How to become a Farm Hand

Farm hands assist farmers and graziers with growing crops and feeding and raising livestock.

Personal requirements of a Farm Hand

  • Enjoy practical work
  • Able to cope with the physical demands of the job
  • Able to undertake manual and heavy work
  • Able to handle animals with confidence and patience
  • Enjoy working outdoors
  • Able to work for long hours and in all kinds of weather conditions
  • Able to work both in a team and with limited social contact
  • Mechanical aptitude

Education & Training for a Farm Hand

You can work as a farm hand without formal qualifications. You will probably get some informal training on the job. You can also become a farm hand through a traineeship. Entry requirements may vary, but employers generally require Year 10.

Duties & Tasks of a Farm Hand

Farm hands:

  • cultivate soil, sow crops and control weeds by slashing, rotary hoeing or chemical spraying
  • plant ground crops between rows of trees and bushes to control weeds and soil temperatures
  • construct wire trellises (frames) to support vines, berries and fruit
  • take part in harvesting operations using tractors, harvesters, forklifts and hand tools
  • feed livestock and poultry
  • prepare milking machinery and assist with milking operations
  • clean and sterilise farm equipment
  • clear away animal waste and hose out operational areas
  • perform other tasks involved with the breeding and raising of livestock, such as shearing, dipping, branding, crutching, gelding, marking and assisting with artificial insemination
  • ride horses or motorbikes to muster sheep or cattle
  • maintain and repair farm buildings, bores, fences, machinery, troughs, windmills and other equipment.

Working conditions for a Farm Hand

Farm hand work can be physically demanding. During lambing, calving, mustering, harvesting or fruit picking time, farm hands may be required to work long and irregular hours. Accommodation may be provided by the employer on the property.

Employment Opportunities for a Farm Hand

There are opportunities to progress quickly, once skills are obtained, and to specialise in certain areas, including agribusiness enterprises. Skilled farm hands may undertake further study and, in time, become farm managers, enter into share-farming partnerships or purchase their own farming operation. Others go on to work in businesses and government agencies that service rural communities and farmers/farm managers.

Avg. weekly wage:


Future growth:


Employment by state:

ACT 0%

NSW 22.2%

NT 0.7%

QLD 20.6%

SA 17%

TAS 1.6%

VIC 28.1%

WA 9.6%

Hours worked:



Average unemployment

Gender split:

Male 74%

Female 26%

Education level:

Highest qualification is secondary school: 16.8%

Highest qualification is a Certificate 3 or 4: 27.1%

Highest qualification is a Diploma or Advanced Diploma: 3.9%

Highest qualification is a Bachelor degree: 14.2%

Highest qualification is a Postgraduate Diploma or Graduate Certificate: 0.6%

Age brackets:

15-19 - 0.1%

20-24 - 6.1%

25-34 - 26.8%

35-44 - 22.6%

45-54 - 19.5%

55-59 - 8.2%

60-64 - 7.1%

65 and Over - 9.5%

*The data above is sourced from the Department of Employment’s Job Outlook website.

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