Sheep and Wool
This includes the raising of fat lambs, wool growing and harvesting, and sheep breeding.
Sheep and wool farming involves the production of meat and wool for profit. Successful farming requires the management of livestock, the farm property, people and finances. Sheep and wool production is carried out in all states, and across a wide range of climates.
Do you want to work in an exciting, challenging industry that involves handling animals and machinery with extensive out-of-doors work? The Australian sheep and wool industry offers all this and more.
The Australian sheep and wool industry is one of Australia's oldest and best known industries. In the drier parts of Australia, sheep are often found on very large properties (stations) where they feed on native shrubs. Mustering and moving (droving) sheep can involve working with horses, motorbikes and sheep dogs.
In medium to higher rainfall areas, sheep are often found on smaller properties usually as part of a mixed farming operation. These sheep are often fed on non-irrigated pastures or on crop residues, and are more closely monitored and managed.
The type of work carried out on a sheep and wool property has been classified into levels which relate to training and qualifications.
The titles for those who work at these levels are:
|Level||Job Role||Recommended Qualification|
|Level 2||Farm or Station Hand||Certificate II in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool Production)|
|Level 3||Senior Farm or Sstation Hand||Certificate III in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool Production)|
|Level 4||Head stockman||Certificate IV in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool Production)|
|Level 5||Farm or Station Manager||Diploma of Agriculture (Sheep and Wook Production)|
|Level 6||Rural Business Manager||Advanced Diploma of Agriculture|
A farmhand or station hand is likely to be involved in a wide range of tasks, working under only limited supervision.
Work undertaken as a farmhand or station hand includes:
- handling sheep un yards
- operating machinery, equipment and ride-on farm vehicles
- riding and handling horses
- mustering and moving sheep
- monitoring and marking lambs
- slaughtering sheep
- maintaining stock water supply equipment
- maintaining farm improvements and fences
There are a number of ways to get work as a farmhand or station hand.
Many workers begin working on a sheep and wool property as farm assistants. Once they develop their skills and knowledge, they can undertake the role of a farmhand or station hand.
With a sheep and wool traineeship, you will start training as a farm assistant before moving on to work as a farmhand or station hand. Individuals with general agricultural experience are also often able to obtain work as farmhands or station hands in the sheep and wool industry.
The national qualification available for farmhands or station hands who have either undertaken formal training or learnt their skills on the job is the Certificate II in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool).
Priority skills areas for working as a farmhand or station hand include workplace health and safety, chemical use, mustering and handling sheep, property maintenance and machinery and equipment operation.
A senior farmhand or senior station hand is an experienced farmhand or station hand and is likely to be involved in co-ordinating a wide range of activities associated with sheep-wool production.
Work undertaken as a senior farmhand or senior station hand includes:
- selecting sheep for market
- loading and unloading sheep/wool
- carrying out sheep husbandry practices
- preparing for lambing and rearing lambs
- preparing sheep and facilities for shearing
- caring for working dogs
- pest control
- installing and maintaining property water supplies
Individuals with extensive sheep and wool or general agricultural experience are often able to obtain work as a senior farm or station hand. The national qualification available for senior farmhands or senior station hands is the Certificate III in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool).
Priority skills areas for working as a senior farmhand or senior station hand include workplace health and safety, selecting livestock for market, loading and unloading sheep, animal health, rearing lambs, and installing and maintaining property water supplies.
A head stockman has responsibility for a number of workers and sheep and wool production activities.
Work undertaken as a head stockman includes:
- supervising feeding operations
- arranging livestock purchases and marketing
- designing sheep handling facilities
- managing natural mating
- managing artificial breeding and embryo-transfer programs
- exhibiting sheep
- supervising and training staff
There are a number of ways to get work as a head stockman.
Many head stockmen begin working on a property as farmhands or station hands and work their way up. Some also may have completed sheep and wool training.
The promotion of a senior farmhand or senior station hand to head stockman occurs when the person shows they are competent at a wide range of skills and can take responsibility for property operations and supervise the activities of other staff.
The national qualification available for head stockmen who have either undertaken formal training or learnt their skills on the job is the Certificate IV in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool).
Priority skills areas for working as a head stockman include supervision of sheep feeding and handling activities, staff supervision and training, sheep mating and breeding, preparing sheep and facilities for shearing, and machinery and equipment management.
A farm or station manager is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing sheep and wool production activities.
These responsibilities include:
- managing the property and staff
- livestock breeding and production
- marketing livestock
- preparing and managing a budget
- monitoring business performance
- managing feed, pastures, fodder and crops
- purchasing, maintaining and operating machinery
Farm or station managers achieve their position when they have shown that they can successfully manage sheep and wool production operations as a business. Often they have worked as senior hands or head stockmen, and have a good knowledge of and experience with sheep and wool production.
To achieve a Diploma in Agriculture (Sheep and Wool) you will be required to demonstrate that you possess the necessary knowledge and skills at this level and that you can apply these to industry standards.
Priority skills areas for working as a farm or station manager include property planning and management, livestock breeding and production, marketing livestock, staff management, and business planning and operations.
A rural business manager has the primary responsibility for ensuring that the sheep and wool enterprise is successfully managed.
The responsibilities of this position include:
- financial management for the business
- managing the sheep and wool production system
- managing human resources
- trading in commodity and product and price
- installing a total quality management system
- whole property planning
Most rural business managers have extensive experience as station managers. Their role is complex, and requires the application of a great deal of knowledge and a broad range of skills.
To achieve an Advanced Diploma in Agriculture (Rural Business Management) you will be required to demonstrate that you possess the necessary knowledge and skills for this level, and that you can apply these to sheep and wool industry standards.
Specialist rural business management training programs are available on a full-time or part-time basis in most states, or by open learning.
Priority skills areas for working as a rural business manager include whole farm planning and management, managing production systems, marketing of products, strategic planning and rural enterprise management.