How to become a Agricultural Contractor. Read through our comprehensive job guide to learn more about this career.
What does an Agricultural Contractor do
As an agricultural contractor, you would supply services such as the following:
- crop spraying and fertiliser application
- hedge cutting
- mobile seed processing (using machinery to sort and clean seed and grain ready for planting)
- harvesting crops
- weed control
- livestock work such as lambing, sheep shearing and sheep dipping.
You could also do general work such as fencing, drainage and earth moving.
You would work on short contracts, depending on when the services you offer are needed by farmers and other employers.
Your working hours would vary according to the time of year and the service you offer. During busy periods, you would be likely to work long, irregular hours, including evenings and weekends.
Depending on the type of service you provide, you might work on an on-call system to provide continuous cover, for example during lambing season.
You would often be outside in all weather conditions, sometimes working in noisy or dirty surroundings. Your work could be physically demanding, involving a lot of lifting and the use of heavy tools and equipment.
You would need to travel between different contracts, and possibly drive as part of your work.
How much does an Agricultural Contractor earn?
Earnings vary depending on the employer and type of work. Minimum rates of pay for farm work are set by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA). Visit the farm workers section of the Business Link website for details.
- Business Link
To become an agricultural contractor, you would need experience of relevant agricultural work. Qualifications are not usually essential, although it could be useful to develop your skills and knowledge by attending courses. These are available on various levels, for example
- Level 2 Certificate/Diploma in Agriculture
- BTEC Level 3 Certificate/Diploma in Agriculture.
For some tasks, like operating chainsaws or using pesticides, you are required by law to be trained and competent. The National Proficiency Test Council (NPTC) awards certificates of competence for chainsaw use and for other areas related to agriculture. Visit the NPTC website for details.
Training and Development
As an agricultural contractor, you can develop and add to your skills by attending a variety of courses. For example, if you work in activities such as sheep shearing, crop spraying or ploughing, you can do a number of short courses run by the NPTC.
You could also complete work-based qualifications such as the Certificate/Diploma in Agriculture at levels 2 and 3.
Skills and Knowledge
- practical agricultural skills and knowledge
- the ability to use and maintain plant and machinery
- an understanding of health and safety issues
- flexibility and the ability to deal with problems as they occur
- the ability to manage your time and work to deadlines
- the ability to work both alone and as part of a team.
Agricultural contractors are self employed and work on a ‘job-by-job’ basis. This can involve working in different parts of the country, depending on where work is available.
You may find the following link useful for job vacancies and general reading. There are many job vacancies on the job sites online. Trying searching farm related jobs on:
– CV Library
– Total Jobs