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Title: Agronomy  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
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Subject: Model organism, Agriculture, Instituto Superior de Agronomia, Augustin Pyramus de Candolle, Agricultural science
Collection: Agronomy
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia


An agronomist measures and records corn growth and other processes.
Names agronomist
agricultural scientist
crop scientist
Occupation type
Activity sectors
agriculture, agronomy
Competencies technical knowledge, sense of analysis
Related jobs
see related disciplines

Agronomy - from 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. Agronomy 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 1
  • Biotechnology 2
  • Soil science 3
    • Soil conservation 3.1
  • Agroecology 4
  • Theoretical modeling 5
  • Agronomy schools 6
  • See also 7
  • References 8
  • Bibliography 9
  • External links 10

Plant breeding

An agronomist field sampling a trial plot of flax.

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.


Indiana National Guard's Agribusiness Development Team at the Beck Agricultural Center in West Lafayette, Indiana
An agronomist mapping a plant genome

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 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.


alternative food systems and the development of alternative cropping systems.

Theoretical modeling

Agronomy schools

Agronomy programs are offered at colleges, universities, and specialized agricultural schools. Agronomy programs often involve classes across a range of departments including agriculture, biology, chemistry, and physiology. They can usually take from four to twelve years. Many companies will pay an agronomist-in-training's way through college if they agree to work for them when they graduate.

See also


  1. ^ "I'm An Agronomist!". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  2. ^ "Georgetown International Environmental Law Review". Retrieved 2013-05-02. 
  3. ^ Hoeft, Robert G. (2000). Modern Corn and Soybean Production. MCSP Publications. pp. 107 to 171.  
  4. ^ "Iowa State University: Undergraduate Program - Agroecology". Archived from the original on 7 October 2008. 


  • Wendy B. Murphy, The Future World of Agriculture, Watts, 1984.
  • Antonio Saltini, Storia delle scienze agrarie, 4 vols, Bologna 1984-89, ISBN 88-206-2412-5, ISBN 88-206-2413-3, ISBN 88-206-2414-1, ISBN 88-206-2415-X

External links

  • The American Society of Agronomy (ASA)
  • Crop Science Society of America (CSSA)
  • Soil Science Society of America (SSSA)
  • European Society for Agronomy
  • The National Agricultural Library (NAL) – Comprehensive agricultural library.
  • Information System for Agriculture and Food Research
  • Agronomy | News | Tips | Recommendations | pests and diseases in agriculture
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