Do you love the idea of working on a dairy farm and carrying out a range of dairy jobs, but are unsure about what is involved and what this will be like? This isn't surprising, as the role of the dairy farmer is constantly evolving and requires many different skills and abilities. The dairy farmer's role is most certainly a complex one with a range of dairy jobs needing to be undertaken every day of the year. Below we explore more about what's involved in working on a dairy farm and the essential skills and practices that all dairy workers need to embrace.
You need to care about animals
The most important quality you need to have is a love of animals, and in particular, a passion for dairy cows - you won't do well in this type of farm work if you don't. As a dairy farmer you will be responsible for the health of all your dairy herd, although you will need to call on the services of a vet for regular health check-ups and any big health concerns that may need looking at. Your dairy cows will be your number one priority. Without cows there is no profit, so they need to be well cared for and should take up much of your daily work schedule.
A love of producing food
Without dairy cows there is no milk, and without milk there is no butter, cheese or cream. A love of providing food for the local community and further afield is what drives many dairy farmers to do what they do each day. It's also important to provide the right type of food for the dairy cows, with many dairy farmers growing their own hay for the cattle's food. This self-sufficiency also leads to greater productivity and increased profits.
Operating the milking machine
As a farm worker you are responsible for all aspects of animal care, and this will involve the use of milking machines. So, you will have to ensure their safe operation, which will involve carrying out regular maintenance checks. You will of course be given full training.
You have to be a team player
One person cannot run a dairy farm alone. It takes a well-oiled team of dedicated professionals to run and maintain a dairy farm. So it's important that you are a team player. You'll need to enjoy being a vital part of the team and when new to this industry, you'll very much learn on the job, working closely with other farm workers. If you love working outdoors and with people, then you'll enjoy working on the farm and looking after dairy cows.
It's a part of your life
When you opt for a life working on a dairy farm, then you are opting for a certain lifestyle choice. This is not just a job; it is a vocation and an integral part of your life. It is not a nine to five job with every weekend off. You'll be working shifts, early mornings, long into the night. This career requires dedication and a thirst for working in the farm environment, and a working day can begin as early as 3 am, so you really need to carefully consider if these working hours are suitable for you and if you are dedicated enough to keep to these hours.
A Jack of all trades
You really will have to put your mind, and body, to a series of different tasks and challenges when you work on a dairy farm. When caring for the cows you'll have to be part technician when in the milking sheds, and part vet when looking after their health needs. Then, when on the farm you'll need to tend the land and ensure its suitability for the dairy herd, while ensuring that there is plenty of food and shelter.
You'll work to a strict routine
Cows thrive on routine and so you'll find that your working day is also set to a strict routine. So, if you love things done in an orderly fashion and like to stick to a daily schedule, dairy farming is a good choice for you. You will find that you are doing the same things, at the same time each day. So, the herd will be milked at the same times each day. They are reassured by this routine and will know exactly where to go. This need for routine will also help you, as the cows are easier to manage when they follow their routine.
You get to work in the country
One of the biggest perks in choosing dairy farming as your career is that you get to work outdoors in the beautiful countryside. This is obviously a huge bonus if the idea of being stuck indoors, in an office, behind a computer screen, fills you with dread. When you work on a dairy farm, you'll be breathing in fresh air every day while observing stunning countryside views. If you love the great outdoors then dairy farming will be a good choice of career.
Mentally and physically exhausting
Finally, you have to be fully aware that the life of a dairy farmer is an exhausting one, both physically and mentally. It is incredibly labour intensive, and as such you need to be physically fit. You'll be spending most of your day on your feet doing physical work, such as fetching, carrying and ferrying cows. And on top of this is the fact that it is a job that entails critical thinking and problem solving. You also need to be ready for work when your boots hit the soil in the early hours of the morning. But, if you love your job this won't be a problem.
If you would like more information about the career path of farm workers and the range of dairy jobs and farm workers jobs that are available to you, then please do browse our website to learn more about this exciting career path.
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