Farm Assistant

Salary $55,000 – $67,000 incl. accommodation
Farm Assistant - Dairy Farming


Farm Assistants don’t always need formal training to get a position on a farm.
We recommend you study maths, sciences, and business while at secondary school.
IT skills are also important.

Most employers will consider your attitude and personal qualities. You can expect to receive a large amount of informal on-the-job training. Farm Assistants work closely with a Farm Manager or Farm Owner, you’ll have opportunities to ask questions and be shown how to do tasks.

You can study a Certificate, Diploma or Degree qualification before you get a job or study part time while you work.


You’ll be helping to feed the cows, calves and any other stock on the farm. You may be involved with allocating the feed and driving machinery to feed it out and checking to make sure the animals have had enough to eat.

The engine room of any dairy farm and where you can get your hands dirty. You’ll be putting cups on cows and learning how the milk gets from the cows to the vat for collection.

Animal Health
Keeping an eye on the cows will be a crucial part of your role. You’ll work with your manager to identify and help any animals with problems while also getting involved with things like reproduction, herd testing and preventative measures such as drenching calves.

This may involve shifting the effluent spreader and keeping an eye on the system along with your manager to make sure it’s working well. It can also involve spraying, fencing, and planting trees and plants along waterways to help improve the farm’s environmental impact.

Career story

Edward Roskham started in the sector as a Farm Assistant, with an eye on career progression. Now, with four seasons of experience under his belt, he’s second in charge on a 500 cow dairy farm in Roto-o-Rangi. Find out more about his journey and see where dairy can take you.

Additional Training


Primary ITO

  • L3 Dairy Livestock Husbandry – gain skills and knowledge in dairy breeding, health and husbandry
  • L3 Milk Harvesting – for those new to the sector
  • Quad bike licence



  • Farm discussion groups
  • QuickPlan – develop a life plan within two hours
  • Personal budgeting templates
  • MilkSmart – practical tips, advice, and ideas for milking smarter
  • CalvingSmart – practical tips for pre and post calving

Agri-science or agri-business sound more like you?

There are plenty of options in dairy

About DairyNZ

DairyNZ is an industry-good organisation that helps farmers lead the world in sustainable dairying by investing in research, new solutions and advocacy.