Agricultural science

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Agricultural science is a broad multidisciplinary field 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 and agricultural science

The two 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 agriculture.

Agricultural sciences include research and development on:

  • 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)
  • Transformation of primary products into end-consumer products (e.g., production, preservation, and packaging of dairy products)
  • Prevention and correction of adverse

Agricultural science: a local science

With the exception of theoretical agronomy, research in agronomy, more than in any other field, is strongly related to local areas. It can be considered a science of ecoregions, because it is closely linked to soil properties and climate, which are never exactly the same from one place to another. Many people think an agricultural production system relying on local weather, soil characteristics, and specific crops has to be studied locally. Others feel a need to know and understand production systems in as many areas as possible, and the human dimension of interaction with nature.

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