Agronomy, a branch of agricultural science is a practice that looks at agriculture from an integrated, holistic perspective. It is the application of science and technology to agriculture to boost the quality and yield of crops, and to solve problems with pests, weeds, waste and resource management. Everyday every one is affected by agronomy. The food we eat, clothes we wear, gases we use are all influenced by the field. Agronomy encompasses work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science.
Agronomists or plant scientists specialize in producing and improving food crops while managing weeds and pests. They develop innovative farm practices and technologies that not only improve crop yields but also control pests and weeds and protect the environment. Their work may involve managing crop planting and harvesting, and implementing more efficient farming practices. Agronomists have to work on labs and on farms regularly for checking soil samples and inventing better pesticides. They educate the farmers about crop rotation and growing hybrid crops, recommend usage of appropriate chemicals and fertilizers. Agronomists can specialize in areas such as crop rotation, irrigation and drainage, plant breeding, plant physiology, soil classification, soil fertility, weed control, and insect and pest control.
Talking about the personal attributes an agronomist must possess, they must have a agricultural background and sound knowledge in crop production. Apart from this, they should have excellent analytical skills to conduct research and invent new things. They must have administrative skills, critical thinking, communicative skills, patience, the ability to work in team and above all, a favorable attitude towards working in the field at different locations. If we take the case of educational background, an Agronomists should have a strong basic sciences and mathematics skill. They should also have studied genetics, biochemistry, plant physiology, entomology, soil fertility and other disciplines relevant to crops. Professional agronomists may have bachelor's degrees, master's degrees or Ph.D in Agronomy. Minimum requirement for an agronomist is a bachelor's degree in agricultural science, agronomy, or a related topic.
From the above mentioned facts about an agronomist it is clear that, to be an agronomist, one should have an interest in science and environmental issues. A bachelor's degree is necessary to obtain a rewarding and productive job. For plus two, you should select groups with subjects like agriculture, biology, chemistry, mathematics, physics, and statistics courses, as well as broad-based general education courses, including English and communication.
This is a promising career field as the demand for food crops and agriculture yield will never decline as long as life exists. Agronomists are generally employed in almost all sectors i.e in research, production, consulting, management, business, education, government, development, and international assistance. The work positions they are employed range from district sales manager for seed companies, crop consultants for independent and large companies, commodity traders, soil scientists, environmental consultants, fertilizer and chemical salespersons, grain elevator managers, precision agriculture specialists, agriculture loan officers, production specialists, researchers and large farm managers.
Agronomists with Ph.D can pursue teaching career in colleges or universities. Yet another group can conduct their own research, publishing important findings in journals and presenting them at conferences. Agronomists also heads the research and development section of agricultural organizations. Their work involves conducting field trials on crops, generate agronomic data on traits in the prescribed formats, collecting samples for research, monitor safe work practice etc.
In the government sector they can find employment in Natural Resources Conservation Service, Department of Land Affairs, Farm Services Agency, Bureau of Land Management and the Cooperative Extension Service. Those who prefer managerial jobs can get employed in recreational areas, such as golf courses, sports fields and turf grass management. Many agronomists are employed by seed companies, lawn care companies. Some are employed by farm co-ops and even agricultural banks.
Pay scale: Pay scale in this field various with the employer, qualification and the position of the agronomists. A beginner in the field can expect salary range between Rs. 7,000 to Rs. 10,000. Those with 2 to 3 years of experience can get Rs. 10,000- Rs. 20,000 based on experience.