What they do
Beef cattle farmers organise and manage beef cattle production, which includes livestock breeding and raising, sale and purchase of cattle, soil and water management, as well as budgeting and business management. They also care for the maintenance of the property, which includes fences, equipment and controlling pests and weeds. In Western Australia, beef cattle farmers usually work in rural regions in the northern rangelands, as well as the south and south-west of the state.
Beef cattle farmers work on the farm in an office setting and outdoors in all kinds of weather. They work long hours and during breeding seasons and prime sales periods these hours can increase. They work with animals that may bite and kick, and operate heavy machinery and equipment, which requires adhering to occupational health and safety standards to reduce the risk of injury.
Tools and technologies
Beef cattle farmers use heavy equipment such as tractors, and hand tools to maintain vehicles, fences and windmills. Chemicals are commonly used with farming livestock. Protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, coveralls, and steel toe boots are worn to minimise risks. Beef cattle farmers need to be proficient with computers and may need to use specialised farm management software.
How do I become one?
Education and training
It is possible to work as a beef cattle farmer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in agriculture or a related area.
The Certificate II, III and IV and Diploma of Agriculture are offered at TAFE colleges throughout Western Australia. To find a training provider near you, browse the Jobs and Skills WA website or visit the My Skills website.
You can also undertake a traineeship in agriculture (level 2 or level 3). The traineeships usually take 12 months to complete and the level 2 traineeship is available as a school-based apprenticeship.
You can also complete a degree majoring in agribusiness, agricultural science or animal science. Most universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.