Summary of occupation
Beef cattle farmers organise and manage beef cattle production, which includes livestock breeding and raising, sale and purchase of cattle, budgeting and business management, and staff management. They also look after maintenance of the property including fences, equipment and water supply systems. Beef cattle farmers usually work in rural regions in the northern rangelands and south and south-west of the State.
Plans, organises, controls, coordinates and performs farming operations to breed and raise beef cattle for meat and breeding stock.
Beef Cattle Farm Manager, Beef Cattle Grazier
A beef cattle farmer needs:
- an interest in beef cattle production and to be comfortable working with animals
- mechanical aptitude and able to work with computers
- planning, analysing and problem-solving abilities
- the ability to manage a team and work independently with limited social contact
- good communication and organisational skills
- to enjoy working outdoors.
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.
On average, beef cattle farmers, classified under livestock farmers, can expect to earn $1 712 per week ($89 008 per year) depending on the organisation they work for and their level of experience.
Many beef cattle farmers 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.
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.
You can work as a beef cattle farmer without formal qualifications; however skills in farm management or livestock 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 or a related field.
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, agricultural science or animal science.
Most 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.