How to become an Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers provide complex technical support and advise on aspects of agriculture such as research, production, servicing and marketing.

Personal requirements for an Agricultural Technical Officer

  • Able to analyse and solve problems
  • Enjoy agriculture and the environment
  • Able to make accurate observations and recordings
  • Able to work as part of a team
  • Enjoy working outdoors

Education & Training for an Agricultural Technical Officer

To become an agricultural technical officer you usually have to complete a VET qualification in agriculture, horticulture, sustainable agriculture or animal technology. As subjects and prerequisites can vary between institutions, you should contact your chosen institution for further information. Entry to this occupation may be improved if you have a degree in agricultural science, or a science degree with a major in agriculture-related studies. To get into these courses you usually need to gain your Senior Secondary Certificate of Education. Prerequisite subjects, or assumed knowledge, in one or more of English, mathematics, biology, chemistry and physics are normally required.


Duties & Tasks of an Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers:

  • Work with agricultural scientists using small plot experiments to compare plant varieties and test the effects of various treatments on growth and yield
  • Work with soil scientists to study irrigation techniques and analyse plants used in soil treatment experiments
  • Work with plant breeders to produce new strains and select superior products
  • Work with animal breeders using artificial insemination techniques to produce offspring that mature earlier
  • Record and interpret experimental data in field experiments
  • Interpret aerial photographs and prepare maps showing soil and vegetation patterns
  • Assist in the chemical analysis and laboratory culture of microorganisms that cause diseases in plants and animals
  • Carry out research and provide advice about various technical issues.

Tasks

  • Collecting and collating data for research.
  • Assisting in developing new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting and processing crops to achieve optimum land usage.
  • Planning slaughtering, harvesting and other aspects of production processes.
  • Examining topographical, physical and soil characteristics of farmland to determine its most effective use and identify nutrient deficiencies.
  • Identifying pathogenic micro-organisms and insects, parasites, fungi and weeds harmful to crops and livestock, and assisting in devising methods of control.
  • Assisting in controlled breeding experiments to develop improved crop and livestock strains.
  • May advise producers on farming techniques and management.
  • Arranging the supply of drugs, vaccines and other chemicals to Farmers and Farm Managers, and giving advice on their use.
  • Analysing produce to set and maintain standards of quality.
  • Inspecting livestock to gauge the effectiveness of feed formulae.

Working conditions for an Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers may work in laboratories, in the field or both. They often work in a team with other scientists.


Employment Opportunities for an Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers are employed by state, territory and federal government departments, the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) pastoral companies, agricultural chemical manufacturers. and farm consultancies. In the past, government organisations were the major employers of agricultural technical officers. However, government positions are now often offered as short-term contracts based on project funding. Much of the work has been contracted out to private businesses and consultancy practices.


Specializations

Artificial Insemination Technical Officer

An artificial insemination technical officer uses artificial insemination techniques and controlled breeding experiments to develop improved livestock and herd strains.

Horticultural Technical Officer

A horticultural technical officer works on new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting, processing and transporting crops, including fruit, vegetables, flowers and ornamental nursery crops.

Poultry Technical Officer

A poultry technical officer is involved in the production, management, processing and marketing of eggs, chickens, turkeys and game birds, including breeding and disease control.

Agricultural Technical Officer

Agricultural technical officers provide complex technical support and advise on aspects of agriculture such as research, production, servicing and marketing.

Artificial Insemination Technical Officer

An artificial insemination technical officer uses artificial insemination techniques and controlled breeding experiments to develop improved livestock and herd strains.

Horticultural Technical Officer

A horticultural technical officer works on new methods of planting, fertilising, harvesting, processing and transporting crops, including fruit, vegetables, flowers and ornamental nursery crops.

Poultry Technical Officer

A poultry technical officer is involved in the production, management, processing and marketing of eggs, chickens, turkeys and game birds, including breeding and disease control.

  • Average age
    Average age
    40 years
  • Future Growth
    Future Growth
    Stable
  • Gender Share
    Gender Share
    37% female
  • Average full-time
    Average full-time
    42 hours
  • Weekly Pay
    Weekly Pay
    $1,441
  • Skill level rating
    Skill level rating
    High skill
  • Unemployment
    Unemployment
    Lower unemployment
  • Full-Time Share
    Full-Time Share
    80% Full-Time
  • Employment Size
    Employment Size
    1,300 workers
  • Employment Size
    Employment by state
    ACT: 2.3%
    NSW: 23.9%
    NT: 1.3%
    QLD: 18.7%
    SA: 10.6%
    TAS: 6.8%
    VIC: 22.9%
    WA: 13.5%
  • Employment Size
    Age brackets
    15-19: 2.2%
    20-24: 9.8%
    25-34: 26.4%
    35-44: 20.2%
    45-54: 20.7%
    55-59: 11%
    60-64: 6.3%
    65 and Over: 3.5%
  • Employment Size
    Education level
    Advanced Diploma/Diploma: 16%
    Bachelor degree: 28.6%
    Certificate III/IV: 19.9%
    Post Graduate/Graduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 9.2%
    Year 10 and below: 9.3%
    Year 11: 3.2%
    Year 12: 13.8%
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