People who are interested in studying farming, agriculture or livestock management may wonder what crop science is. The science of crops involves studying biological systems, soil, plants, biodiversity, climate, genetics, field management and more. Knowing what the science of crops is could help a person decide on whether or not they want to study this area of expertise for an undergraduate or graduate degree.
Technology and Crops
A growing part of the science of crops relates to technology. A crop scientist will need to be adept at the application of technology to what they do. For example, they may need to use laboratory equipment to cross-breed different types of plans or insert genes into a plant’s genome to confer resistance to a pathogen or pest causing problems for that crop. Technology also plays a role in developing plants that are hardier in more extreme environmental conditions.
Investigation of Crop and Environment Interactions
Crop scientists also engage in the investigation of crop and environment interactions. Examples of this include:
- Examining how longer growing seasons affect the longevity of fruit trees;
- Investigating how higher average temperatures affect turfgrass;
- Investigating or predicting how long-term weather changes related to precipitation, carbon dioxide and oxygen levels will affect livestock and crops;
- Examining how temperature or precipitation levels affect the yield of plants used for both human consumption and livestock feeding;
- Analyzing the nutritional content of food to see how it changes over time as a result of increased carbon dioxide levels, extreme precipitation events and higher average annual temperatures.
Development of Crops and Livestock Around the World
Crop scientists focus on livestock and plants around the world. Those who are employed by international companies or organizations may travel around the world to help people make the most of the resources that they have. They may also learn from different groups of international people who use a wider range of farming and crop techniques than are typically used in the United States. Crop science also includes understanding world agriculture systems and how food is harvested, stored and distributed for use by people or animals. Crop scientists may offer tips on how to prevent food infestations, spoilage and other types of loss to minimize waste within the agriculture systems.
Enhancement of Sustainable Farming Practices
According to the Crop Science Society of America the science crops also involves enhancing the sustainability of growing crops for human and animal consumption. As climate change continues and resources become more scarce and expensive, sustainable farming practices will become even more necessary. Crop scientists who have a special focus on sustainable practices may have more opportunities for gainful employment throughout the United States.
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A growing population and rapid environmental changes mean that crop scientists will play an increasingly important role in ensuring that people and animals are well-fed and healthy. Crop scientists will also work to ensure that pests and weeds are managed so that fields can be as productive as possible. Understanding crop science facilitates the path forward for a person’s career.