Agricultural and Forestry Scientists advise farmers, rural industries and government on aspects of farming, develop techniques for increasing productivity, and study and develop plans and policies for the management of forest areas.

    A bachelor degree in agricultural science, or a science degree with an agriculture major is needed to work as an Agricultural or Forestry Scientist. Some Agricultural and Forestry Scientists complete postgraduate studies.

    Tasks

    • collecting and analysing data and samples of produce, feed, soil and other factors affecting production
    • advising Farmers and Farm Managers on techniques for improving the production of crops and livestock, and alternative agricultural options
    • advising farmers on issues such as livestock and crop disease, control of pests and weeds, soil improvement, animal husbandry and feeding programs
    • studying the environmental factors affecting commercial crop production, pasture growth, animal breeding, and the growth and health of forest trees
    • studying the effects of cultivation techniques, soils, insects and plant diseases on animal, crop and forest production
    • developing procedures and techniques for solving agricultural problems and improving the efficiency of production
    • managing forest resources to maximise their long-term commercial, recreational and environmental benefits for the community
    • studying the propagation and culture of forest trees, methods for improving the growth of stock, and the effects of thinning on forest yields
    • preparing plans for reafforestation and devising efficient harvesting systems
    • investigating, planning and implementing management procedures to cope with the effects of fires, floods, droughts, soil erosion, insect pests and diseases

    More about Agricultural and Forestry Scientists

    All Agricultural and Forestry Scientists

    All Agricultural and Forestry Scientists

    • $2,218 Weekly Pay
    • Strong Future Growth
    • Lower unemployment Unemployment
    • 8,300 workers Employment Size
    • Very high skill Skill level rating
    • 81% Full-Time Full-Time Share
    • 45 hours Average full-time
    • 44 years Average age
    • 26% female Gender Share

    The number of people working as Agricultural and Forestry Scientists (in their main job) grew very strongly over the past 5 years and is expected to grow strongly over the next 5 years:
    from 8,300 in 2018 to 9,300 by 2023.
    Job openings can come from new jobs being created, but most come from turnover (workers leaving).
    There are likely to be around 5,000 job openings over 5 years (that's about 1,000 a year).

    • Size: This is a small occupation.
    • Unemployment: Unemployment was below average in 2018.
    • Location: Agricultural and Forestry Scientists work in many regions of Australia.
    • Industries: Most work in Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing; Professional, Scientific and Technical Services; and Public Administration and Safety.
    • Earnings: Full-time workers on an adult wage earn around $2,218 per week (higher than the average of $1,460). Earnings tend to be lower when starting out and higher as experience grows.
    • Full-time: Most work full-time (81%, much higher than the average of 66%).
    • Hours: Full-time workers spend around 45 hours per week at work (compared to the average of 44 hours).
    • Age: The average age is 44 years (compared to the average of 40 years).
    • Gender: 26% of workers are female (compared to the average of 48%).

    Employers found it hard to fill vacancies for Agricultural Consultants and Scientists in 2018. Find out more in the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business latest report on Agricultural Consultants and Scientists.

    Employment Outlook

    Number of Workers

    Source: ABS Labour Force Survey, Department of Jobs and Small Business trend data to May 2018 and Department of Jobs and Small Business projections to 2023.
    YearNumber of Workers
    20086400
    20096500
    20106600
    20115500
    20129100
    20136800
    20148100
    20157700
    20168300
    201714900
    20188300
    20239300

    Weekly Earnings

    Weekly Earnings (Before Tax)

    Source: Based on ABS Survey of Employee Earnings and Hours (cat. no. 6306.0), May 2018, Customised Report. Median weekly total cash earnings for full-time non-managerial employees paid at the adult rate. Earnings are before tax and include amounts salary sacrificed. Earnings can vary greatly depending on the skills and experience of the worker and the demands of the role. These figures should be used as a guide only, not to determine a wage rate.
    EarningsAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs Average
    Full-Time Earnings22181460

