Crop Scientist Job Description
A Crop Scientist is a person who applies scientific knowledge to develop better, more efficient methods of growing crops. A Crop Scientist is concerned with the management and improvement of crops which include all plant life forms that are cultivated to provide food, shelter, and clothing for man and his animals.
A crop scientist should be curious, innovative, methodical, analytical, practical, adaptable and persistent, and have the ability to handle and operate scientific equipment. They should be able to communicate effectively and work well independently and in a team.
Pursue a career in crop science if you have aptitude for science and interest in applying scientific knowledge to advance crop production and management.
What does a Crop Scientist do?
Crop scientists may do some or all of the following:
- conduct research to improve farming methods and develop new plant breeds
- develop crops that are resistant to pests, diseases and drought
- study the characteristics of yielding crops to understand how they grow on different soils
- control and prevent insect pests, weeds and diseases of crops
- identify and classify species of insects and allied forms, such as mites and spiders
- educate and advice farmers and farm workers on crop production related issues
- supervise crop production projects and manage the budgets
- write research reports and give presentations
- teach at colleges and universities
Where does a Crop Scientist work?
Places of work for crop scientists include:
- Agro-chemical companies
- Crop breeding companies
- Food control laboratories
- Food processing and distribution companies
- Research Facilities
- Biotechnological firms
- Government agencies
- Colleges and universities
- Agricultural banks
- Media houses
Crop scientists usually work normal office hours, but may sometimes work evenings and weekends to finish projects. They work in offices, laboratories, and on farms. They may travel to farming locations and work in all weather conditions.
What is Required to Become a Crop Scientist?
To become a crop scientist, you will need to have a bachelor’s or master’s degree in crop science, plant science, agronomy or a related discipline.
Secondary school students interested in studying crop science should take preparatory subjects such as English, biology, agricultural science, chemistry, physics and statistics.
Just to give you an idea, some of the classes that you’ll be taking in college may include:
- Soil and Crop management
- Plant breeding and genetics
- Seed science
- Environmental soil science
- Soil resources and conservation
- Ecosystem management
- Organic Agriculture
- Beneficial use of waste products
- Crop Production
- Crop Protection
The fields where a crop scientist can specialize include:
- Agronomy - the science of soil and plant
- Bacteriology –the scientific study of bacteria
- Crop Breeding – the development of new type of crops with improved characteristics
- Crop Physiology – the study of the physiological processes in crops
- Crop Production – the production of crops for food, shelter or clothing
- Farming Systems – the methods employed in farming
- Mycology – the scientific study of fungi
- Nematology – the scientific study of nematode worms
- Weed science - the scientific study of weeds
Knowledge, Skills and Attributes
Crop scientists need to have:
- manual dexterity
- physical fitness
- accuracy and precision
- creativity and innovation
- good eyesight
- good memory
- good hand-eye coordination
- good attention to detail
- good listening and communication skills
- analytical and problem solving skills
- time management and organizational skills
- observational skills
- math and computer skills
- the ability to conduct field and laboratory research
- the ability to work well independently and in a team
- the ability to work well under pressure and concentrate for long periods
- the ability to use scientific knowledge to solve problems
- knowledge of crop production equipment and other scientific equipment
- knowledge of farm management
- knowledge of farming techniques
- knowledge of soil types
- knowledge of crop breeding
- knowledge of crop physiology
Should I be a Crop Scientist?
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