What they do
Dairy cattle farmers plan, organise and manage dairy production, which includes the breeding and raising of dairy cattle, milk production, budgeting and business management, and staff management. They also care for the maintenance of the property, which includes mending fences and maintaining milking machines and equipment. Dairy cattle farmers usually work in Denmark, Harvey and the Margaret River region, the three main dairy farming areas in the south-west of Western Australia.
Dairy cattle farmers work on the farm in an office setting and outdoors in all kinds of weather. They work long hours every day as daily milking occurs very early in the morning and again late in the afternoon. 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
Dairy cattle farmers use heavy machines and equipment such as tractors and milking machines, and hand tools to maintain vehicles and fences. Chemicals are commonly used when farming livestock and protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, coveralls, and steel toe boots are worn to minimise risks. Dairy 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 dairy cattle farmer without any formal qualifications and get training on the job. However, entry to into this occupation may be improved by obtaining a qualification in agriculture or a related area.
The Certificate II, III (Dairy Production) 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 traineeship.
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.