What a dairy farming job involves

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Find out what a typical day is like working on a dairy farm

A job on a dairy farm involves working outside with animals, machinery, technology and occasionally in the office. Taking up a career in dairying means you’re also contributing to feeding the world.

A normal farming day

Your work will vary from day to day and season to season, there are always new things to learn and problems to solve. For someone starting in the industry as a farm assistant or herd manager, your tasks would be:

  • Milking cows in the morning and afternoon
  • Helping to feed the cows – putting up temporary fences in the paddock or feeding silage
  • Collecting the newly calved cows and calves in the springtime
  • Feeding calves
  • Spraying weeds
  • Shifting irrigation

Mihaka Beckham’s story

“A day without laughter is a day wasted”

Mihaka is working on a dairy farm in the Waikato milking 400 cows. Have a look at how he got started and the satisfaction he gets from his job.

What to expect working on a dairy farm

The work may be more physical than you’ve been used to, but you’ll get the added benefit of fitness, without needing a gym membership!

For most farms, milking often starts early in the morning, while this can take a while for you to adjust, you’ll get into a good routine.

A work week of 45-48 hours is common, a good roster and variation of daily tasks, means you probably won’t have early mornings every day.

There are periods of time that will be busier and more demanding than others, there are a few weeks when the cows are ‘dry’ and don’t need to be milked, whereas at calving time and your work day might be a little bit longer than usual.

Working in bad weather isn’t so bad

Farms come with smells and noises, sometimes it can be muddy, wet and cold. Paul works on a farm and shares his reality of working outside in this quick video. 

Hear what the farmers say

In this video we look at some of the myths that people sometimes associate with the working on a dairy farm and get opinions from real farmers out on the farm.

Dairy Farm Training

While you don’t need specific training to get a job on a farm, training and earning while you learn is a great way to expand your knowledge, gain qualifications and progress in the industry. The options for training range from short, practical on farm learning to more traditional, classroom-based qualifications. There are also opportunities to enter dairy industry awards, that recognise people doing great work.

Check out this Primary ITO video where Tangaroa Walker talks about his training opportunities and achievements in the dairy industry.


Dairy Farming

Read stories about people and their journeys to successful dairy sector careers.

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