If the role of crop science is to generate new knowledge for use by farmers, then changed cropping practices, contributing to economic, environmental and social benefits, are the key performance indicators of successful crop science implementation. Yet the practices of many farmers living in the developing world have not improved greatly over past decades and crop research funding is now lagging in many of these countries. Likewise, while traditional crop science in developed countries has served its industries well, new challenges and opportunities are necessitating new approaches to science delivery. Good science practice necessitates that crop scientists reflect on and continuously improve their research process to effect change in farming practices.
Plenary papers under this theme target the two key challenges for crop scientists: how to improve the practices of smallholder farmers in developing countries and how crop scientists can become leading agents for change. Symposia also address these challenges by exploring current thinking and practices for facilitating improved crop management, including an emphasis on research planning and evaluation, new information technologies and the complimentary roles of the private and public sectors.