Assistant managers assist with the day-to-day management activities linked to farm production. You will implement farm policies and plans including day-to-day planning and staff management in the absence of the farm manager or farm owner.
Completing documentation required on farm, with minimal support. Ensuring all farm policies are implemented. Gathering information on farm to influence feeding decisions i.e. farm walks and grass cover. Knowledge and understanding of production targets. Carrying out a feed budget and working out when supplementary feed is needed. Also understanding if cows are being fed the correct amount by analysing post grazing residuals.
You will have overall responsibility for all milking activities, troubleshooting, rectifying problems and knowing when further advice or help is required. Keeping an eye on the tanker docket. Helping to shape decisions regarding drying off through discussions with Farm Manager.
Implementing the preventative animal health programme for common health issues including mastitis, milk fever, lameness, grass staggers and ketosis. Monitoring and reporting cow condition including body scoring and discussing their management. Implementing the mating plan, including the management of non-cycling cows and synchronising cows. Managing calving in farm manager’s absence. Diagnosing, treating and knowing when to seek further assistance for animal health problems. Undertaking good animal welfare practice.
Planning farm tasks ahead of time and knowing what preparation and supplies are needed. Be aware of monthly cash flows. Monitoring operational key performance indicators (KPI’s) and reporting results.
Working within consent guidelines and proactively taking steps to ensure there is no breach of consents. Knowing and managing factors which impact on waterways.
Training new staff. Allocating jobs within the team. Running the farm in the farm manager’s absence. Responsible for the wellbeing, wellness and health and safety of staff.
Ella Wharmby had barely stepped foot on a farm before embarking on a career that combines her passion for food, animals and the environment. After studying a Bachelor of Agri-science, she went on farm.
It’s recommended you study maths, sciences and business. IT skills are also important.
What to study
You can study a Certificate, Diploma or Degree qualification before you get a job or study part time while you work.
Assistant managers ideally require one to two years’ experience working as a herd manager and a minimum of three to four years on farm.
Assistant manager training can be a mixture of formal and informal training. As people progress, there can be additional emphasis on written and verbal communication skills. The following training is in addition to the skills and experience you’ve gained and training and education you’ve completed in previous dairy farming roles (farm assistant and herd manager).
Get a mentor
A mentor is someone already working or familiar with the career you choose; someone you respect and can use as a sounding board for your ideas.