AgriSETA Learner Connect: Meet a seed analyst

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Finding a job after high school is tough. Dinah Pietersen (51) faced this struggle and leaped at the chance to work in the agri industry. Today, almost 26 years later she is a seed analyst at SciCorp laboratories overseeing the company’s seed testing lab.

A typical day for Pietersen starts with a departmental meeting followed by seed testing, which includes germination-planting of seed and the evaluation of seedlings. Physical purity, this is when you have to take out all the impurities like stones and plant materials as well as identifying  weeds seed that can contaminate in a sample.

A matric certificate and passing a seed science practical course with the University of Pretoria certified by the department of agriculture, fisheries and forestry (DAFF) is how you can qualify to work in this field.

Some of her career highlights include being appointed chairperson of the SANSOR seed analyst standing committee and the day she was given the lab manager position at Agricol seed company. “I never thought I would ever move. But the last one was to assist to get the Scicorp seed lab up and running and succeeded in that,” she adds.

Simply follow the advice below to find out more about getting involved. Also check out many more careers to choose from in the agri sector on Food for Mzansi.

Okay, now it’s over to Dinah Pietersen, seed analyst at SciCorp laboratories:

1Could you sum up your job for us? Oversee the physical seed testing lab.

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2So, what does the day-to-day of your job entail? Department meeting in the morning. Seed testing, which includes germination-planting of seed and evaluation of seedlings. Physical Purity where you have to take out all impurities like  stones, plant materials as well as identifying weed seed in a sample. Doing reports of all samples that was finalized. Handling queries.


What qualification do you need for this career? A matric certificate. A certificate from the Department of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (DAFF) indicating completion of the practical course work and a certificate from University of Pretoria for their course in seed science.

4What are the character traits you need to be great at your job?Accuracy, to enjoy what you are doing, stay positive, overcome every challenge.

5What subjects do I need to become a seed analyst? Biology.


6What do you love about agriculture as a space to work in? There are always challenges. You know the seeds that you are testing will bring food on people’s tables or will be fed for animals.

7Don’t be modest, tell us about your proudest career moments? Getting a permanent post after two weeks of training. When I was appointed chairlady of the SANSOR seed analyst standing committee. Being given the lab manager position at Agricol seed company. I never thought I would ever move, but this last move was to assist to get the Scicorp seed lab up and running and succeeded in that.

8What do you do when you’re not at work? Relax. Road trips is my joy.


9Any advice for young people who are inspired by your career story here on AgriSETA Learner Connect? Know what you want to be or do, take it at heart and go for it.

10Where can I study to become a seed analyst? The university of Pretoria offers the Seed Science short course.

How to listen to AgriSETA Learner Connect:

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