Growing manager (horticulture)

Growing manager (horticulture)

The growing manager is responsible for the successful production of crops in a sustainable farm business which promotes good environmental practice.
Also known as horticulture growing manager or crop production manager.

This profile highlights the skills and knowledge associated with the role. However, jobs will have varying responsibilities depending on level of the role and the size or type of the business.

The growing manager for horticultural crops will oversee the production of crops grown on the farm. This can be anything from vegetables, salad, herbs or fruit in fields or protected environments. They may have specialist knowledge in a specific area or a range of horticultural crops. 

As a growing manager, your focus is to maximise the productivity of the crops, ensuring all aspects of the growing process adhere to specific farm and legislative standards to promote good environmental practice.  

You'll work closely with the farm manager to plan crop production and field operations to ensure they are carried out timely and cost-effectively. You'll also plan and oversee crop protection, nutrition, and irrigation requirements.  

Your responsibilities will include checking the crops daily to identify any issues, such as the presence of weeds, pests, or diseases, and making recommendations to resolve them.  You'll also liaise with the farm’s agronomist (an expert in the science of soil management and crop production) to discuss ways to improve soil quality and crop health. 

As part of your role, you may be required to use technology, such as farm software, to monitor and record aspects of crop production. You should have a good working knowledge of precision farming strategies and tools to optimise and increase soil quality and predict crop yields more accurately. Precision farming can help reduce waste and has a positive environmental impact.  

The increased use of technology, engineering, and controlled substances also means there is a definite need for a growing manager to promote a safe working culture. To prioritise hazard and risk management, a successful growing manager will ensure all health and safety measures are firmly in place. 

This managerial role will also require regular interaction with a number of stakeholders, both internal and external to the farm – and so will need excellent communication, a teamwork ethic, and a supportive, people-centric approach to management. Above all – excellent listening skills, feedback delivery, and the ability to unlock the potential of others in your team and beyond is essential. 

You may need your own transport to get to work.  

As a growing manager your responsibilities might include: 

  • Walking the fields to identify weed, pest, and disease issues and manage the action plan to resolve them
  • Working closely with the farm agronomist to identify areas of concern and make improvements to enhance production 
  • Working with the farm manager to oversee field operations appropriate to each crop 
  • Supporting the harvest manager to ensure the harvest is completed efficiently and in a timely manner 
  • Planning and managing crop protection, nutrition, and irrigation and recording accordingly 
  • Training, managing, and developing other members of the growing team where required 
  • Following farm protocols for health and safety and ensuring those in your team always adhere to safe working practices  
  • Working to set targets and making recommendations where possible to maximise crop productivity 
  • Ensuring crops and crop protection product records are accurate and up to date  
  • Managing, protecting, and monitoring the farm’s environmental impact by promoting sustainable practices and biodiversity 
  • Managing and monitoring soil health and the application of crop protection products in accordance with legislation 
  • Managing and monitoring the risk of pollutants from crop protection products

To work as a growing manager in the horticulture sector, you should:

  • Be able to lead and inspire others by example 
  • Have excellent planning and organisational skills 
  • Be able to communicate and build relationships effectively 
  • Have good skills in making decisions and solving problems 
  • Be able to delegate tasks to others effectively  
  • Be able to identify and recommend solutions to enhance productivity  
  • Be able to deal with changes effectively

As a growing manager, you'll require experience in horticultural crop management and sustainable farming principles, as well as practical hands-on experience in field cultivation and farm machinery operations. 

You'll also have experience leading or managing others and excellent planning skills.  

Employers may appoint a candidate based on experience alone; however, a relevant qualification in horticulture is also beneficial and may increase your options.  

The role would suit someone with a keen interest and passion for developing their knowledge of crop production and the drive to look for and implement new ideas and innovations to improve crop growth and margin health. 

As a growing manager, you'll have the following competencies in effectively managing crop health to maximise production. Using knowledge and skills, you will:  

  • Manage technical operations to ensure sustainable land use that enhances business and the environment 
  • Manage technical operations, including technology, machinery, vehicles, and structures  
  • Develop strategic and operational plans for cropping alongside the farm manager 
  • Control the quality of crop production to enhance business viability 
  • Effectively manage the use of water to enhance the quality of production 
  • Manage and lead the growing team ensuring health and safety best practice is adhered to and good physical and emotional wellbeing is maintained 
  • Manage the recruitment, training, development, and retention of those you are responsible for 
  • Manage crop production and evaluate cropping systems and types in preparation for planting 
  • Manage crop production to maximise productivity and ensure plant health 
  • Work alongside the harvest manager to ensure a successful harvest in a timely manner 
  • Manage crop production to enhance the sustainability of the business and the environment through careful management of the soil

Download our Growing manager (horticulture) competency profile to find out more about these competencies and how they map with our Capability Framework. 

As a guide, a growing manager can earn anything from £25,000 up to £72,000. This higher figure depends on location, nature of the business, and level of experience.  

As a growing manager, you could progress your career by pursuing on-farm management opportunities such as harvest manager, operations manager or farm manager

You may also wish to consider associated careers, such as working as an agronomist. This may require further study, such as FACTS training. This could help you achieve a consultancy-level role, where you provide a high standard of advice on soil and crop nutrition. 


Courses which can help you on this career path include:

Foundation Level 1 Land-Based Diploma  

Level 2 Diploma in Land and Environment  

Level 3 Diploma in Horticulture  

Level 1 Practical Horticulture  

Level 2 Technical Qualification in Horticulture  

Level 3 Technical Qualification in Horticulture  

RHS Level 2 Practical Certificate in Horticulture (part-time)  

BSc (Hons) Horticulture (Plant Science)  


Crop Technician Level 3 

Assistant Farm Manager Level 4 

Agriculture or Horticulture Professional Advisor Level 6 

TIAH Essential Skills

Our online Essential Skills modules can help you develop your skills and knowledge in various areas and are a great addition to your CV.

Anyone considering working as a growing manager in the horticulture sector would find our BiosecurityCoaching for Staff Retention, and Foundations in Farm Safety courses helpful.

You can find out more about life as a growing manager by listening to Ben Eagle's Meet the Farmers podcast, episode 162.

Return to our job profiles page for more exciting roles in farming and growing.