Summary of occupation
In Western Australia, grain, oilseed or pasture growers plan, organise and manage the production of crops such as wheat, oats and barley, oilseeds (for example canola), and ryegrass for pasture crops. They manage farming operations including the harvesting and storage of produce, the sale of produce, budgeting and business management, staff management, and property maintenance. They usually work in rural regions ranging from the north through to the south and south-west of the State.
Plans, organises, controls, coordinates and performs farming operations to grow grain, oilseed, protein and pasture crops.
Grain, Oilseed or Pasture Farm Manager
A grain, oilseed or pasture grower needs:
- an interest in crop production and cultivation methods
- planning, analysing and problem-solving abilities
- mechanical aptitude and able to work with computers
- good communication and organisational skills
- the ability to manage a team and work independently
- to enjoy working outdoors.
Grain, oilseed or pasture growers work on the farm in an office setting and outdoors in the fields in all kinds of weather. They work long hours every day and during harvest season these hours can increase substantially. They operate heavy machinery, and chemicals and fertilisers are used in crop production. Adhering to occupational health and safety standards largely reduces the risk of injury.
On average, grain, oilseed and pasture growers, classified under crop farmers, can expect to earn $1 614 per week ($83 993 per year) depending on the organisation they work for, and their level of experience.
Many grain, oilseed and pasture growers own and manage their own business. Earnings will depend on the level of demand for their products, commodity prices, and local and international markets, as well as expenses associated with running the farm, and weather conditions.
Grain, oilseed or pasture growers use heavy machinery including tractors, header/combine harvesters and mobile plants such as grain silos. Protective clothing such as gloves, goggles, coveralls, high visibility clothing and broad-brimmed hats are generally worn to minimise risks. They also need to be proficient with computers and may need to use specialised farm management software.
You can work as a grain, oilseed and pasture grower without formal qualifications, however skills in farm management or crop production are usually required. You may be able to gain these skills through work experience in a related role or by completing a formal qualification in agriculture.
The Diploma of Agriculture is offered at TAFE Colleges and other registered training organisations throughout Western Australia.
You can also complete a degree majoring in agribusiness or agricultural science.
Some universities in Western Australia offer relevant courses. Contact the universities you are interested in for more information.
Apprenticeships and traineeships
As an apprentice or trainee, you enter into a formal training contract with an employer. You spend most of your time working and learning practical skills on the job and you spend some time undertaking structured training with a registered training provider of your choice. They will assess your skills and when you are competent in all areas, you will be awarded a nationally recognised qualification.
If you are still at school you can access an apprenticeship through your school. You generally start your school based apprenticeship by attending school three days a week, spending one day at a registered training organisation and one day at work. Talk to your school's VET Co-ordinator to start your training now through VET in Schools. If you get a full-time apprenticeship you can apply to leave school before reaching the school leaving age.
If you are no longer at school you can apply for an apprenticeship or traineeship and get paid while you learn and work.
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If you think you already have some of the skills or competencies, obtained either through non-formal or informal learning, you may be able to gain credit through recognition of prior learning.