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Farm worker Farm labourer

Farm workers do agricultural work with livestock, crops or machinery.

Salary, a pound sign Salary: £13,000 to £25,000 average per year
Hours, a clock face Hours: Variable per week

1. Entry requirements

There are no set requirements, but experience and knowledge of farm work, or an agricultural qualification, will be helpful.

To work on a dairy farm you may need training or experience in handling a herd and operating milking machinery, or you could learn on the job.

You could get into this job through an apprenticeship.

2. Skills required

You'll need:

  • practical skills
  • a willingness to work flexibly

3. What you'll do

Your day-to-day tasks will vary depending on the type of farm and the time of year, but may include:

  • working with animals (transporting, milking, feeding, mucking out and caring for sick or newborn livestock)
  • ploughing fields, sowing seeds, spreading fertiliser, crop spraying and harvesting
  • operating farm machinery
  • maintaining and cleaning farm buildings and machinery
  • laying and trimming hedges
  • digging and maintaining ditches
  • erecting and mending fences

You'll be supervised by the farm owner or manager, and you may supervise casual staff.

4. Salary

Starter: £13,000

Experienced: £14,000 to £25,000

Many farm workers are given free or low-rent accommodation on the farm or a lodging allowance. Overtime may also be available.

These figures are a guide.

5. Working hours, patterns and environment

Farming is seasonal and the workload varies. You'll usually work at least 39 hours a week and be expected to work paid overtime when necessary.

Early morning, evening and weekend work are all common. This is a physically active role, so you'll need a reasonable level of fitness.

You'll usually need a driving licence.

Farm work can be dirty and dusty. It may not suit you if you suffer from allergies like hay fever.

6. Career path and progression

With qualifications and experience, you could progress to supervisor or unit manager on a large farm. You may have to move between farms to gain experience and promotion.

You could also become an agricultural contractor, supplying services to several farms, servicing machinery or working in agricultural equipment and supplies.

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Last updated: 12 April 2017

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