Ok, so your parents will probably throw a hissy fit if you should tell them that you want to work with soil. But it’s legit a cool career choice, and you’re guaranteed of a solid salary too. People who specialise in soil science are called agronomists.
After all, a farmers most important asset is their soil, thus making soil scientists important to the agriculture sector. Soil scientists spend most of their time between the farm and the lab.
An agronomist is a scientist in the agricultural field that deals with mainly crop production, explains Lerato Botha, who is not only an agronomist herself but also the CEO of FarmerLee Farms in Gauteng.
Speaking to Nicole Ludoph and Bandile Xhosa, the host of Food For Mzansi’s new Agricareers podcast, Botha explains that an agronomist deals with crop production for animal feed, human consumption and even deals with the crop production for the making of clothes.
What do I need to study?
Botha holds a Bachelors in agricultural science majoring in crop production management. She had a key focus on agrometeorology which is the climate science of agriculture, as well as soil science. Her studies also included some economics modules, but most of her modules consisted of crop production.
What skills are needed?
Botha explains that in order to become a good agronomist you must have passion and patience. Things will not always go according to plan and it can become frustrating so you will need passion and patience to carry you through those moments.
What subjects do I need?
Physical Science (both physics and chemistry) and pure mathematics are needed to study agronomy. Contact each institution for their specific requirements.
Where can I study?
Bachelor of Science: Agronomy
Bachelor of Science: Agriculture (Plant and Soil Sciences)
University of KwaZulu-Natal
Bachelor of Science: Agriculture
Tshwane University of Technology
Advanced Diploma: Crop Sciences
Elsenburg Agricultural College
Bachelor of Science: Agriculture (Soil Science and Chemistry)
Cedara Agricultural College
Diploma: Specialization in Crop Production or Animal Production
University of the Free State
Bachelor of Science in Agriculture majoring in Soil Science