Agronomist

Research and Development

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Nature or RecreationScientific or AnalyticSkill Level 5

Agronomy is defined as the science of cultivating and utilizing plants for various uses, including sustenance, fuel, and fabrics.

Agronomists study the numerous ways plants can be cultivated, genetically altered, and utilized to our advantage. Agronomists can specialize in a number of different fields, but most focus on increasing the Future Growth Strong quality and quantity of plants produced - particularly for food stores. Typically an Agronomist will spend their workdays performing experiments on plants to improve their durability, longevity, and crop yield. The idea is to provide the most lush, disease-free crops as possible. (Source: Environmental Science)

Agronomy jobs have created a multi-disciplinary field that is focused on using plants for food, fuel, fibre, and land reclamation. Agronomists' careers start in the fields of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science.

Knowledge, skills and attributes

  • Able to analyse and solve problems
  • Enjoy agriculture and the environment
  • Able to make accurate observations
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Good organisational skills
  • Enjoy working outdoors (Source: MyFuture)

Duties and Tasks


While jobs do vary, most agronomist careers have the following tasks:

helping with cotton crop

  • Review research and literature relating to current discoveries in the field

  • Communicate with the research community to learn of the latest agricultural methods

  • Consult with farmers on cropping practices to increase their economic return

  • Consult with farmers and regulators on practices that will protect environmental sustainability

  • Assess new crop cultivars against a rubric for their economic and practical potential and limitations

  • Encourage farming techniques on the best management principles

  • Collect field and control portions of biological samples and non-living media samples in order to perform analyses

  • Monitor the effects of soil characteristics, water levels, and water drainage on plant growth

  • Engage in responsive crop management practices to enhance production

  • Advocate for soil testing and plant analysis to determine crop nutrient needs

  • Create and deploy fertilizer programs to meet the needs of the crop and land

  • Participate in training activities

  • Prepare and conduct advisory information sessions and lectures for farmers and other relevant groups

  • Evaluate crop performance as affected by weather, pests, and management practices, and on occasion give evidence for insurance purposes  (Source: Environmental Science)

Senior agronomists often have a broader experience base and therefore are a natural fit for management tasks. Such responsibilities often include:

Soy consulting

  • Creating a positive and safe work environment

  • Developing project scopes, schedules, benchmarks and budgets

  • Navigating federal protocols, regulations, and best practices on behalf of the project

  • Overseeing the testing and calibrating equipment and instruments

  • Overseeing recordkeeping

  • Creating business proposals for funding purposes

  • Ensuring quality assurance, organization, and appropriate tracking of field data

  • Engaging in tasks like report preparation and submittal and peer review

  • Liaising with site stakeholders

  • Supervising fieldwork (survey, site recording, testing, monitoring, and data integrity) of multiple field crews

  • Communicate with internal and external stakeholders through field status reports and presentation of team findings

  • Researching new technology and new advancements in agriculture

  • Participating on committees for policy and regulatory development

  • Participating on committees for research and educational program development  
    (Source:
    Environmental Science)



Working conditions

Agronomists may work in a variety of different environments depending on the exact nature of their job. They may observe plant life in the field - either in farms or greenhouses - or perform experiments in agricultural labs. Sometimes the work may involve traveling to farms or food processing mills, possibly exposing themselves to outdoor hazards and heavy machinery.

Most Agronomists will work for a private institution, though there are also government positions available. Typically, Agronomists work a standard full time schedule.  (Source: Environmental Science)

Education and training/entrance requirements

A four-year degree in agronomy is often the required education for those interested in pursuing this career.

Did You Know? 

Over the past 50 years, global food production has trebled, largely as a result of advances in agronomy. In spite of this, if the world is to adequately feed its growing population, food production needs to be trebled yet again over the next 50 years! Today, food and energy shortages loom large across the world.

UNE
(Source: UNE)


Agronomy is the applied aspects of both soil and plant sciences dealing with field crops and pastures. It is therefore, directly responsible for the production of most food and fibre consumed and utilised by people and livestock, and thus, is fundamental to productive and sustainable agriculture and livestock production. Agronomy includes aspects such as plant breeding, crop and pasture establishment and persistence, plant nutrition, plant protection (weed, insect and disease ecology and management), and farm design. At the University of New England, agronomy is linked closely to studies of soil chemistry, soil physics, soil biology and soil water use.

There are some formidable challenges for the agronomist in meeting the future demands for food security without significant environmental costs. Climate change, pesticide resistance and water supply are obvious challenges, but the rising cost of fertiliser, fuel and the potential competition for carbon between food, biofuels and soil health are likely to intensify. There is a great need for energy and water efficient agricultural systems. Research and training in agronomy will be essential in providing innovative solutions to these challenges.


 

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