Agricultural/Horticultural Scientist Kaipūtaiao Ahuwhenua

Agricultural/horticultural scientists study farm animals, soils, pastures and crops to improve growth, health and quality, and to prevent pests and disease.

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Agricultural/horticultural scientists may do some or all of the following:

  • research and advise on animal or plant diseases, pest control, and chemical use
  • develop better methods of managing farms and orchards
  • study the effects of agriculture and horticulture on the environment 
  • oversee new projects and field research
  • research and write reports based on field study, and present results
  • share research findings with other scientists, companies and government agencies
  • write applications for research funding and manage budgets
  • train and supervise lab technicians, research teams and field workers
  • make sure all scientific work meets legal requirements.

Physical Requirements

Agricultural/horticultural scientists need to be reasonably fit as they lift and carry equipment during fieldwork.

They also need to have good eyesight (with or without corrective lenses) for laboratory work.



Useful Experience

Useful experience for agricultural/horticultural scientists includes:

  • experience in a laboratory
  • academic, scientific, or industry research
  • any work in science or agriculture.

Personal Qualities

Agricultural/horticultural scientists need to be:

  • accurate
  • observant
  • organised
  • decisive
  • good at solving problems
  • good at communicating
  • practical
  • able to work well alone and in a team.

Useful Experience

Useful experience for agricultural/horticultural scientists includes:

  • experience in a laboratory
  • academic, scientific, or industry research
  • any work in science or agriculture.

Subject Recommendations

A tertiary entrance qualification is required to enter further training.

Useful subjects include maths (especially statistics), chemistry, biology, and agricultural and horticultural science. 

Agricultural/Horticultural Scientists can earn around $65K-$75K per year per year.

Agricultural/horticultural scientists in research positions usually:

  • apply for a postdoctoral fellowship after completing a Doctorate
  • complete two or three postdoctoral fellowships (usually lasting two or three years each), before getting a permanent scientist position
  • progress into senior research scientist, team leader, or managerial roles after they have about 15 years of experience.

Agricultural/horticultural scientists can specialise in a number of roles, including:

Agricultural Biotechnologist
Agricultural biotechnologists use techniques, such as genetic engineering, to improve the quality and diversity of plant and animal products.
Agricultural Entomologist
Agricultural entomologists investigate the causes of insect outbreaks, and research ways to control them through biological pest management and chemical processes.
Agricultural Microbiologist
Agricultural microbiologists identify and control plant and animal disease. They often work in specialised areas such as food technology or environmental management.
Agronomists advise farmers and growers on best agricultural practice, including how to increase crop yield and farming profits.
Animal Scientist
Animal scientists research and study the genetics, nutrition, reproduction, growth, and development of domestic farm animals.
Crop Physiologist
Crop physiologists study plant growth and the effects of environmental conditions and chemicals on crops.
Environmental Scientist
Environmental scientists study the environment and how plants, animals and other living things are affected by it. They also study external influences, such as pollutants, and advise how to reduce their harmful effects.
Horticultural Scientist
Horticultural scientists study the growth and development of plants and crops, including vegetables and fruits.
Soil Scientist
Soil scientists study the physical, chemical, and biological characteristics of soils to work out the most effective planting methods.
Agricultural/Horticultural Scientist

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