Livestock Farming

By ACS Distance Education on January 30, 2019 in Animals, Careers & Jobs Success | comments
There are many jobs in the livestock and farming industries, from permanent employees such as the farm manager, stock person and farm hand to temporary staff such as shearers and blacksmiths.

Scope of Work

Farm animals need constant management. Farmers commonly tend to focus on one type of animal; most commonly:

  • Cattle -beef or dairy
  • Equine - horses
  • Sheep or Goats
  • Pigs
  • Poultry - chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys
  • Other animals (less widely farmed), including alpaccas, deer, camels

When animals breed they need extra care; and newborn animals will usually need special treatment. If animals are grown for fibre or milk; they need to be shorn or milked at the appropriate times; and treated appropriately afterwards.

Livestock farmers need to think about: animal location and well-being, moving livestock onto fresh pasture, in and out of a milking shed, in and out of places where they receive veterinary treatments.  Health must be monitored, and treatments administered if needed. Livestock need to be provided with food and water.

When selling animals you need to think about: When animals are to be sold, they need to be moved to a transport point, loaded, then transported with minimal stress to the animal.

What You Need to Learn

  • Livestock husbandry – appropriate to the animals being kept, caring for young, reproduction
  • Animal behaviour – training & handling, equipment &  use
  • Animal health care – identifying ill health, preventative health care, first aid
  • Animal feeding – pasture management, feed supplements, nutrition
  • Irrigation and water supply – ensuring adequate water is available for livestock and/or feed crops
  • Transport – moving animals on your land, moving for sale
  • Maintenance - fencing, machinery and tool operation
  • Management – general farm management and administration
  • Waste management – disposing of or utilising livestock waste
  • Animal handling - to be confident working with animals in close quarters

Starting a Career

There are many different pathways to starting in the livestock industry.

Ways to get started include:

  • volunteer at a local farm to get experience
  • look for adjacent industries, such as dairy production, and take on factory work
  • attend agricultural fairs and events and get to know stallholders
  • go to your local farmer’s market and talk to producers
  • keep an eye out for openings in local industry publications and associations
  • getting involved with community gardens and community-supported agriculture projects
  • join organisations - eg. agricultural societies, young farmers groups
  • Study a short course while getting experience & networking (you need all)
  • look for farm hand traineeships

Progressing a Career

Once you’re comfortable working with livestock, you can work for others or run your own farm or livestock business. Continue developing your networks for new opportunities.

Careers may develop in many different directions over your working life; for example:

  • running your own farm
  • farm management
  • consulting on specialist areas, such as cattle breeding
  • industry representative, talking to policy makers
  • maintenance worker for farm equipment
  • tractor or other machinery operator
  • agricultural tradesperson
  • stock and station agent

To succeed, ensure you invest in further learning (formal or informal). If you want to manage or own a business, make sure you build skills to manage resources, finances and manpower as well as animals.