Farm manager

Farm managers are responsible for meeting farm goals, including all aspects of production, stock, environmental and staff management. You are likely to be involved in the budgeting process, but will not set the budget.



Monitoring seasonal weather events and assessing how they will affect the farm system (e.g. pasture growth rates and pasture damage). Balancing production and cost to meet farm policy. Planning and implementing pasture improvement programme including deciding which paddocks need re-grassing. Implementing cropping policy on farm.


Organise herd tests as per farm policy. Monitoring records and/or ensuring only quality information goes to the operations manager.

Animal health

Putting together breeding programmes that maximise genetic gain. Coordinating with breeding company and vet regarding mating plan requirements. Setting and monitoring the calving and calf rearing plan to meet farm policy. Setting annual plans for animal health programmes. Deciding whether to cull or treat stock.


Ordering supplies at most economical price. Organising all contractors to meet farm policies and budgets. Maintaining knowledge of and planning to meet key performance indicators. Monitoring and working within budget guidelines for cost/expenses. Maintaining knowledge of cost of production.


Setting effluent plan and monitoring system. Making sure all plans are implemented, monitored and up to date to meet compliance requirements. Following milk processor’s quality assurance practices.


Creating rosters for staff, including calf rearers or seasonal employees. Allocating role responsibilities i.e. who does what. Monitoring performance. Conflict resolution. Allocating the appropriate training relevant to the budget and individuals training needs. Building a team culture that supports the farms goals and values. Staff gap analysis and assessing/implementing training requirements.

Career story

Dairy farming is many jobs.

Hayley Hoogendyk | Farm Manager

“Anyone who grows up in town and has no background in farming can go into dairy farming and become successful.”




Ideally you will have a minimum of five years’ experience working on farm and will have gained an overview of all the required elements needed for farm management. You will also have experience managing staff.

What and where to study

Additional to the skills and experience you’ve gained, and the training and education you’ve completed in previous dairy farming roles (up to assistant manager), formal and informal training may include the following.


Polytechnic qualifications

  • Diploma in Agribusiness Management
  • Human Resource Module
  • Resource Management and Planning Module
  • Business
  • Financial Planning and Management Module
  • Mastitis Management

University qualifications

  • Diploma in Farm Management
  • Bachelor of Agriculture
  • Bachelor of Agricultural Science
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Agriculture)



    Getting into a job

    Job searches

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

    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.