Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field of biology that encompasses the parts of exact, natural, economic and social sciences that are used in the practice and understanding of agriculture. (Veterinary science, but not animal science, is often excluded from the definition.)
Agriculture, agricultural science, and agronomy
The three terms are often confused. However, they cover different concepts:
- Agriculture is the set of activities that transform the environment for the production of animals and plants for human use. Agriculture concerns techniques, including the application of agronomic research.
- Agronomy is research and development related to studying and improving plant-based crops.
- Plant breeding and genetics
- Plant pathology
- Soil science
- Production techniques (e.g., irrigation management, recommended nitrogen inputs)
- Improving agricultural productivity in terms of quantity and quality (e.g., selection of drought-resistant crops and animals, development of new pesticides, yield-sensing technologies, simulation models of crop growth, in-vitro cell culture techniques)
- Minimizing the effects of pests (weeds, insects, pathogens, nematodes) on crop or animal production systems.
- Transformation of primary products into end-consumer products (e.g., production, preservation, and packaging of dairy products)
- Prevention and correction of adverse environmental effects (e.g., soil degradation, waste management, bioremediation)
- Theoretical production ecology, relating to crop production modeling
- Traditional agricultural systems, sometimes termed subsistence agriculture, which feed most of the poorest people in the world. These systems are of interest as they sometimes retain a level of integration with natural ecological systems greater than that of industrial agriculture, which may be more sustainable than some modern agricultural systems.
- Food production and demand on a global basis, with special attention paid to the major producers, such as China, India, Brazil, the US and the EU.
- Various sciences relating to agricultural resources and the environment (e.g. soil science, agroclimatology); biology of agricultural crops and animals (e.g. crop science, animal science and their included sciences, e.g. ruminant nutrition, farm animal welfare); such fields as agricultural economics and rural sociology; various disciplines encompassed in agricultural engineering.
Agricultural biotechnology is a specific area of agricultural science involving the use of scientific tools and techniques, including genetic engineering, molecular markers, molecular diagnostics, vaccines, and tissue culture, to modify living organisms: plants, animals, and microorganisms.
One of the most common yield reducers is because of fertilizer not being applied in slightly higher quantities during transition period, the time it takes the soil to rebuild its aggregates and organic matter. Yields will decrease temporarily because of nitrogen being immobilized in the crop residue, which can take a few months to several years to decompose, depending on the crop's C to N ratio and the local environment.
In the United States, a scientific revolution in agriculture began with the Hatch Act of 1887, which used the term "agricultural science". The Hatch Act was driven by farmers' interest in knowing the constituents of early artificial fertilizer. The Smith-Hughes Act of 1917 shifted agricultural education back to its vocational roots, but the scientific foundation had been built. After 1906, public expenditures on agricultural research in the US exceeded private expenditures for the next 44 years.:xxi
Prominent agricultural scientists
- Robert Bakewell
- Norman Borlaug
- Luther Burbank
- George Washington Carver
- Carl Henry Clerk
- George C. Clerk
- René Dumont
- Sir Albert Howard
- Kailas Nath Kaul
- Justus von Liebig
- Jay Lush
- Gregor Mendel
- Louis Pasteur
- M. S. Swaminathan
- Jethro Tull
- Artturi Ilmari Virtanen
- Eli Whitney
- Sewall Wright
- Wilbur Olin Atwater
Fields or related disciplines
- Agricultural Research Council
- Agricultural sciences basic topics
- Agriculture ministry
- American Society of Agronomy
- Genomics of domestication
- History of agricultural science
- Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences
- International Assessment of Agricultural Science and Technology for Development
- International Food Policy Research Institute, IFPRI
- List of agriculture topics
- National FFA Organization
- Research Institute of Crop Production (RICP) (in the Czech Republic)
- University of Agricultural Sciences
- Agricultural Research, Livelihoods, and Poverty: Studies of Economic and Social Impacts in Six Countries Edited by Michelle Adato and Ruth Meinzen-Dick (2007), Johns Hopkins University Press Food Policy Report
- Claude Bourguignon, Regenerating the Soil: From Agronomy to Agrology, Other India Press, 2005
- Pimentel David, Pimentel Marcia, Computer les kilocalories, Cérès, n. 59, sept-oct. 1977
- Russell E. Walter, Soil conditions and plant growth, Longman group, London, New York 1973
- Salamini, Francesco; Özkan, Hakan; Brandolini, Andrea; Schäfer-Pregl, Ralf; Martin, William (2002). "Genetics and geography of wild cereal domestication in the near east". Nature Reviews Genetics. 3 (6): 429–441. doi:10.1038/nrg817. PMID 12042770.
- Saltini Antonio, Storia delle scienze agrarie, 4 vols, Bologna 1984-89, ISBN 88-206-2412-5, ISBN 88-206-2413-3, ISBN 88-206-2414-1, ISBN 88-206-2415-X
- Vavilov Nicolai I. (Starr Chester K. editor), The Origin, Variation, Immunity and Breeding of Cultivated Plants. Selected Writings, in Chronica botanica, 13: 1-6, Waltham, Mass., 1949–50
- Vavilov Nicolai I., World Resources of Cereals, Leguminous Seed Crops and Flax, Academy of Sciences of Urss, National Science Foundation, Washington, Israel Program for Scientific Translations, Jerusalem 1960
- Winogradsky Serge, Microbiologie du sol. Problèmes et methodes. Cinquante ans de recherches, Masson & c.ie, Paris 1949
- Bosso, Thelma (2015). Agricultural Science. Callisto Reference. ISBN 978-1-63239-058-5.
- Boucher, Jude (2018). Agricultural Science and Management. Callisto Reference. ISBN 978-1-63239-965-6.
- "What is Agricultural Biotechnology?" (PDF). Cornell University. Archived (PDF) from the original on 26 February 2015. Retrieved 3 February 2015.
- John Armstrong, Jesse Buel. A Treatise on Agriculture, The Present Condition of the Art Abroad and at Home, and the Theory and Practice of Husbandry. To which is Added, a Dissertation on the Kitchen and Garden. 1840. p. 45.
- "The Long Term Experiments". Rothamsted Research. Archived from the original on 27 March 2018. Retrieved 26 March 2018.
- Hillison J. (1996). The Origins of Agriscience: Or Where Did All That Scientific Agriculture Come From? Archived 2 October 2008 at the Wayback Machine. Journal of Agricultural Education.
- Huffman WE, Evenson RE. (2006). Science for Agriculture. Blackwell Publishing.
- Agricultural research, livelihoods, and poverty | International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) Archived 26 June 2010 at the Wayback Machine
- Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR)
- Agricultural Research Service
- Indian Council of Agricultural Research
- International Institute of Tropical Agriculture
- International Livestock Research Institute
- The National Agricultural Library (NAL) - The most comprehensive agricultural library in the world.
- Crop Science Society of America
- American Society of Agronomy
- Soil Science Society of America
- Agricultural Science Researchers, Jobs and Discussions
- Information System for Agriculture and Food Research
- South Dakota Agricultural Laboratories
- NMSU Department of Entomology Plant Pathology and Weed Science