Overview of the College of Agronomy

Date:2019-07-06 hits:

  Being one of the oldest colleges in the Northwest A&F University (NWAFU), the College of Agronomy started undergraduate training in 1936, and  graduate programs in 1960.

  The College of Agronomy offers three undergraduate programs, in Agronomy, Plant Science and Technology, and Seed Science and Technology. The Crop Science graduate program offers PhD and postdoctoral training in Crop Genetics and Breeding, and Crop Cultivation and Farming System.

  The College of Agronomy has been focused on the national food security, regional and agricultural development in arid areas. Our Crop Science is an internationally leading program in grain production and dryland farming, crop genetics and breeding, and germplasm creation, particularly in breeding and production of wheat, maize, rapeseed, minor cereals and beans.

  Our wheat genetics and breeding program is particularly a world leader, in distant hybridization, chromosome engineering and breeding, male sterility and heterosis utilization. According to the statistics released by the Library Information Research Center of China Agricultural University, we led the number of top-10% JCR wheat research papers published in 2014-2015. Wheat breeding has been the national leader, and the released wheat variety Xinong 979 is currently one of three dominant varieties in China.

  Our dryland farming is highly ranked in the nation. We  have contributed significantly to the principle and practice of dryland farming, by our pioneered research on crop yield potential in rain-fed areas. Our developed technologies, notably the stable planting system in arid areas, autumn-mulching and spring-sowing in dryland, rainwater harvesting cultivation in dryland, have been widely used in northern China in recent years, leading to the development of technology-based modern dryland farming system and significant contribution to regional development. The long-term research and practice led to the development of a course module Dryland Farming and the establishment of Arid Agricultural Research Center.

  The Crop Science program consists of five research areas, crop genetic improvement and germplasm innovation, crop heterosis, crop molecular biology, efficient farming system and crop cultivation technology in arid areas, agricultural regional development and recycling agriculture.

  The college has 15 national, and ministerial or provincial research platforms/centers, including the State Key Laboratory of Crop Stress Biology for Arid Areas (co-founded), National Breeding & Agro- biotechnology Center Yangling Division, Yangling Branch of China Wheat Improvement Center, Yangling Branch of China Maize Improvement Center, Wheat Breeding Engineering Research Center in Ministry of Education, Key Laboratory of Crop Eco-physiology and Farming System in Northwest Loess Plateau (Ministry of Agriculture), Key Laboratory of Wheat Biology, Genetics and Breeding in Northwest Areas (Ministry of Agriculture), Key Laboratory of Maize Biology, Genetics and Breeding in Northwest Arid Areas (Ministry of Agriculture), Shaanxi Scientific Observation and Experiment Station for Crop Genetic Resources and Germplasm Innovation (Ministry of Agriculture), etc. The college hosts five university research platforms, one on-campus and 12 extramural bases for practice education, academic journals Acta Agriculturae Boreali-Occidentalis Sinica and Journal of Triticeae Crops, and the Shaanxi Society of Crop Sciences and Shaanxi Society of Genetics.

  We currently have 234 staff and faculty, 170 of them have some teaching duties, including 44 professors or equivalent, 71 associate professors or equivalent. Up to 111 staff and faculty hold a doctorate degree, 30 supervisors for doctoral students and 63 for master’s degree students. We have a number of faculty and staff being honored with prestigious national and provincial awards, including one faculty honored with  National Outstanding Youth Fund from National Natural Science Foundation of China, two faculty with Ministry of Education Changjiang Scholars Professorship, o two faculty with National Experts with Outstanding Contribution, one winner of Shaanxi Provincial Outstanding Teachers, two faculty with Shaanxi Provincial SanQin Scholars Professorship, four faculty with Ministry of Education New Century Excellent Talents Program, eight with Shaanxi Provincial Three-Five Talent Project, and four with Provincial or Ministerial Experts with Outstanding Contribution.

  The College of Agronomy currently hosts 1,260 students, including 730 undergraduate students, 375 master’s students, and 155 doctoral students. The college has trained 143,939 degree students, including ZHAO Hongzhang, renowned wheat breeder and academician of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, YU Shuxun, academician of the Chinese Academy of Engineering, SHENG Yuqing, founder of agricultural regionalization in China, LU Ming, former Vice Minister of Agriculture, ZHU Jingzhi, deputy director of the People's Congress of Shaanxi Province, WANG Hui, winner of the Highest Achievement Award in Science and Technology in Shaanxi Province, LI Lihui, a Outstanding Talent of Crop Science in the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences, LIANG Zengji, well-known dryland wheat breeder, XU Weigang, a National Outstanding Professional and Technical Personnel, and CHEN Yaoxiang, winner of the National May 1st Labor Medal, etc.

  The College of Agronomy has contributed significantly to national agricultural production and regional development. Among the most important six leading wheat varieties in in the main wheat belt for several decades, the college contributed four. In 1950s, the wheat variety Bima 1 developed by our faculty academician ZHAO Hongzhang made the record in the production acreage in China, up to 6 million hectare per year. In 1980’s, Xiaoyan -based series wheat varieties, developed by academician LI Zhensheng, were grown for accumulative acreage of 27 million hectares, which led to the prestigious prize of the National Technology Invention (first class). In 1990s, wheat variety Shaannong 7859, developed by Professor NIN Kun, led to the prestigious prize of the State Sci-technological Progress (first class). Professor LIN Jizhou, a pioneer in using single hybrids in maize breeding, led the maize production in Shaanxi by having developed over 20 maize hybrid varieties. Researcher Professor YU Qibao founded the disease nursery-based breeding strategy for cotton, which had an important impact on cotton breeding disease resistance. Our faculty and staff have also made significant progress in recent years in the field of hybrid wheat research, distant hybridization and chromosome engineering.

  We are active in integrating teaching, cutting-edge research, and regional agricultural production. One of our focuses is therefore the promotion of our released crop varieties and our developed agricultural technologies. A notable example is that the wheat variety Xinong 979, developed by Professor WANG Hui, has planted in Henan Province alone over 667 thousand hectares per year, being ranked one of the top three dominant wheat varieties in China.

  We will continue our successful experience in integrating teaching, cutting-edge research, agricultural production, and regional development. We are confident in developing a leading crop science program for agricultural production and regional development in arid areas, by enhancing cross-disciplinary research activities involving crop genetics, biotechnology, information technology, and agricultural engineering.

  (updated on August 6th , 2017)

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