Life on the Farm

A day in the life.

Select from the following times below to find out more about a day in the life of a typical New Zealand dairy farmer.

5 am - Take the cows to milking

life_on_the_farm_5am If it is your turn to get the cows in, it's time to get up, grab a quick bite to eat and jump on the motorbike to bring in the cows for milking.

6 am - Inside the milking shed

life_on_the_farn_6am The cows get to the milking shed and the rest of the team joins you to start milking. The cows' health and wellbeing are monitored while there are heading through the cowshed. Lame or sick looking cows are seperated for further examination, and a vet is called if needed.

7 am - Hosing down

life_on_the_farm_7am With milking over, it's time to shut the cows back in the paddock, hose down and clean the milking shed, just in time to join the family for breakfast.

8 am - Family breakfast

life_on_the_farm_8am Breakfast

9 am - Jobs to do

life_on_the_farm_9am There are chores to be done around the farm. These may be inside jobs such as making appointments to meet with your rural professionals, planning, purchasing or booking machinery or outside jobs like feeding out, setting up grazing for the herd, fencing or machinery upkeep or spraying for weeds in paddocks the cows have finished grazing.

12 pm - Lunch

life_on_the_farm_12pm Lunch

1 pm - Outdoor tasks

life_on_the_farm_1pm More chores, there is plenty of field work that needs to be done in between milking times. Jobs to be done take a broad range of skills from good business and financial skills to working with machinery, growing and harvesting paddocks and caring for animals. You may spend time in the office as farmers need to keep records of everything that happens on their farm, such as veterinarian visits, purchases and schedules. You may also get time off work to take further training such as an AgITO course or to attend a local DairyNZ event.

2 pm - Take the cows to milking

Someone gets the cows in for milking. Sometimes on hot days, others take time off for a swim and cool off before afternoon milking.

3 pm - Inside the milking shed

life_on_the_farm_3pm The rest of the team joins in for afternoon milking. It usually takes seven to 10 minutes to milk each cow. The shed must be hosed and cleaned down again, while the cows are walking back to the paddock.

5 pm - In the office


The day finishes, however at certain times of the year, like calving time, a few jobs remain to be done. Farmers may observe calving cows and assist them as needed. Cows can give birth any time, so during some nights sleep can be interupted.

Farm Source Jobs

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