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Weed Scientist

Position Overview

Weed scientists assist in the management of vegetation. They identify weed varieties, researching and developing methods that could combat critical types. This might be through different chemical treatments or new planting processes. Weed scientists are most relevant to farmers, homeowners, and operations that require a healthy lawn, such as golf courses. They will often diagnose lawn or field issues and develop a weed management system for the landowner. Depending on the employer, weed scientists could create control products, recommend control products, or establish other cover crop or mechanical management methods. If they create weed control products, they should understand the environmental impact of the selected chemicals, and see that it is effective at killing the weed of concern. They may run crop trails and give presentations on new findings and techniques for weed management.

Weed Scientist Duties

  • Develop weed management systems and techniques
  • Identify weed types on different properties
  • Make suggestions and recommendations for various weed control methods
  • Create new chemical formulations for weed control
  • Develop crop trials to test new products, both in the greenhouse and in the field
  • Oversee other staff members to ensure trails, products, or control methods are being implemented effectively
  • Research and contribute to scholarly papers
  • Give presentations to farmers regarding new research and up-and-coming control techniques in the industry

Typical Employers

  • Universities
  • Government agencies
  • Research firms
  • Crop management firms
  • Consultant agencies
  • Agricultural chemical companies

Required Education and Training

Weed scientists should have a bachelor's degree in either agronomy, ecology, soil science, horticulture, weed science, or plant physiology. A competitive advantage is given to candidates who have a master's or PhD in a related field. If you choose to work on the business side of things, you should take business courses, such as economics, marketing, or agricultural business. Candidates should have a genuine interest in weed science.

Key Skills and Qualities

  • Excellent research abilities
  • Good communication skills, written and verbal
  • Ability to present at conferences
  • Exercises professionalism in day-to-day tasks
  • Highly organised
  • Can work well independently and in a team environment
  • Creative problem solver
  • Exercises a concern for the environment
  • Understands the needs of farmers
  • Sound decision making skills
  • Critical thinker

Average Salary

Weed scientists just beginning their career will make approximately £23,000. As they gain more experience and industry knowledge, the salary for a weed scientist can rise to £40,000. Senior weed scientists can make over £50,000 a year.