    Main Industries

    Main Employing Industries (% Share)

    Source: Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Industries are based on the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC 06).
    Main Employing IndustriesIndustry (% share)
    Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing41.1
    Professional, Scientific and Technical Services21.5
    Public Administration and Safety15.7
    Wholesale Trade7.5
    Other Industries14.2

    States and Territories

    • NSW

    • VIC

    • QLD

    • SA

    • TAS

    • NT

    • ACT

    Employment by State and Territory (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Share of workers across Australian States and Territories, in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    StateAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs Average
    NSW24.131.6
    VIC22.425.6
    QLD21.120.0
    SA9.97.0
    WA13.810.8
    TAS6.32.0
    NT0.91.0
    ACT1.51.9

    Age Profile

    Age Profile (% Share)

    Source: Based on Based on ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Age profile of workers in this job compared to the all jobs average.
    Age BracketAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    15-190.3-5.05.0
    20-245.6-9.39.3
    25-3420.6-22.922.9
    35-4425.4-22.022.0
    45-5423.1-21.621.6
    55-5910.3-9.09.0
    60-647.7-6.06.0
    65 and Over6.8-4.24.2

    Education Level

    Highest Level of Education (% Share)

    Source: ABS, ABS Census 2016, Customised Report. Highest qualification completed by workers in this job (in any field of study). Qualifications needed by new workers might be different from the qualifications of workers already in the job.
    Type of QualificationAgricultural and Forestry ScientistsAll Jobs AverageAll Jobs Average
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate25.2-10.110.1
    Bachelor degree44.6-21.821.8
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma12.6-11.611.6
    Certificate III/IV6.1-21.121.1
    Year 126.0-18.118.1
    Year 111.5-4.84.8
    Year 10 and below4.0-12.512.5

    A bachelor degree in agricultural science, or a science degree with an agriculture major is needed to work as an Agricultural or Forestry Scientist. Some Agricultural and Forestry Scientists complete postgraduate studies.

    Membership with the Ag Institute Australia may be useful.

    Thinking about study or training?

    Before starting a course, check it will provide you with the skills and qualifications you need.

    • Search and compare thousands of higher education courses, and their entry requirements from different institutions across Australia at Course Seeker website.
    • Compare undergraduate and postgraduate student experiences and outcomes on the QILT website.

    Or check out related courses on Job Outlook.

    Useful links and resources


    The course listings on this page are provided by Good Education Group.

    Employers look for Agricultural and Forestry Scientists who can communicate clearly, work well in a team and have strong interpersonal skills.

    Filter Skills & Knowledge

    Knowledge

    These are important topics, subjects or knowledge areas.

    1. Biology

      79% Skill level

      Plant and animal organisms, their tissues, cells, functions, how they rely on and work with each other and the environment.

    2. Education and Training

      78% Skill level

      Curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.

    3. English Language

      71% Skill level

      English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

    4. Mathematics

      67% Skill level

      Arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, or statistics.

    5. Chemistry

      63% Skill level

      Chemical composition, structure, and properties. How chemicals are made, used, mixed, and can change.

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-1013.00 - Soil and Plant Scientists.

    Learn about the daily activities, and physical and social demands faced by workers. Explore the values and work styles that workers rate as most important.

    Filter Work Environment

    Demands

    The physical and social demands workers face most often are shown below.

    1. Electronic Mail

      99% Important

      How often do you use electronic mail?

    2. Face-to-Face Discussions

      93% Important

      How often do you talk with people face-to-face?

    3. Freedom to Make Decisions

      90% Important

      How much freedom do you have to make decision on your own?

    4. Telephone

      90% Important

      How often do you talk on the telephone?

    5. Structured versus Unstructured Work

      89% Important

      How much freedom do you have to decide on tasks, priorities, and goals?

    Occupational Information Network
    O*NET is a trademark of the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.
    The skills and importance ratings on this page are derived from the US Department of Labor O*NET Database Version 21.2, 19-1013.00 - Soil and Plant Scientists.

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