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Beef cattle farmer

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Summary of occupation

​Beef cattle farmers organise and manage beef cattle production, which includes livestock breeding and raising, sale and purchase of cattle, budgeting and business management, and staff management. They also look after maintenance of the property including fences, equipment and water supply systems. Beef cattle farmers usually work in rural regions in the northern rangelands and south and south-west of the State.

ANZSCO description: Plans, organises, controls, coordinates and performs farming operations to breed and raise beef cattle for meat and breeding stock.
Alternative names: Beef Cattle Farm Manager, Beef Cattle Grazier
Job prospects: Limited
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Knowledge, skills and attributes

​A beef cattle farmer needs:

  • an interest in beef cattle production and to be comfortable working with animals
  • mechanical aptitude and able to work with computers
  • planning, analysing and problem-solving abilities
  • the ability to manage a team and work independently with limited social contact
  • good communication and organisational skills
  • to enjoy working outdoors.
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Working conditions

​Beef cattle farmers work on the farm in an office setting and outdoors in all kinds of weather. They work long hours and during breeding seasons and prime sales periods these hours can increase. They work with animals that may bite and kick, and operate heavy machinery and equipment, which requires adhering to occupational health and safety standards to reduce the risk of injury. 

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Salary details

Earnings for a beef cattle farmer can vary greatly, depending on their location, level of experience and market demand. Work and earnings may also vary seasonally. As beef cattle farmers develop their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.

Many beef cattle farmers own and manage their own business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their products, commodity prices, and local and international markets, as well as expenses associated with running the farm.

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Tools and technologies

​Beef cattle farmers use heavy equipment such as tractors, and hand tools to maintain vehicles, fences and windmills. Chemicals are commonly used with farming livestock. Protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, coveralls, and steel toe boots are worn to minimise risks. Beef cattle farmers need to be proficient with computers and may need to use specialised farm management software.

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Education and training/entrance requirements

It is possible to work as a beef cattle farmer without formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry to into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in agriculture or a related area.

The Diploma of Agriculture is offered at TAFE colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.  Browse the Jobs and Skills WA and My Skills websites to find a training provider near you.

You can also complete a degree majoring in agribusiness, agricultural science or animal science. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information. Learn more about your study options.

Related courses

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Apprenticeships and traineeships

As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.

If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.

If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.

Related apprenticeships

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Recognition of prior learning

If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.

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