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.
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 many of the other science classes.
Other classes may include studying agricultural crops, forages or
pasture grasses or even turf grass management.
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 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 todayâ€™s agronomist.
Developing a Career as an 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 yields 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.