Advice on how to become an agronomist.

RADkelly

Member
Arable Farmer
Hi, I'm new on here so I'm not sure where to ask this.
I'm a 24 year old Female who is just recently graduated 2:1 honours degree (BSC) in Agriculture.
I want to become an agronomist but I'm finding it difficult to get any jobs in this sector especially as a trainee agronomist.

I have 10 weeks of experience working with scottish seed potatoes. Over ten weeks in summer 2019 I worked on a research project, funded by the British Society for Plant Pathology, and collecting data for my honours dissertation. This involved working alongside scientists from two different institutions to investigate the potential use of drones for surveying seed potato crops for pests and disease.
As part of this work I completed a variety of tasks including:
• Identification of potato cyst nematodes (PCN) and aphids in potato crops .
• Testing potato tubers for a variety of fungal blemish diseases and rots with the pathology team.
• Testing samples for potato viruses Y, X, A, S, M, V in the lab that were submitted by potato crop inspectors.
• Potato crop walking and training to identify any potential pest/disease in support of the seed potato classification scheme
• Collecting river samples for bacterial pathogens across Scottish rivers for Ralstonia solanacearum and Dickeya spp.
•I gained a Certificate of Completion for the Identification of potato varieties and their diseases

As part of my Bachelor’s Degree at I completed a final year dissertation project which focused on the use of drone imagery as an alternative to traditional ground-based assessment of the development of potato trial crops. During the project, I was responsible for collecting field-based data, particularly ground cover, and crop height that I also used for my dissertation.
I have experience with Excel, arcGIS and QGIS.

I lived in Edinburgh for two years while I completed my degree but have moved back home to Northern Ireland to look for a job as this means I don't have to pay for rent/council tax/other bills etc.

I come from a livestock farm and have additional experience where I worked in an abattoir for 8 months but not as much arable experience.

I'd really appreciate any advice given to me, I'm more than happy to move to England/Scotland/Wales for a job. I'd definitely do more arable crop work for experience but I'm not exactly sure where would be the best area to gain experience in.
 
It would be best to work on a farm for the immediate future, the industry is not in a good place right now and I understand some companies are shedding staff right at the moment. Still, write to DeLacy and similar recruitment companies.

Don't let it get you down- when I finished education it was 2004 and the industry was still reeling from Foot and Mouth. I went to work for my father for a couple of years until around 2007 when I could finally get a foot in the door. Most depressing time of my life I can tell you.

Might be worth going to America or Canada or Australia to work for a bit, it would be a good talking point with your clients in future.
 

AndrewM

Member
BASIS
Location
Devon
Hi, I'm new on here so I'm not sure where to ask this.
I'm a 24 year old Female who is just recently graduated 2:1 honours degree (BSC) in Agriculture.
I want to become an agronomist but I'm finding it difficult to get any jobs in this sector especially as a trainee agronomist.

I have 10 weeks of experience working with scottish seed potatoes. Over ten weeks in summer 2019 I worked on a research project, funded by the British Society for Plant Pathology, and collecting data for my honours dissertation. This involved working alongside scientists from two different institutions to investigate the potential use of drones for surveying seed potato crops for pests and disease.
As part of this work I completed a variety of tasks including:
• Identification of potato cyst nematodes (PCN) and aphids in potato crops .
• Testing potato tubers for a variety of fungal blemish diseases and rots with the pathology team.
• Testing samples for potato viruses Y, X, A, S, M, V in the lab that were submitted by potato crop inspectors.
• Potato crop walking and training to identify any potential pest/disease in support of the seed potato classification scheme
• Collecting river samples for bacterial pathogens across Scottish rivers for Ralstonia solanacearum and Dickeya spp.
•I gained a Certificate of Completion for the Identification of potato varieties and their diseases

As part of my Bachelor’s Degree at I completed a final year dissertation project which focused on the use of drone imagery as an alternative to traditional ground-based assessment of the development of potato trial crops. During the project, I was responsible for collecting field-based data, particularly ground cover, and crop height that I also used for my dissertation.
I have experience with Excel, arcGIS and QGIS.

I lived in Edinburgh for two years while I completed my degree but have moved back home to Northern Ireland to look for a job as this means I don't have to pay for rent/council tax/other bills etc.

I come from a livestock farm and have additional experience where I worked in an abattoir for 8 months but not as much arable experience.

I'd really appreciate any advice given to me, I'm more than happy to move to England/Scotland/Wales for a job. I'd definitely do more arable crop work for experience but I'm not exactly sure where would be the best area to gain experience in.
If your looking to develop some arable agronomy experience and can't get on one of the big trainee schemes, try looking for work as a field trial officer/trainee doing agricultural field trials. There are quiet a lot of companies out there doing this sort of work. You should get some good weed/disease id skills assessing trial plots. Might give you the cv experience required to get on a training scheme.
 

muppet

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Dorset
Get onto FACTS and BASIS courses to start getting agronomy qualifications. You can do this yourself, and build up over a few years but they are quite pricey.
 

