Agri-Science roles

Provide creative solutions in areas including genetics, sustainability, animal welfare and care; the environment and systems for farmers and farm businesses across New Zealand’s largest industry.

Agricultural Roles

Agricultural Microbiologist

Studying microscopic life forms and processes such as bacteria, plant-associated microbes, plant and animal diseases, and soil microbes. They also develop products and procedures to benefit humans or the environment.


Developing technology for the agriculture sector to make life easier for farmers and their teams, businesses more profitable, care for animals, and/or protect the environment. Your future could be designing technology to ensure world-leading practices and processes continue.

Crop Scientist / Agronomist

Specialising in producing and improving food crops through experiments and developing production methods. They must know how to sample soil, diagnose the nutrients crops need, determine the effectiveness of a nutrient and generally focus on increasing the quality and amount of food produced for humans and other animals.

Plant Geneticist

Researching and implementing ways to improve or create new varieties of plants or crops. In the dairy sector, Plant Geneticists strive toward selecting the best pasture cultivars for dairy farming systems using biotechnology to understand plant breeding and hybridisation.

Animal Roles

Animal Behaviour Scientist

Analysing animal behaviour and attempting to understand the reasons behind it. They work in areas such as conservation, the control of pest species, evolutionary biology, and population ecology, as well as the efficient and humane management of farm animals.

Animal Nutritionist

Studying and understanding the nutritional needs of animals. They might formulate diets or make recommendations based on an animal’s condition and type of physical activity (such as performance, reproduction, lactation, or overcoming nutritional deficiencies), and/or be involved in research or teaching activities.

Animal Geneticist

Analysing the genetic makeup of animals in order to discover which genes optimise important traits such as milk production, immunity and longevity. They research and give advice on breeding programs, to help farmers improve the profitability and sustainability of their herds.

Reproduction / Cow Fertility Scientist

Focussing on improving reproductive performance of animals, enhancing reproductive success and contributing to competitive and resilient farm businesses. In the dairy sector, these scientists help increase reproductive performance in dairy cows, can work on aspects of reproductive physiology, management and selection of more fertile cows, and are all reproductive biology professionals.

Veterinarian / Veterinarian Nurse

Treating sick and injured animals, providing general animal care, and advising about health care and disease prevention for pets and farm (production) animals.

Veterinarian Nurse / Assistant / Technologist / Rural Animal Technician

Helping in the examination, treatment and rehabilitation of sick and injured animals. They also interact with clients and perform receptionist duties.

Science Roles

Environmental Analyst / Scientist

You’ll be working to understand the impact of land use on the environment and using science to develop solutions based on physical catchment considerations like soil and rainfall. You will work on their application to support on-farm change to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and contaminant losses to waterways.

Modeller / Farm Systems Scientist

Using data to examine changes over time and predict future trends. In the dairy sector, Farm Systems Modellers use computer models to simulate the interactions between cows, grass, crops, and management in a farm system. In the environment field, Modellers study data related to pollution, resources, ecosystems, and the climate.

Molecular Biologist

Studying the structures and functions of cells at a molecular level. They are interested in the biochemical processes within the living cells of animals, people, plants, and other living organisms. In the agricultural sector, Molecular Biologists might engineer new crops or study the impact of drugs on safe gene growth.

Research Technician

Supporting scientists by carrying out more of the outdoors, hands-on or laboratory-based measurements required for experiments. They might manage and execute the plan for all the field and laboratory methodologies, undertake data entry and validation, deliver high-quality science results to scientists, and draft reports with the opportunity to co-author publications.

Statistician / Biometrician

Working with data using statistics and applied mathematics to solve problems and give advice to ensure research is statistically sound. They design surveys, questionnaires, investigations, and opinion polls to collect the data they need; and undertake research.

Professional Services

Extension Partner

You’ll work for DairyNZ helping farmers make decisions around people, finances, land and livestock management. You will facilitate the flow of information coming from the research and development teams at DairyNZ to the farmers and back again.


Agri-Science Pathways

Secondary School

Secondary School is a great foundation for your agri-science career. We suggest including subjects like English, Biology, Chemistry, Statistics and Modelling; Science, Maths with Calculus, Economics / Accounting, Geography.

Tertiary education

Ideally, you’ll have a tertiary qualification from a polytechnic or university.

For a career in science

For a science career (Research Technician, Statistician, Farm Advisor or Farm Systems Modeller), but not working as a scientist, you will need an undergraduate degree (Bachelor’s Degree) which generally takes three years’ university study.

To be a scientist

You need a postgraduate qualification (Master’s or Doctorate) which takes four or more years’ university study. You could be an Animal Behaviour Scientist, Plant or Animal Geneticist, Agricultural Microbiologist or Reproduction Scientist. For research-based positions, a postgraduate qualification (Master’s or PhD) is required.

Many tertiary institutions offer agri-business related certificates, diplomas, or degrees. Find out about the course, the campus, city life, and the lifestyle you can expect.


About DairyNZ

DairyNZ is an organisation that, through research, events, services, education and policy, works with dairy farmers to secure and enhance the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of New Zealand dairy farming. New Zealand dairy farmers pay DairyNZ a levy to support them. Find out more at