We all know how important farmers are in agriculture. But what about agronomists?
This agricultural role is central to improving the industry, in many different ways.
In this article, you’ll learn what agronomy is and what an agronomist does for agriculture.
Agronomy is the use of science and technology to improve and manage agricultural practices.
It uses research and technology from a variety of scientific fields.
To name a few, agronomy involves biology, chemistry, economics and genetics.
Agronomy is different from horticulture and other plant sciences, because it focuses specifically on agricultural crops.
This refers to crops that are farmed at a large scale globally.
Wheat, rice, corn, soybeans, alfalfa, beans, sugar beets, canola and cotton are among the most common crops studied by agronomists.
An agronomist is somebody who studies and practices agronomy.
Agronomists look at agriculture from a holistic perspective.
This means an agronomist looks at a range of factors, that influence crop production to make decisions about food production.
For example, climate, weeds, insects, and soil erosion threaten the success of many farms.
Agronomists study factors that are related to these threats to find new solutions.
Some of these factors include: humidity, adaptation, water, crop genetics, soil properties, nutrients, how the crops grow and pest control.
These solutions allow farmers to grow crops easier.
That’s an agronomist’s main goal.
An agronomist works to figure out how to grow crops effectively and profitably while saving natural resources and protecting the environment.
As a result, agronomists are the forefront of agricultural innovation.
Many focus on scientific research to find new ways to boost yields, profits, and sustainability.
This research is often specific to a certain region or crop.
But agronomists also work as educators and advisers for farmers, companies and others in the agriculture industry.
As a result, farmers are able to make more informed decisions to maximize the success of their harvests.
Ever-improving technology allows farmers to use less labor and achieve better production.
But not all farmers can keep up with these advances.
As a consultant, an agronomist helps farmers learn how to use new strategies and technology on their farm.
An agronomist can also help farmers who are in unfamiliar climates, learn how to best care for plants in that new environment.
Agronomists also help farmers know how to balance their farm with the natural environment around it.
For example, they might come up with new ways to control pests without using toxic chemicals.
Agronomists are motivated by increasing problems of food insecurity, soil loss and erosion, and malnutrition.
Agronomy doesn’t apply only to food crops though.
Feed and fiber crops are also central to agronomy research.
Feed crops are grains and other vegetables that are grown for animal consumption.
The distinction is important because corn for cattle is a lot different than the corn for humans.
Additionally, crops like cotton are considered fiber crops because they’re mostly used for making cloth, paper, or rope.
As you can see, agronomy is involved with every part of plant agriculture.
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