In Summary - Agricultural Technician
The Work - Agricultural Technician
Agricultural technicians repair and maintain machinery, equipment and buildings for the agricultural, horticultural, forestry and landscape industries.
They work with a range of machinery, from tractors and harvesters to equipment for tree felling, extracting and processing timber, or fixed equipment such as grain stores, forage silos, greenhouses, and automatic feeding and milking installations.
In the agricultural manufacturing industry, agricultural engineering technicians help to design, develop and produce equipment. Where they work in a project team, they are usually led by an agricultural engineer. They prepare plans and designs, help with field trials to test new products, make modifications and repairs and record results.
Technicians write technical manuals for operating and servicing the equipment and installations, and work in technical sales and servicing.
Agricultural technicians may work for local machinery dealers. They supply farmers, local authorities and domestic customers with suitable machinery, as well as advice and after-sales service. In service departments, technicians repair and maintain a wide range of machinery. In stores Departments turn, order, control and Distribute spare parts.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Receive and prepare laboratory samples for analysis, following proper protocols to ensure that they will be stored, prepared, and disposed of efficiently and effectively.
- Record data pertaining to experimentation, research, or animal care.
- Plant seeds in specified areas, and count the resulting plants to determine the percentage of seeds that germinated.
- Collect samples from crops or animals so testing can be performed.
- Measure or weigh ingredients used in testing or for purposes such as animal feed.
- Prepare data summaries, reports, or analyses that include results, charts, or graphs to document research findings and results.
- Set up laboratory or field equipment, and prepare sites for testing.
- Operate laboratory equipment such as spectrometers, nitrogen determination apparatus, air samplers, centrifuges, and potential hydrogen (pH) meters to perform tests.
- Adjust testing equipment, and prepare culture media, following standard procedures.
- Examine animals and specimens to determine the presence of diseases or other problems.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- 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.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Interests - Agricultural Technician
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.
Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
You need to have technical ability and you must be good at solving problems. It is very important that you can diagnose faults and repair them quickly; you will need knowledge of mechanical and electrical systems, as well as hydraulics and electronics.
This is an area where technology is advancing quickly, so you must be willing to learn and develop new knowledge to keep up. Technicians need the ability to read and interpret technical drawings and plans, and to explain them to others.
You must be resourceful and able to act on your own initiative; you may have to repair machinery on a remote farm far away from your workshop.
You also need good communication skills, to explain and demonstrate to farmers how machinery works and to discuss faults and repairs.
Entry Requirements - Agricultural Technician
Courses are available to candidates who wish to enter this field at many of the Institutes of Technology and the Agricultural Colleges around the country. See the related CAO and PLC Course lists available on this page.
The agricultural machinery sector comprises of many small companies which are owner managed, and a number of larger companies who develop integrated equipment to meet the demands for bigger machines. A list of Agricultural Machinery companies from Enterprise Ireland is available here.
Last Updated: October, 2014
Pay & Salary - Agricultural Technician
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 20k - 40k
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 Technician
Useful Contacts - Agricultural Technician
Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Ballyhaise Agricultural College
Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine