Agriculture in the twenty first century will involve not only crop protection but also significant advancement in three basic components of agronomy: irrigation, fertilization, and crop genetics. These factors must be balanced to optimize returns to the grower and have minimal long-term impact to the environment. For example, the irrigation practices in the Southwest must consider the current drought conditions. Drip irrigation, soil penetrants, drought tolerant genetics, anti-transpirants, and other emerging technologies are urgently needed if Western agriculture is to remain competitive and profitable. Similarly, fertilizers and concentrated plant nutrients must be developed and applied in a way that complies with regulatory requirements but still has maximum benefit to the crop. Through a variety of agronomic instrumentation, Pacific Ag scientists make discrete measurements of plant growth rates, nutritional status, turgor, chemical composition, and disease and insect tolerance. The genetics of a crop variety determine many of these agronomic characteristics. This includes drought tolerance, pest tolerance, nutrition, earliness, ease of harvest, and post-harvest management. Through these types of data, the agronomic program at Pacific Ag evaluates the overall plant health and identifies the best agricultural practices in this constantly changing environment.
Planting equipment at the Pacific Ag Research farm in the Guadalupe Valley
Crops at the Florida Ag Research site in Thonotosassa