NCSU's College Day

Agronomy Department Recruitment Flyer

The introduction

I work for NCSU's agronomy department and I would like to discuss the issues of our world. But first I will discuss agronomy. Agronomy is the science and technology of producing and using plants for food, fuel, fiber, and land reclamation. Agronomy has come to encompass work in the areas of plant genetics, plant physiology, meteorology, and soil science. It is the application of a combination of sciences like biology, chemistry, economics, ecology, earth science, and genetics. Agronomists of today are involved with many issues, including producing food, creating healthier food, managing the environmental impact of agriculture, and extracting energy from plants.

Weathering Agents (Chemical vs. Mechanical)?

Chemical and mechanical weathering are both natural processes that will break down rocks. Their purpose may be the same but their processes are different. Chemical weathering demands chemical reactions with minerals inside the rock and causes changes in rock composition. Sometimes this process will produce a different kind of product due to the reaction. Mechanical weathering only involves the physical breakage of rocks to smaller pieces of fragments. Without changing the physical composition of the rocks, mechanical weathering disintegrates rocks with nature’s own physical pressures.Climate is very important in the weathering process. Cold temperatures favor mechanical weathering while warm temperatures support chemical weathering. And once weathering is complete, residual materials will be eroded and transported by either wind or water.

Soil Facts

Rate of Soil Formation

Soil forms layers or horizons, roughly parallel to the earth’s surface, in response to five soil forming factors. The whole soil, from the surface to its lowest depths, develops naturally as a result of these five factors. The five factors are: 1) parent material, 2) relief or topography, 3) organisms (including humans), 4) climate, and 5) time. If a single parent material is exposed to different climates then a different soil individual will form. If any one of the five factors is changed but the remaining four factors remain the same, a new soil will form. This process is called “soil genesis”.
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Remote Sensing

Remote sensing is the acquisition of information about an object or phenomenon without making physical contact with the object and thus in contrast to on site observation. Remote sensing is a sub-field of geography. In modern usage, the term generally refers to the use of aerial sensor technologies to detect and classify objects on Earth (both on the surface, and in the atmosphere and oceans) by means of propagated signals (e.g. electromagnetic radiation). It may be split into active remote sensing (when a signal is first emitted from aircraft or satellites)or passive (e.g. sunlight) when information is merely recorded.
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Importance of soil

The properties of soil that affect plant growth include texture, aeration , porosity, water holding capacity and aggregate size.A vital function of soil is storing and supplying minerals and nutrients essential for plant life. This is referred to as soil fertility. The proportions of clay and organic matter found in soil influence its fertility.As a regulator and collector of water, soil absorbs and stores moisture for plants and organisms to use. It also shelters plants against extreme temperatures and protects roots from direct sunlight. Moreover, living organisms of various sizes thrive in soil. There are microorganisms and insects in soil that improve it, allowing plants to grow better. These tiny microorganisms, such as fungi and bacteria, decompose the soil and transform old, dead materials into raw materials that plants need for growth.The quality of soil is important for the health of plants and the humans and animals that consume plants.

Common misuses of soil and the negative consequences?

As farm tractors and field equipment become larger and heavier, there is a growing concern about soil compaction. Soil compaction can be associated with a majority of field operations that are often performed when soils are wet and more susceptible to compaction. Heavy equipment and tillage implements can cause damage to the soil structure. Soil structure is important because it determines the ability of a soil to hold and conduct water, nutrients, and air necessary for plant root activity. Although much research has been conducted on soil compaction and its effects on yield, it is difficult to estimate an economic impact because fields vary in soil types, crop rotations, and weather conditions.

Soil stewardship and advances in this field of agronomy