Job type

Agricultural contractor

£20k - £40k

Typical salary

44 – 46

Hours per week

Agricultural contractors provide specialised, seasonal or other temporary services to farmers.

More info

  • Work outdoors in the countryside and with animals and/or machinery
  • Work can be highly seasonal with very busy periods then quiet times
  • High levels of freedom, but with the risks of self-employment

Agricultural contractors are often self-employed and provide extra help to farmers with specialist tasks or at busy times of the year.

As a self-employed contractor you'll usually charge for each job you do. You may need to use your own machinery and equipment, so you should take this into account in your start-up costs. You'll also need liability insurance.

Depending on your specialism, work can be intense during busy times, but there are also likely to be times of the year when it's harder to find work. You'll also have the freedom and flexibility that comes with working for yourself.

DAY-TO-DAY DUTIES

  • Crop spraying and fertilising
  • Harvesting
  • Seed processing
  • Seed milling and mixing
  • Sheep shearing and dipping
  • Animal management including hoof trimming, lambing, or breeding
  • You could also carry out general work like dry stone walling, fencing, excavation, hedge cutting or drainage work.

DAY-TO-DAY ENVIRONMENT

You'll usually work as a self-employed contractor on short contracts, depending on when farmers or other employers need you. Your work may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers and you'll travel often.

You may have the opportunity to work with animals. 

You'll need

You'll need experience of a range of agricultural work and machinery, so getting some work experience in farming and agricultural environments is the best way to get started.

It may help you to find work if you've been on a course in a relevant subject like agriculture, machinery maintenance, health and safety or risk management.

You could also get into this job through an apprenticeship.

CAREER PROSPECTS

With experience, you could move into teaching, training or consultancy.

You could also work for private companies or co-operatives that offer management services to farms.