Agribusiness, Horticulture & Fishing
Agricultural scientists work to ensure that agricultural establishments are productive and food is safe.
What does an Agricultural Scientist do?
Agricultural scientists (also known as food scientists) work to ensure that agricultural establishments are productive and food is safe.
As an agricultural scientist, you would:
- communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops
- conduct experiments to improve existing or create new varieties of crops, looking at aspects including increased yield, nutritional value, hardiness and disease resistance, or adaptation to specific types of soil
- develop new practices or products for minimising or eliminating pests, insect damage, weeds or disease
- advise farmers or landowners regarding land use, environmental impact or crop diversification
- develop environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests
- investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.
- An agricultural scientist who specialises in agricultural practices is called an agronomist. Soil scientists study the biology, chemistry, physics and hydrology of soil systems.
- Agricultural entomologists work in the areas of integrated pest management, biological control and chemical processes.
- A horticultural scientist applies scientific knowledge to the cultivation and propagation of plants such as fruit, vegetables, berries, flowers, trees, shrubs and crops.
Key skills and interests
To become an agricultural scientist, you would need:
- be able to think through and solve problems
- have an interest in science, natural resources and the environment
- be able to make accurate observations
- be a strong communicator
- be organised, with supervisory ability
- enjoy being part of a team.
Working hours and conditions
Most agricultural and food scientists work full time.
Most agricultural scientists work in research universities, private industry, or the federal government. They work in offices and laboratories, and may sometimes work in food production facilities.
How to become an Agricultural Scientist?
Entry Level Education
To become an agricultural scientist you generally need a degree in agricultural science, or a science degree with a major in agriculture-related studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your senior secondary school certificate or equivalent. English, biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics would be appropriate subjects to study prior to university.
Graduates of agricultural science or a related discipline may apply to become members of Ag Institute Australia.
Employment of agricultural and food scientists is projected to grow about as fast as the average for all occupations.
Job growth for agricultural and food scientists is expected to be driven by the demand for new food products and food safety measures. They will also continue research efforts that maintain and increase crop and herd health and productivity. Most growth for agricultural and food scientists will be in private industry.