Dairy Farming in New Zealand

New Zealand Travel Blog

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Working at a dairy farm can be a real opportunity, provided you can put up with working in excrement and pee for long hours and maybe for two weeks straight, or longer. A guy who worked at the same farm worked for a different farm and mentioned that he only had one day off in the month that he worked there, and was working 15-16 hour days. The good thing is that he was getting paid by the hour and made $4500 that month.

When you are looking for a dairy job it is essential that you find one that pays by the hour. If you accept a salary the only way it will seem like good money is if you come from a third world country. At a dairy farm you will work anywhere from 6-14 days in a row on average, and then have 2-3 days off. On most farms you will work a minimum of 12 hours each day. Do the math, and after taxes most people will earn less than $5 an hour. If you are getting paid by the hour you will be earning some sweet money.

Another benefit of working at a dairy farm is that most farms will provide you with free or really cheap accommodation. If you have picked apples, or done any other job in NZ, you have probably found that you spend between $70-$200 per week renting a bed. Many farms also provide meals to their employees. The farm I worked at only provided dinner, but I met others that worked on farms that gave them three meals a day.

Your schedule will probably be quite similar to the one that I have listed below:
3:30-4:30am: herd cows to the dairy shed
4:30-6:30am: milking
6:30-7:30am: breakfast
7:30-9:30am: milking
9:30-12:30am: general maintenance, fencing, weeding, cleaning the dairy shed
12:30-1:30pm: lunch
1:30-2pm: herd cows to dairy shed
2pm-5pm: milking

This schedule is for a larger farm, which generally have two shifts of workers. If you are on the second shift you will probably start two hours later, and then end 2-3 hours later.

Remember, the dairy shed is a dirty place. You will be crapped on and pissed on at some point. If you are a clean freak a dairy farm is not the place for you.

Places to find dairy jobs:
Canstaff in Ashburton, ask for Tania.
Frenz NZ.
Any local newspaper. These are actually a better place to look.
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