Grassland Scientist

Grassland science includes all aspects of the conservation, improvement and utilization of natural and established pastures. Grassland scientists answer questions such as how often, how severely and at what time of the year should pasture plants be stripped of their leaves, how many animals can be kept on a certain pastureland and whether it is necessary to put up fences and make camps.

Pasturelands are becoming more and more important due to the increasing demand for food and raw materials, not only because of a weak economy but also because plant topping forms the basis of soil conservation. Besides natural grasslands, cultivated grasslands play an important role in stabilising and enhancing animal production.

Grassland scientists have a thorough knowledge of the ecological and physiological principles of pasture utilisation and the practical application of management principles, aimed at the maintenance, effective utilisation and recovery of natural and cultivated pastures.

The physical and biological planning of a farm must be done in accordance with the principles of grassland science. Pasture programmes for the different livestock must be planned and implemented.

South Africa has more than 70 main veldt types, all of which have their own characteristics as dictated by climate and type of soil, and each has its own specific management requirements. Grassland scientists continually search for additional forage species, which are suitable for local conditions as cultivated pastures. They also try to improve indigenous material and cultivate new varieties.

Personal Requirements

  • love of nature and the outdoors
  • interest in ecology and conservation
  • able to communicate well
  • inquisitive and problem-solving skills
  • aptitude for natural sciences

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

Compulsory Subjects: Mathematics, Physical Science 
Recommended subjects: Geography

What to Study

Degree: Agricultural subjects are offered at UKZN, UFS, UL, UP, NMMU, UNISA, UV, UZ, UFH, NWU, US. Grassland Science - UKZN.

Subjects include Ecology, Taxonomy, Genetics, Pasture Evaluation Techniques, Applied Field Management and Plant Physiology. Microbiology and Statistics are also recommended.

Diploma: Other courses which enable the students to do work of grassland scientific nature are the N.Dip. Nature Conservation - CPUT, TUT


  • Department of Agriculture, especially the Roodeplaat Grassland Institute
  • National Parks Board and different sections of Nature Conservation
  • cooperatives
  • manufacturers of fertilisers
  • seed growers
  • mining companies
  • commercial banks
  • educational institutions
  • self-employment, as private consultant

Further Information

Agricultural Research Council
1134 Park Street, Hatfield
Tel: (012) 427-9700

Getting Started

  • read up as much as possible about different types of grasses
  • try to get a holiday job on a grassland research station
  • make an appointment to speak to a grassland scientist about this type of career

Programmes by Study Institutions

Related Occupations

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