Senior Farmhand

Note: Completion of a TAFE SA course does not guarantee an employment outcome. Formal requirements other than educational qualifications (eg licensing, professional registration), may apply to some occupations.

Job Prospects
Openings 5 years to November 2020: <5,000
Median weekly earnings: $951 to $1,100
Australian Government Department of Employment projections to 2020
A career as Senior Farmhand combines an active outdoor lifestyle with the opportunity to use your organisational, planning and management skills.

TAFE SA courses that may be relevant for: Senior Farmhand

Accredited (Award)

  • The role of a Senior Farmhand involves assisting Farm Managers/Farm Overseers with daily duties of growing crops or producing livestock in addition to any associated office and administrative duties. Farm managers are generally responsible for the running of an entire enterprise or specific sections such as a piggery, dairy, poultry, sheep or cropping programmes. Their duties are typically extensive and varied.

  • Workers normally have at least 5 years of relevant experience and many have a Vocational Education and Training (VET) qualification.

    TAFE SA offers courses relevant to this occupation including the Certificate II and III in Agriculture.

    Still unsure? Then try a short course also offered through TAFE SA - check the website for short courses available.

  • There are currently a number of changes taking place in the farming sector and because of these, the ability to adapt is critical. Certificates in Agriculture and Rural Business are a pathway to this type of career. Trade skills and animal care are highly desirable but not mandatory.

  • Some of a Senior Farmhand's tasks might include rotating livestock in paddocks, preparing milking machinery and assisting with milking operations, removing the tails of lambs, mustering, drenching, dipping, shearing sheep, clearing away animal waste and hosing out operational areas. You are also likely to be preparing animal food, participate in breeding programs, controlling pests and weeds, repairing farm buildings, yards and property, as well as maintaining financial and farming records. Assistant Farm Managers also assist with or manage pasture and stock breeding programs, buy and sell stock, machinery and farming materials and supervise other farm staff.

    You will need to be adaptable and versatile, as you will be expected to carry out practical farm skills as well as maintain financial records and develop comprehensive short and long term property management strategies. Organisational skills and the ability to plan ahead are also important, as farmers and farm managers have to apply different strategies to protect themselves from unpredictable changes in the market for agricultural products. Such strategies might include carefully planning the combination of crops grown, so that if the price of one crop drops, sufficient income can be yielded from other crops. In some cases, livestock can be kept and crops stored, in order to take advantage of better prices at a later time.

  • Senior Farmhands need to possess a wide range of skills from the practical ability needed to weld, repair and operate a range of equipment and tending to livestock needs, to the management skills or organising resources, budgeting and marketing produce. It is not an easy job, but definitely a rewarding one according to those in the industry. Computing skills are also desirable, as many farmers and managers now use computers to keep records and to manage farm operations such as breeding.

  • The average work week is 55 hours compared to 40 hours per week for other occupations. Majority of farmers and farm managers work in the Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing services industry.

    Much of the on a farm is outdoors and Senior Farmhands are often exposed to harsh climatic conditions. The working day starts early in the morning and it's fairly usual to work during the weekends. Hours vary and you can be working for as many as 18 hours a day during the busy months. The work can also be hazardous and carries a risk of injury from machinery. For this reason, an awareness of farm safety practices is important and it is essential to be always alert on the job.