Agricultural Scientist

South African agriculture produces a wide range of crops and livestock that meet our daily material needs and wants. It is essential that we manage this sector and its socio-economic benefits through responsible and sustainable resource use. Agricultural science explores the most sustainable and efficient agricultural practices to ensure maximum production and profitability.

Agricultural scientists research and explore large and small-scale commercial and subsistent crop and livestock agricultural practices and production. They study genetics, reproduction and development of livestock and crops to improve production economic returns. With the evident impact of climate change, they are increasingly concerned with building crop and livestock resilience and to find the best use of land and other natural resources, especially water in water scarce South Africa.

Agricultural scientists work with a range of laboratory processes, equipment and chemicals and can work with various agricultural stakeholders. They often move between farm fields, greenhouses, laboratories and offices.

Skills

Agricultural scientists need to have an in-depth knowledge of plants, animals, land use and natural resource management, as well as trends and patterns in agricultural production. Additional key skills include: 

  • Excellent research ability
  • Analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Creativity and innovative thinking 
  • Ability to write good communicative reports, explaining complex ideas

Tasks

Research the impacts of diverse factors on animal and crop production

Develop procedures and techniques to address challenges and improve production

Study environmental factors affecting crop production, pasture growth, animal breeding and the growth and health of plants

Advise on techniques used to improve production of crops and livestock

Studies

B.Sc., B.Sc. (Hons), M.Sc. in Agriculture at NWU, SU, UFS, UFH, UKZN, UL, UMP, UNISA, Univen, Unizulu and UP

Diploma, Advanced Diploma, M.Tech in Agriculture at CPUT, MUT, TUT and UMP

Employers

National, provincial and local government.

NGOs, community-based and development organisations and private consultancies.

Research institutions.

Various organisations along the agriculture value chain including specific agricultural sector associations.

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