
v. Shelter belts
Shelter belts will protect against wind and
driving rain (keeping walls dry).
Use natural shelter where available.
Use native species when planting shelter belts
vi. Utility room
Locate a utility room at the back door to the house.
Use it for cleaning and washing.
Keep a change of footwear/clothing available.
Provide a toilet that is accessible from outside,
for persons working in the yard and children
Figure C-1: Structural formula of a glucose molecule
The formula of glucose is normally given as
C6H12O6, which is the same for all six-carbon
Fructose and galactose differ from glucose in the
internal arrangement of the molecule.
II. Disaccharide and Polysaccharide
Figure C-2: Disaccharide (top) and polysaccharide formation (bottom)
Two glucose molecules joining together to form a
molecule of maltose (top). One molecule of water
is removed, and an oxygen molecule then forms
the link between the two monosaccharide
Long chains of carbohydrates (= polysaccharides)
can be formed in this way. It is also
possible for side chains to “grow” from the main
chain. That is the case in starch and glycogen.
III. Amino Acid
Figure C-3: Structural formula of a generalised amino acid
Showing amino group (-NH2), acid group
(-COOH) and side chain.
Figure C-4: Schematic representation of a peptide
Each amino acid has an acid end and a base end.
The acid end of one AA can combine chemically with the base end of another to
form a peptide bond.
Apart from an identical acid-base backbone,
each AA has a side chain. The side chain is
different in every AA. It can be a single
hydrogen molecule (= glycine) or a very
A string of amino acids is called a peptide.
A long string of many amino acids is called a polypeptide.
Several polypeptides twisted into a ‘rope’
form an (insoluble) structural protein (as in
hair, skin, cow’s horn, hoof).
One or more polypeptides rolled into a ‘ball’
or globe make a (soluble) globular protein
(e.g milk globulin, immunoglobulin).
Figure C-5: Schematic diagram of a typical fat
Three fatty acids are attached to a molecule of
glycerol. Different fatty acids are of different
This type of fat is also called a triglyceride.
VI. Fatty Acids
Figure C-6: A saturated fatty acid (left) and an unsaturated fatty acid (right)
The unsaturated fatty acid has two hydrogen
atoms missing. The two neighbouring carbon
atoms are joined by a double bond. If there is
just one double bond in the chain then it is
called a mono-unsaturated fatty acid.
If there are several double bonds then it is a
poly-unsaturated fatty acid. Polyunsaturates
are now recognised as essential fatty acids in
Fats containing unsaturated fatty acids are
liquid at room temperature; we call them oils. In
order to make oils semi-solid, they are often
Read the labels on convenience foods in the
supermarket! Hydrogenated fats are best
VII. Nucleotides in DNA
Figure C-7: Nucleotides in DNA
Each nucleotide consists of a 5-carbon sugar
(the “house”), a phosphate group (the “pond”)
and one of four bases (the “flag”).
In the DNA molecule the sugars string up to
form the parallel “shafts” of the ladder. The
bases bond together to form the “rungs”.
The four bases are adenine, thymine, guanine
and cytosine. Two pairs fit together: A-T and