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Agronomist

An Agronomist’s work is concerned with soil management and crop production. It is a scientific role. Agronomists are tasked with studying and managing soil composition, water levels and drainage. They plan fertiliser and treatment programmes to optimise the soil, keeping it free of weeds and pests in order that crops can be grown successfully.

Ensuring no harm is caused to the environment is an important part of the job. An Agronomist often works closely with farmers, offering advice on managing soil to improve crop production and maximise profitability. Agronomists are also sometimes known as Crop Scientists, or Agronomy Managers.

Three people standing and talking in a field with sunflowers. Two of them are wearing white lab coats. There is also a red tractor in the field.

The information in our job profiles aims to give a general overview of the role and a guideline to what it involves. The content is not intended to be exhaustive and roles will vary depending on the organisation and sector. The salary ranges are a guide only, as these are dependent on the size and location of the organisation.

Salary range
£20k – £45k

How does this role align to the green agenda?

Agriculture is currently moving towards more sustainable ways of farming and agronomy is part of this shift. Agronomists can advise on less energy intensive cropping systems, which can make a significant impact on reducing farming’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Agronomists also have a role to play in developing climate resistant farming systems that will withstand the future pressures of climate change and continue to yield strong crops. Building resilience both within the soil, and within the organisations they work for, is key to an Agronomist’s remit. Working alongside Crop Researchers, Agronomists can introduce farmers to the most innovative ways of using their land. The soil management planning they undertake can both minimise the environmental impact of growing crops and mitigate against climate change and the challenges it presents to future crop production.

A young woman in a laboratory is looking at seedlings growing in soil. She is wearing a white lab coat.

Skills and capabilities

Technical knowledge

  • Scientific knowledge
  • Ability to gather and effectively analyse data
  • Firm grasp of mathematical concepts
  • Up-to-date overview of the latest academic research
  • Understanding of relevant legislation and capacity to comply with it
  • Informed on climate change and its impact on agriculture
  • A full driving licence
  • Comprehensive computer and digital skills.

Transferable skills

  • Observation and attention-to-detail
  • Business management
  • Complex problem reframing and resolution
  • Strong report and correspondence writing
  • Effective communication
  • Ability to work well independently or as part of a team.

A day in the life

An Agronomist’s daily life varies according to whether they are working independently, for a small company, or a large manufacturer. Research and environmental organisations, as well as government, universities and colleges also employ Agronomists.

Day-to-day tasks might include studying soil and other factors affecting crop growth; creating treatment plans to control weeds and pests; conducting field trials; monitoring and analysing crop yield and environmental factors; advising farmers and other stakeholders; staying informed on legislative changes and product developments.

Work environments may include offices, farms, or research facilities. Outdoor working and travel are to be expected. Some regular tasks require Agronomists to wear protective clothing, such as when gathering samples.

A man in a field of crops, looking at his tablet device and clutching some crops in his hand. He is kneeling on the ground.

Entry routes

Although there are no specific entry requirements to become an Agronomist, a good grounding in science subjects is helpful. The list below shows some example routes into the profession, ranging from college courses, to apprenticeships, training, and degrees. View an up-to-date list of qualifications for Agronomists on the Lantra website.

Those hoping to establish a career in agronomy will always benefit from practical, relevant work experience. This may be secured through an internship, graduate scheme, or volunteering. Whichever route is chosen, that experience will complement formal qualifications and strengthen future job applications.

Potential career progression

Agronomists most often work in the agriculture or horticulture and landscaping industries. Career progression routes include focusing on areas like precision farming using state-of-the-art technology or developing highly specialised nutrition plans for food crops. 

Having gained some professional experience, many Agronomists register with the Fertiliser Adviser’s Certifications and Training (FACTS). Once registered, they can become FACTS Qualified Advisors, which allows them to advise on fertiliser use, making recommendations that are environmentally and economically sound.

There are also routes to becoming an Agriculture Consultant, by studying postgraduate qualifications in soil science or genetics.

Relevant sectors

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  • Charity
  • Construction and Built Environment
  • Consultancy
  • Education
  • Extractives
  • Food and Drink
  • Horticulture
  • Manufacturing
  • Public Sector
  • Resource / Waste Management
Green fields with a sunny sky int he background. There are hay barrels in the foreground.

Learn about the green agenda across different sectors

Information kindly supplied by:
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Lantra

Lantra is one of the leading awarding bodies for land-based industries in both the UK and the Republic of Ireland.

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