Assistant manager

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.

Animal health

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.

Career story

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.

Ella Wharmby | Assistant Manager

“I’ve always had a love for production of food and the outdoors. I think It’s really important to be empathetic towards the animals; If I lose that then I won’t be doing my job properly.”





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.

Additional training

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).


Primary ITO

  • Production Management – For people with several years’ experience looking to move into more responsible positions on farm with a focus on farm production
  • Effective Leadership Level 3 – For aspiring and current supervisors, managers or employers responsible for staff



Job searches

Ask around or approach a farm. Check out DairyNZ, Farm Source jobs, Trade Me jobs, Seek or Indeed.


Earn while you learn. Be part of your local farming community with Federated Farmers Apprenticeship Dairy.

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.


NZ Young Farmers is a progressive and dynamic social network for rural youth. Dairy Women’s Network is a vibrant community of women.

Got a question? Contact us

About DairyNZ

DairyNZ is an organisation that, through research, events, services, education and policy, works with dairy farmers to secure and enhance the profitability, sustainability and competitiveness of New Zealand dairy farming. New Zealand dairy farmers pay DairyNZ a levy to support them.