Farm Labour

Looking for work on-farm?

Jobs for on-farm work are advertised on a number of platforms, such as Seek and Facebook, and through specific labour-hire firms.
To support the matching of employees and employers, GPA has developed an online expression of interest form that supports our farm labour register.
Complete the form now to register your skill set and availability for grain harvest jobs.

What’s involved with grain farm work?

As a grain farm employee, you may be needed to:

  • Prepare equipment and machinery for seeding and harvest

  • Undertake summer cropping activities such as cultivating, seeding and applying appropriate fertiliser rates for all crops

  • Carry out harvest activities including crop topping, header driving, local grain delivery, grain testing and record keeping

  • Operate farm machinery including tractors, headers, grain bins and augers

  • Perform re-fuelling, routine maintenance checks and basic machinery servicing (i.e. greasing bearings, checking hydraulic fluid)

  • Transport and set up equipment and gear for the day, including field bins, utes, service vehicles and tractors.


TIP: It is always helpful if you approach tasks with a practical can-do attitude

Be adaptable to different tasks and changing work conditions
Be prepared to move fast if weather or some other issue might put the crop or farm at risk.
 
You can expect the environment during harvest periods to include:

  • Dusty, hot conditions and grain dust/straw and chaff can cause or aggravate allergies

  • Long hours working by yourself with a lot of space around you

  • Working as part of the harvest team

  • A workplace with hazards due to environment and size of machinery being used

  • The need for fast action on fire safety and awareness

  • Potentially limited access to amenities - toilet facilities are not usually available in the paddock

  • Machinery that is intuitive and to drives with technology, such as GPS

  • Mentally challenging work - operating complex machinery for extended periods of time

  • The role may require early morning or night work.

 
When is harvest work available?

The timing and duration of harvest depends on the season and weather conditions.
Cutting hay generally occurs in September and October.
The grain harvest gets underway in Queensland in September, New South Wales in October and Victoria and South Australia in November.
In Western Australia, harvest begins in the northern regions in October, progressively moving south over the next three months as crops ripen.
In most cases, harvest is wrapped up by the end of the year, unless there are interruptions due to wet weather.

 

What does harvest work pay?

Pay rates for grain harvest jobs commonly range from $25 to $35 per hour, plus superannuation. Accommodation and meals might also be provided. Rates and extras will depend on your skill level, training and education. Days can be long - 12 hours or more at times - and the work can be physically and mentally draining, but it is very rewarding for those who enjoy being outdoors and operating large machinery.

GPA Training

GPA Training is an online platform hosting a range of resources to support farm businesses and workers. This includes a comprehensive safety induction, farm safety, fire safety and preparedness, as well as basic grain site delivery familiarisation.

 

Comprehensive safety induction

The Comprehensive Safety Induction course has a range of information on hazard identification, safe work awareness and risk management tools.
The course covers topics on:

  • Managing risk

  • Staying safe

  • Working safely

  • Travelling safely.


Grain receival site safety

The Grain Receival Site Delivery course provides learners with an introduction to grain receival sites, highlighting their hazards and risks. Our long-term goal is to provide industry with a universal, high-level induction that can improve safety standards while saving the grains industry time and money by ending duplication of induction activities.

  • Walking on grain products

  • Chain of responsibility

  • Vehicles on site

  • Working near rail.


Fire safety and preparedness

The Fire Safety And Preparedness course was developed to support industry awareness and preparedness activities on-farm. The information was developed from the Victorian CFA document “On the Land” and the South Australian CFS document “Joint Guidelines for Operating Farm Fire Units”. The course walks learners through the safety aspects of fire on-farm with topics on:

  • Understanding fire

  • Prepare yourself

  • Prepare your equipment

  • Prepare your property

  • Responsibilities

  • Farm activities

  • Responding to fire.


The Fire Safety and Preparedness course does not cover firefighting methods and techniques, which are best undertaken through rural fire services.


Cropping and grazing safety

The Cropping and Grazing Safety course offers safety training specifically targeted at mixed farming, with an emphasis on grain. A significant number of Australian farming businesses are family farms and the course gives those farmers the resources to deliver corporate-style learning at a fraction of the cost.

  • Safety on farm

  • Managing risks

  • Farm machinery

  • Livestock

  • Farm workshops

  • Other farm risks.


Company site delivery induction

Balco Australia is an export hay company that operates in South Australia and Western Australia. The company uses our comprehensive safety induction along with a short company-specific course for their grower and carrier inductions. Their course covers topics such as unloading protocols on-site, legal load restraint and UHF communications.


We continue to offer courses to farm businesses and companies that may not have the infrastructure to provide their own online learning. GPA Training is continuously updating its existing courses and developing new ones, so check in to see what’s available on the GPA Training website here.