Herd Manager

Salary $65,000 – $77,000 incl. accommodation

Herd Manager - Dairy Farming


As a Herd Manager you may have some staff working under you or be responsible for completing key areas of work. You should only require limited supervision for most tasks on farm.

Often Herd Managers have come from a Farm Assistant role. While no management experience is required, the desire to support and supervise staff is critical to your success.

Ideally you’ll have a minimum of five years’ experience working on farm and will have gained an overview of all the required elements needed for farm management. You’ll also have experience managing staff.


Herd Managers take responsibility for some day–to-day operations, running the dairy shed and other routine tasks.

You may be responsible for the day-to-day tasks of feeding one herd which could involve allocating feed, putting up fences and feeding supplement. You’ll generally be working with your manager to optimise the amount of feed the cows consume.

You’ll understand and implement efficient milking practices and keep the farm dairy hygienic. You’ll record health treatments and solve milk quality problems.

Animal Health
You’ll diagnose common ailments and treat these accordingly. You’ll be competent in all aspects of calving and reproduction, e.g. observation and recording of on-heat cows.

You’ll understand regulations and management of nutrients, effluent and water and their most efficient use. This may involve shifting the effluent spreader and, along with your manager, keeping an eye on the system to ensure it’s working well. It can also involve fencing and planting trees and plants along waterways to help improve the farm’s environmental impact.

Career story

From nursing to dairy farming – you don’t need experience to get started. Melissa studied nursing and spent a year in California before starting work on a dairy farm and is now a Herd Manager in Canterbury. She loves the freedom of working outdoors and the fact that no two days are ever the same.

Additional Training

A large range of training is available for herd managers and since you are still in a supervised role, there is opportunity for you to ask your manager questions.


Primary ITO

  • Livestock Feeding Level 3 – For those who’ve been working on a dairy farm for at least one year
  • Dairy Farming Level 4 – Recommended for Herd Managers looking to move into positions of more responsibility on farm

Dairy Training

Dairy Training works with Primary ITO to deliver off-job courses throughout New Zealand for NZQA levels 2-6. Training is vocational, meaning you learn while in employment.


Herd managers work closely with the farm manager or farm owner. You’ll have opportunities to ask questions and be shown how to do tasks.


  • Calf rearing – Basic
  • Lameness – The Healthy Hoof programme focuses on prevention of lameness in conjunction with information and training on management and treatment of lame cows
  • Biz Start – Designed to meet the needs of farmers looking to progress
  • Healthy Udder – Improve systems and practices on individual farms

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.