Agricultural and horticultural scientists research many different areas related to the production of food and other products from farms and orchards.
Their work may involve a mixture of field trials, laboratory work and data analysis in one of a wide range of different research areas, such as:
- Using genetic analysis to select better breeds of sheep, cattle and other farm animals
- Studying how to minimise the environmental impact of farming
- Developing more pest-resistant varieties of crop plants
- Looking at ways to minimise the release of greenhouse gases such as methane
- Developing vaccines and medicines to improve animal health and productivity
Employers of agricultural and horticultural scientists include:
- Crown Research Institutes such as Plant & Food Research and AgResearch.
- Companies such as Dairy NZ, the Livestock Improvement Corporation, Fonterra and Zespri
- Fertiliser manufacturers
- Agricultural consulting companies
Agricultural and horticultural scientists are in demand in some specialist areas, such as plant and animal genetics, soil science, water quality and farming systems.
Agricultural and horticultural scientists earn:
- $40-70,000 depending on qualifications and experience
- Research team leaders with a PhD and many years’ experience can earn $100,000 or more
Key tertiary qualifications include:
- Bachelor of Science or Applied Science in Agricultural Science, Animal Science, Biochemistry, Horticultural Science, Microbiology, Molecular Biology, Plant Science
- A Master’s degree or PhD is generally required for work in a research role
Recommended school subjects:
- Maths, especially Statistics & Modelling
- Agricultural or Horticultural Science
Careers New Zealand: Agricultural/Horticultural Scientist
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