Agronomy

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search
Agronomist
File:Cropscientist.jpg
An agronomist measures and records corn growth and other processes.
Occupation
Names agronomist
agricultural scientist
crop scientist
Occupation type
profession
Activity sectors
agriculture, agronomy
Description
Competencies technical knowledge, sense of analysis
Related jobs
see related disciplines

Agronomy (Ancient Greek ἀγρός agrós 'field' + νόμος nómos 'law') is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber, and land reclamation. Agronomy has come to encompass work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. It is the application of a combination of sciences like biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, earth science, and genetics. Agronomists as of 2015 are involved with many issues, including producing food, creating healthier food, managing the environmental impact of agriculture, and extracting energy from plants.[1] Agronomists often specialise in areas such as crop rotation, irrigation and drainage, plant breeding, plant physiology, soil classification, soil fertility, weed control, and insect and pest control.

Plant breeding

File:Research- alternative crops.jpg This area of agronomy involves selective breeding of plants to produce the best crops under various conditions. Plant breeding has increased crop yields and has improved the nutritional value of numerous crops, including corn, soybeans, and wheat. It has also led to the development of new types of plants. For example, a hybrid grain called triticale was produced by crossbreeding rye and wheat. Triticale contains more usable protein than does either rye or wheat. Agronomy has also been instrumental in fruit and vegetable production research.

Biotechnology

File:Flickr - The U.S. Army - www.Army.mil (230).jpg
Purdue University agronomy professor George Van Scoyoc explains the difference between forest and prairie soils to soldiers of the Indiana National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, Indiana

File:Research-mapping plant genomes.jpg

Agronomists use biotechnology to extend and expedite the development of desired characteristic.[2] Biotechnology is often a lab activity requiring field testing of the new crop varieties that are developed.

In addition to increasing crop yields agronomic biotechnology is increasingly being applied for novel uses other than food. For example, oilseed is at present used mainly for margarine and other food oils, but it can be modified to produce fatty acids for detergents, substitute fuels and petrochemicals.

Soil science

Agronomists study sustainable ways to make soils more productive and profitable. They classify soils and analyze them to determine whether they contain nutrients vital to plant growth. Common macronutrients analyzed include compounds of nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, magnesium, and sulfur. Soil is also assessed for several micronutrients, like zinc and boron. The percentage of organic matter, soil pH, and nutrient holding capacity (cation exchange capacity) are tested in a regional laboratory. Agronomists will interpret these lab reports and make recommendations to balance soil nutrients for optimal plant growth.[3]

Soil conservation

In addition, agronomists develop methods to preserve the soil and to decrease the effects of erosion by wind and water. For example, a technique called contour plowing may be used to prevent soil erosion and conserve rainfall. Researchers in agronomy also seek ways to use the soil more effectively in solving other problems. Such problems include the disposal of human and animal manure, water pollution, and pesticide build-up in the soil. Techniques include no-tilling crops, planting of soil-binding grasses along contours on steep slopes, and contour drains of depths up to 1 metre.[citation needed]

Agroecology

Agroecology is the management of agricultural systems with an emphasis on ecological and environmental perspectives.[4] This area is closely associated with work in the areas of sustainable agriculture, organic farming, alternative food systems and the development of alternative cropping systems.

Theoretical modeling

Agronomy schools

Agronomy programs, offered at colleges, universities, and specialized agricultural schools, often involve classes across a range of departments, including agriculture, biology, chemistry, economics, and physiology. Completing the coursework usually takes from four to twelve years. Many companies will pay agronomists-in-training's college expenses if they agree to work for them when they graduate.

See also

References

  1. "I'm An Agronomist!". Imanagronomist.net. Retrieved 2013-05-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Georgetown International Environmental Law Review". Findarticles.com. Retrieved 2013-05-02.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Lua error in Module:Citation/CS1/Identifiers at line 47: attempt to index field 'wikibase' (a nil value).
  4. "Iowa State University: Undergraduate Program - Agroecology". Archived from the original on 7 October 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

Bibliography

External links

la:Agronomia