In Summary - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
Agricultural Scientist / Agronomists typically work in the following Career Sectors:
Videos on the Web
- Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist- from: Youtube Search
The Work - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
Agricultural scientists conduct research towards developing new or improved methods of planting, harvesting and cultivating crops, and to develop better ways of housing, feeding and caring for livestock.
Research teams may include scientists from a wide range of subjects, including agriculture, biological sciences, chemistry and biochemistry, with technical support from specialists in biometrics, computing and statistics.
Programmes of research fall into four broad categories: soils; plants; animals; and farm produce. Soil science involves studying the physical, chemical and biological aspects of soils that affect the nutrition, growth and production of crops. Chemists, biochemists and microbiologists analyse the properties of soil and the relationship between the soil and plants, to improve levels of fertility.
Plant research relates to ecology and patterns of growth and is aimed at improving the technology of plant breeding and producing improved varieties of agricultural crop plants for eventual use by farmers. Botanists, plant physiologists and biophysicists may be involved in this.
Scientists also investigate ways of controlling pests that attack plants, at minimum risk to the consumer or the environment. This includes specialisms such as Entomology (insects), mycology (fungi) and virology (viruses).
Research programmes on animals involve the genetics of breeding livestock, ways of controlling diseases and methods of limiting damage by predators. Animal physiologists, geneticists, bacteriologists and pathologists may specialise in this type of work.
Farm produce research aims to improve the way that cereals, fruit, vegetables, meat, milk and eggs are handled and preserved.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
- Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
- Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.
- Study soil characteristics to classify soils on the basis of factors such as geographic location, landscape position, or soil properties.
- Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.
- Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.
- Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.
- Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.
- Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products.
- Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interests - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Creative people are drawn to careers and activities that enable them to take responsibility for the design, layout or sensory impact of something (visual, auditory etc). They may be atrracted to the traditional artistic pursuits such as painting, sculpture, singing, or music. Or they may show more interest in design activities, such as architecture, animation, or craft areas, such as pottery and ceramics.
Creative people use their personal understanding of people and the world they live in to guide their work. Creative people like to work in unstructured workplaces, enjoy taking risks and prefer a minimum of routine.
A good knowledge and training in subject areas such as ecology, biology, chemistry, environmental science, soil science and botany or related disciplines. Agricultural research scientists need perseverance and patience when conducting experiments and waiting for the results. Management skills are also required when leading and supervising projects. Good organisational skills are helpful as you will be dealing with lots of figures and complex information. Communications skills are very important in order to explain scientific matters to people from non-scientific backgrounds.
Entry Requirements - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
In Ireland, to become an Agricultural Research Scientist it is necessary to study for a degree in Agricultural Science or a related discipline. a Bachelor's (BA) degree. It is advisable to attend a university with a land grant and obtain a degree such as food science, biology, chemistry, botany, or plant conservation. Research and lab work is important for this job role.
Under-graduate and post-graduate courses are available in a number of educational institutions. Candidates are advised to check individual course details as to entry requirements and course contents.
Teagasc also offer relevant courses.
Pay & Salary - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 60k
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
Useful Contacts - Agricultural Scientist / Agronomist
Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Public Appointments Service
College of Amenity Horticulture
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine
Pallaskenry Agricultural College
Agricultural Science Association