Summary of occupation
Mixed crop and livestock farm workers, also known as farm hands, assist with general farming duties, such as growing crops and raising livestock. From crop farming in the Wheatbelt to dairy farming in the South West, they work in a variety of location all over rural WA. Their job is to conduct routine tasks every day to help the farm run smoothly. These tasks include sowing and harvesting crops, weed control, repairing fences and machinery, feeding livestock, cleaning animal stables or pens, milking cows, mustering sheep and cattle, and assisting with the breeding procedures of livestock.
Performs routine tasks in crop cultivation and animal production.
Farm hand, General Farm Hand
A mixed crop and livestock farm worker needs:
- good physical fitness and stamina
- to enjoy practical and mechanical work
- to be adaptable, responsible and reliable
- confidence and patience when handling animals
- to enjoy working outdoors
Mixed crop and livestock farm workers work outdoors and in all weather conditions, from the hot and dusty Rangelands in the north of the state to the cooler and wetter South West Agricultural region. These workers should also be prepared for social isolation, as farm hands frequently live on or near the farm where they work. Their hours can be irregular and, especially during busy times of the year such as breeding or harvesting, they can be required to work long hours.
On average, mixed crop and livestock farm workers can expect to earn between $800 and $999 per week ($41 600 and $51 999 per year) depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience. As a mixed crop and livestock farm worker develops their skills, their earning potential will generally increase.
Mixed crop and livestock farm workers use agricultural machinery like ploughs, tractors, trucks, motorbikes and pesticide spraying equipment. Depending on the type of farm they are working on they may also use manual or automated milking equipment, shearing equipment, as well as basic handheld tools such as hammers, drills and shovels.
To become a mixed crop and livestock farm worker you usually need to complete a formal qualification in agriculture, rural operations or production horticulture.
The Certificate II and Certificate III in Agriculture, Certificate II and Certificate III in Rural Operations, and the Certificate II and Certificate III in Production Horticulture are offered at registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can complete a traineeship. The farm hand (bees and crops), (grain), (poultry and vegetable crops), (production horticulture); assistant cattle farm hand; assistant farm hand (dairy); piggery farm hand; sheep and wheat farm hand; sheep and wool farm hand; mushroom farm hand; orchard worker; and rural operations worker traineeships usually take 12 months to complete and are available as school-based traineeships.
You can also complete a cattle station hand, dairy farm hand, grain hand, mushroom farm worker, orchard farm worker, vegetable farm worker, senior station hand (sheep and wool), and rural operations senior farm hand traineeship. These traineeships usually take 12 to 18 months to complete.
You can work as a mixed crop and livestock farm worker without any formal qualifications and get training on the job.
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.
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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.