Agribusiness, Horticulture & Fishing
Agricultural Equipment Operator or Contractor
Agricultural equipment operators drive and run farm equipment to churn soil and to plant, grow, and harvest crops.
Junior secondary school certificate or equivalent
What does an Agricultural Equipment Operator or Contractor do?
Agricultural equipment operators drive and run farm equipment to churn soil and to plant, grow, and harvest crops. They may perform tasks such as hay baling or irrigating pastures. They may operate stationary equipment to perform post-harvest tasks, such as husking, threshing, drying and sorting.
As an agricultural equipment operator, you would:
- operate or monitor equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, cultivators, and irrigation equipment
- use control system to correctly set, function, and adjust the machinery
- adjust, repair, and service farm machinery
- observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions
- irrigate crops and pastures, using and maintain portable pipes or ditch systems, and pumps
- mix specified materials or chemicals, and put them into planter or sprayer machinery for distribution.
Key skills and interests
To become an agricultural equipment operator, you would need:
- physical stamina to cope with the demands of the job
- good practical and outdoor work skills
- the ability to work as part of a team
- the ability to work at a constant pace
- to be able to read and understand safety instructions
- the ability to follow precise directions.
Working hours and conditions
Most agricultural equipment operators or contractors work full time, and some operators may have irregular hours, especially when crops need to be harvested or adverse weather conditions are frequent.
Agricultural equipment operators work in all weather conditions. Workers often get dirty, greasy, muddy, or dusty.
Agricultural equipment contractors may travel frequently between contract jobs throughout the district, state or even nationally.
How to become an Agricultural Equipment Operator or Contractor?
Entry Level Education
Many workers learn equipment operation on the job, while others learn through an apprenticeship or by attending private trade schools.
Some agricultural equipment operators work as contractors. They may have their own machinery and contract out the use of these often specialised machines to farmers without their own equipment.
Employment of agricultural equipment operators is projected to remain stable even as the agricultural industry grows.
The continuing ability of the agricultural sector to produce more with fewer workers will result in less demand for agricultural workers. Self-employed contractors are more likely to find increased employment as specialised agricultural equipment is extremely costly to buy and maintain.