What Do Soil and Plant Scientists Do (including Their Typical Day At Work)

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Job Description, Daily Responsibilities, and Work Life.

Job Description

Soil and Plant Scientists conduct research in breeding, physiology, production, yield, and management of crops and agricultural plants or trees, shrubs, and nursery stock, their growth in soils, and control of pests; or study the chemical, physical, biological, and mineralogical composition of soils as they relate to plant or crop growth. May classify and map soils and investigate effects of alternative practices on soil and crop productivity. They also communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops.

Other tasks include:

  • 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.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • 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.
  • Develop environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or pests.
  • Investigate soil problems or poor water quality to determine sources and effects.
  • Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.

We asked Soil and Plant Scientists how satisfied they are with their job. Here is what they said.

Job satisfaction

67%

How meaningful is this job

79%


67% of them said they were satisfied with their job and 79% said they find that their job makes the world a better place or helps to make someone else’s life better.



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Typical Day At Work

On a daily basis, Soil and Plant Scientists communicate research or project results to other professionals or the public or teach related courses, seminars, or workshops. They identify or classify species of insects or allied forms, such as mites or spiders.

  • Conduct research into the use of plant species as green fuels or in the production of green fuels.
  • Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.
  • Study insect distribution or habitat and recommend methods to prevent importation or spread of injurious species.
  • Identify degraded or contaminated soils and develop plans to improve their chemical, biological, or physical characteristics.
  • Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the use capabilities of soils and the effects of alternative practices on soil productivity.

We asked some Soil and Plant Scientists a few questions to find out what else does their work day look like. Here is what we found.

Do you have telephone conversations everyday in this job?56% said yes
How important is it to work in a team in this job?26% said very important
Do you have group discussions everyday in this job?70% said yes
Do you talk or work with customers everyday in this job?11% said yes
Do you have to deal with angry customers everyday in this job?0% said yes
Do you have to make decisions everyday in this job?15% said yes

Other responsibilities

Besides their typical day, Soil and Plant Scientists also 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. They may also study ways to improve agricultural sustainability, such as the use of new methods of composting.

On a weekly to monthly basis, Soil and Plant Scientists 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. They might also Develop new or improved methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or insect pests.

In addition, they Develop environmentally safe methods or products for controlling or eliminating weeds, crop diseases, or pests.

Although specific duties may vary, many of them Conduct experiments investigating how soil forms, changes, or interacts with land-based ecosystems or living organisms.

To some Soil and Plant Scientists, it is also their responsibility to Investigate responses of soils to specific management practices to determine the effects of alternative practices on the environment.


Working life

Working hours

More than 40 hours per week

Working schedule

Irregular work schedule that changes depending on weather conditions, customer demand or contract duration.

In a typical work week as a Soil and Plant Scientist, you can expect to work more than 40 hours per week.

Do Soil and Plant Scientists work in an office-style work environment?

Once a week
48%


Every day
37%


Do Soil and Plant Scientists work outdoors?

Once a month
37%


Once a week
37%



Is this right for me

Best personality for this career

The Thinkers and The Builders

People who are suitable for this job tends to like working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. They like searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally..

They also like work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They like working with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery.

You can read more about these career personality types here.




Learn more about Soil and Plant Scientists

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Related to Soil and Plant Scientists Job Description

Soil and Plant Scientists job description, what do Soil and Plant Scientists do, typical day for Soil and Plant Scientists, what is it like to work as a Soil and Plant Scientist, how many hours do Soil and Plant Scientists work, day to day work of a Soil and Plant Scientist

Additional resources

http://www.bls.gov/OOH/life-physical-and-social-science/agricultural-and-food-scientists.htm
http://www.agronomy.org/
http://www.crops.org/
http://www.soils.org/


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