Last updated February 19, 2021

Agronomy is the science of land management. Agronomy is where science meets the field. Agronomy is an inter-disciplinary science drawing on the biological, physical and social sciences. Typical sub disciplines often used by agronomists include plant breeding, soil science, entomology, plant pathology, weed science, food science, animal science, rural sociology and bio-systems engineering. Other important disciplines include anatomy, physiology, genetics, microbiology, and ecology. The agronomist uses all of these disciplines to manage land with the objective of maintaining or improving it while being a steward of the environment and producing a viable income for the land owner and community.

This website is a continuation of the notes I used while teaching the Grain Crops course in the University of Wisconsin Farm and Industry Short Course. The course was organized around the annual decision cycle that farmers use to manage land and how those decisions impact the life cycle of crop plants. It was a course about timeliness and the science behind various field operations.

Crop Management Decisions


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Production costs
Crop systems
Crop rotation
Hybrid selection
Seed treatments
Planting Season

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Planter adjustments

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Soil fertility
Harvest Season

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Evaluating Fields
Silage harvesting
HMC, HMEC, Snaplage
Dry Grain harvesting

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On-Farm Testing
Seed production

Developing a Career as an Agronomist

More than any other career choice, the agronomist position encompasses so many facets of science, plus a love of the environment and a desire to help people. This career option uses the evolving sciences and the latest technology to produce the food, fiber and fuel used by the world.

Science Is the Primary Tool of an Agronomist. In preparing to be an agronomist, a person studies plant and soil science, as well as entomology (the study of insects), plant pathology (the study of plant diseases), and weed science. Chemistry, biology and physics provide a foundation for these science classes. Other classes may include studying management of agricultural crops, forages, pastures, and turf-grass.

Agronomists combine all of their knowledge in these sciences to increase crop productivity and efficiency. They are also interpreters, taking the data and scientific findings from researchers and turning that research into improvements and information the farmer can use in their fields. Conservation of resources and producing food and fiber in a sustainable manner are important components for today's agronomist.

Agronomists are helping find solutions to some of the greatest problems in the world today. As the population grows and resources become scarcer, agronomists will be on the front lines of helping producers feed the world. Getting more yield on fewer acres with fewer inputs is the challenge facing an agronomist, and using new scientific data and technology changes is how the agronomist will meet this challenge.

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