Frontiers in Agronomy
Agronomy is the applied science of crop and plant production for food, fibre and energy. It is intrinsically multi-disciplinary – agronomists need to have knowledge of biology, chemistry, ecology, soil and earth sciences, pathology, weed science and genetics. In addition to understanding interrelationships among biotic and abiotic ecosystem components, agronomy focuses on ways to predict the responses of food producing systems by using models and other tools, such as statistical analysis, that had their birth within agronomy. Agronomy is both a science and an accredited profession and tries to improve the systems that humans use to produce food, feed, fuel, and fibre.
The case can be made that agronomists are inevitably broader in their thinking than breeders, soil scientists or pathologists in the sense that agronomists, either as scientists or practitioner, have to pull everything together for the farmer. The key spatial scale for an agronomist ranges from a square metre of crop to the field; agronomy’s hierarchical stretch goes from the individual plant organ via the individual plant to the plant population and, perhaps, plant community. The agronomic temporal scale ranges mainly from a day to a year and there is nothing so practical as a good idea – meaning that both theory and practice can game-change agronomy.