THE Federal Government has made it more expensive to study agricultural science.
On January 1, the Government quietly introduced changes to HECS fees for science and mathematics students at university.
The change effectively doubles the tertiary cost of choosing those subjects.
Numerous government inquiries - federal and state - have highlighted the national shortage of agricultural science graduates as holding agriculture and agribusiness back.
About 800 graduates are being produced for more than 8000 jobs.
Before this year, the Federal Government recognised science and mathematics as national priorities which attracted a lower student contribution rate.
The government paid the university the difference to make up the gap.
From January 1, all Commonwealth-supported students enrolled in mathematics and science units of study will be charged at the Band 2 rate.
Students choosing to study agriculture are already charged at the Band 2 rate, along with health, computing and engineering.
Based on 2012 rates, the maximum contribution per full-time student has increased from $4520 to $8050.
Meanwhile, the University of Melbourne has recorded a big increase in the number of offers to students for the Bachelor of Agriculture course in 2013, up 87 per cent to 90 places.
The Dean of the Melbourne School of Environment Professor, Rick Roush, said the figures were encouraging of a renewed interest in the diverse and interesting careers in the agricultural sector.
Victoria has recently produced about 270 graduates annually in agriculture-related degrees.
Higher Education Minister Peter Hall said the recent release of tertiary offers shows vital sections of the economy will have the graduates they need for the future.
"We are on track to have more skilled professionals entering the agriculture, science and education industries," Mr Hall said.
"These future farmers, teachers, scientists and innovators will play a vital role in strengthening our community and driving our economic prosperity," Mr Hall said.
Offers in agriculture increased 14 per cent since 2012.