In Summary - Horticultural Scientist
The Work - Horticultural Scientist
Horticultural scientists apply science and technology to horticulture. This includes the safe production of a variety of crops, such as vegetables, fruit and plants. Areas of work include laboratory and field based research and development, advice and consultancy work.
Laboratory based scientists may be involved in detailed analytical research work, for example in plant breeding and propagation. Field based research scientists work on projects that aim to find specific solutions to individual problems, for example to discover a fungus for pest control on a particular crop.
Research projects may involve horticultural scientists in both laboratory work and carrying out field based trials, such as laboratory tests on and the development of plants in experimental plots or greenhouses. Developmental work may involve working closely with other specialists such as horticultural engineers.
Horticultural scientists provide information and consultancy to a range of people working in horticulture. They may work for organisations such as garden centres, arable farmers or make their services generally available to the public. Horticultural scientists may spend a lot of their time outside the office visiting growers and working in close liaison with research and development scientists, for example in field trials.
Some horticultural scientists work in other areas, for example marketing, information science and teaching.
Most commonly reported Work Tasks
- Conduct experiments to develop new or improved varieties of field crops, focusing on characteristics such as yield, quality, disease resistance, nutritional value, or adaptation to specific soils or climates.
- Communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.
- Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.
- Study soil characteristics to classify soils on the basis of factors such as geographic location, landscape position, or soil properties.
- Provide information or recommendations to farmers or other landowners regarding ways in which they can best use land, promote plant growth, or avoid or correct problems such as erosion.
- Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.
- Develop methods of conserving or managing soil that can be applied by farmers or forestry companies.
- Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.
- Conduct research to determine best methods of planting, spraying, cultivating, harvesting, storing, processing, or transporting horticultural products.
- Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
Most commonly reported Work Activities
- Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Analyzing Data or Information Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Interacting With Computers Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Processing Information Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
Interests - Horticultural Scientist
This occupation is typically suited for people with the following Career Interests:
Not surprisingly, some aspect of the natural sciences will run through the Naturalist's interests - from ecological awareness to nutrition and health. People with an interest in horticulture, land usage and farming (including fish) are Naturalists.
Some Naturalists focus on animals rather than plants, and may enjoy working with, training, caring for, or simply herding them. Other Naturalists will prefer working with the end result of nature's produce - the food produced from plants and animals. Naturalists like solving problems with solutions that show some sensitivity to the environmental impact of what they do. They like to see practical results and prefer action to talking and discussing.
The Investigative person will usually find a particular area of science to be of interest. They are inclined toward intellectual and analytical activities and enjoy observation and theory. They may prefer thought to action, and enjoy the challenge of solving problems with sophiscticated technology. These types prefer mentally stimulating environments and often pay close attention to developments in their chosen field.
Administrative people are interested in work that offers security and a sense of being part of a larger process. They may be at their most productive under supervisors who give clear guidelines and while performing routine tasks in a methodical and reliable way.
They tend to enjoy clerical and most forms of office work, where they perform essential administrative duties. They often form the backbone of large and small organisations alike. They may enjoy being in charge of office filing systems, and using computers and other office equipment to keep things running smoothly. They usually like routine work hours and prefer comfortable indoor workplaces.
As a horticultural scientist you will need a high level of scientific ability and understanding, especially in biology and chemistry. You need to be able to prepare, analyse, monitor, evaluate and present complicated technical data accurately, often involving the use of computers and complex scientific equipment. Keeping records and preparing reports is also highly important.
You must be able to work as part of a team, have good communication skills and the ability to present complex scientific information (in written or spoken form) that is easy for non-scientists to understand.
Be prepared to travel as part of your work, therefore a driving licence would be an advantage.
Entry Requirements - Horticultural Scientist
Pay & Salary - Horticultural Scientist
Salary Range (thousands per year)* 25k - 55k
Entrants: 25 - 34
Experienced: 45k +
Last Updated: March, 2017
* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
Labour Market Updates - Horticultural Scientist
Useful Contacts - Horticultural Scientist
Teagasc - Irish Agriculture and Food Development Authority
Royal Horticultural Society of Ireland
National Botanic Gardens