RADkelly

Member
Arable Farmer
I have a female agronomist who is mid 20s at a guess.give agrovista a call .good luck
nick...
Hi Nick, I applied to Agrovista but was told there were no positions in my area. Not sure if that meant the trainee agronomist position or geographical area but I did say I would move wherever there was a job as that is absolutely no issue for me.
I have sent a email enquiry regarding that.
 

BenB

Member
BASE UK Member
Location
Newbury, Berks
If the independent agronomy route appeals to you, then I would recommend speaking directly to the AICC (Association of Independent Crop Consultants). They can possibly help to link you up with an independent agronomist/agronomy group who might be looking for a trainee/new agronomist, they also run an 'academy', which you can do alongside/whilst you are working as a trainee.

https://aicc.org.uk/aicca/
 

bitwrx

Member
You're young. Now is the time to get out and about.
@Farmer Roy
@Kiwi Pete
@Lowland1
@Dian Landman
@Blaithin
What's the state of play in your respective necks of the woods?

The growing season is just kicking off in the southern hemisphere. What about farm work down there? Yes I know the whole world has turned to custard, but a bit of quarantine won't kill ya.

A mate of mine did the Velcourt farm manager training scheme. They'll flog you to death, but it's good experience. And you'd get FACTS and Basis done.

I finished uni in 2008. Work was pretty hard to come by then as well. It's a bit sh!t. Just keep your head up, and enjoy what work you can find for what it is. I ended up working as a civil servant as my first graduate job. Not what I wanted to do at all, but it was a great training and I moved on to something better when the opportunity arose.
 
Hi, I'm new on here so I'm not sure where to ask this.
I'm a 24 year old Female who is just recently graduated 2:1 honours degree (BSC) in Agriculture.
I want to become an agronomist but I'm finding it difficult to get any jobs in this sector especially as a trainee agronomist.

I have 10 weeks of experience working with scottish seed potatoes. Over ten weeks in summer 2019 I worked on a research project, funded by the British Society for Plant Pathology, and collecting data for my honours dissertation. This involved working alongside scientists from two different institutions to investigate the potential use of drones for surveying seed potato crops for pests and disease.
As part of this work I completed a variety of tasks including:
• Identification of potato cyst nematodes (PCN) and aphids in potato crops .
• Testing potato tubers for a variety of fungal blemish diseases and rots with the pathology team.
• Testing samples for potato viruses Y, X, A, S, M, V in the lab that were submitted by potato crop inspectors.
• Potato crop walking and training to identify any potential pest/disease in support of the seed potato classification scheme
• Collecting river samples for bacterial pathogens across Scottish rivers for Ralstonia solanacearum and Dickeya spp.
•I gained a Certificate of Completion for the Identification of potato varieties and their diseases

As part of my Bachelor’s Degree at I completed a final year dissertation project which focused on the use of drone imagery as an alternative to traditional ground-based assessment of the development of potato trial crops. During the project, I was responsible for collecting field-based data, particularly ground cover, and crop height that I also used for my dissertation.
I have experience with Excel, arcGIS and QGIS.

I lived in Edinburgh for two years while I completed my degree but have moved back home to Northern Ireland to look for a job as this means I don't have to pay for rent/council tax/other bills etc.

I come from a livestock farm and have additional experience where I worked in an abattoir for 8 months but not as much arable experience.

I'd really appreciate any advice given to me, I'm more than happy to move to England/Scotland/Wales for a job. I'd definitely do more arable crop work for experience but I'm not exactly sure where would be the best area to gain experience in.
Demand for agronomists in the U.S., bring your UK experience in spuds to potato growing areas here.
 
Contact AICC, they might be able to suggest someone who is looking to take on a trainee. If you are keen and genuinely interested in agronomy there could be someone who you can train with. Working for a trials company is a good start, you will lick up lots of experience, I think the best agronomists have a practical farming background so try and get some arable farming experience.
 

Rossymons

Member
Location
Cornwall
The World is in a mess right now.

Sadly you fit all the wrong areas that could make your career difficult to start with - young, inexperienced and in an advisory role telling farmers how to do something they've been doing for a long time. Coupled to this the sales element and right now I think cold calling people is still off the list. If it is back on it will probably be off soon. I might be wrong and prepared to be shot down over that but it's how I see it.

But you're young so time is on your side and from what you've said here nothing weighing you down. Disappear abroad, get your hands dirty on farm, speak to people and build up your network. Look at your getting your FACTS and BASIS yourself rather than through the company training you.

I wouldn't be getting too disheartened yet.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
Agronomist or field officers are usually in demand here.
Have you spoke to McCain, they use their own agronomists and have a programme to train up new people. If not the UK maybe somewhere else.
McCain NZ do take people from overseas.
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Agronomist or field officers are usually in demand here.
Have you spoke to McCain, they use their own agronomists and have a programme to train up new people. If not the UK maybe somewhere else.
McCain NZ do take people from overseas.
Good call! Saved me typing it out 😅👌
@CornishTone could be a handy contact, not only is he a top bloke but also well connected down here and may have ideas on how to get started
 

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