Agricultural contractor

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

Average salary (a year)

Variable

Typical hours (a week)

44 to 46 seasonal

You could work

evenings / weekends / bank holidays on shifts

How to become an agricultural contractor

You can get into this job through:

  • a college course
  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

College

You could take a college course, which may be useful when you start looking for work. Courses include:

  • Level 2 Award in Agriculture Machine Maintenance
  • Level 2 Certificate in Agriculture

Entry requirements

You may need:

  • 2 or more GCSEs at grades 9 to 3 (A* to D) for a level 2 course

More information

Apprenticeship

You could get into this job through an intermediate or advanced apprenticeship in agriculture.

Entry requirements

You'll usually need:

  • some GCSEs, usually including English and maths, for an intermediate apprenticeship
  • 5 GCSEs at grades 9 to 4 (A* to C), including English and maths, for an advanced apprenticeship

More information

Direct application

You could apply directly to become an agricultural contractor. Employers will usually expect you to have experience of working with farm machinery.

More information

Career tips

Agricultural contracting can be competitive, with lots of contractors applying for the same work. It will help you to get jobs and build your business if you have a specialism that no one else in the surrounding area offers.

Professional and industry bodies

You could join the National Association of Agricultural Contractors, which can help with industry training and professional development.

Further information

You'll find more about working and training in agriculture from the National Land Based College and Bright Crop.

What it takes

Skills and knowledge

You'll need:

  • ambition and a desire to succeed
  • the ability to work well with others
  • knowledge of food production methods
  • the ability to use your initiative
  • persistence and determination
  • sensitivity and understanding
  • maths knowledge
  • knowledge of human resources and employment law
  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device

Restrictions and requirements

You'll need to:

Driving other vehicles like lorries, tractors, harvesters and fork lift trucks can also be part of your work. You can find out more about driving specialist vehicles from GOV.UK.

What you'll do

Day-to-day tasks

You may specialise in areas like:

  • crop spraying and fertilising
  • harvesting
  • seed processing
  • seed milling and mixing
  • sheep shearing and dipping
  • animal management including hoof trimming
  • lambing
  • breeding

You could also carry out general work like:

  • dry stone walling
  • fencing
  • excavation
  • drainage work

Working environment

You could work on a farm.

Your working environment may be physically demanding, outdoors in all weathers and you'll travel often.

Career path and progression

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.

Current opportunities

Apprenticeships In England

Apprentice Farm Worker

  • Wage : £240.00 Weekly
  • Location: Leicester LE7 9DP

Apprentice General Farm and Poultry Assistant

  • Wage : £176.00 - £220.00 Weekly
  • Location: Bridgnorth WV16 6UD

Courses In England

Agriculture

  • Provider: Redborne Upper School and Community College
  • Start date: 01 September 2020
  • Location: BEDFORD

BASIS Foundation Award in Agronomy (Agriculture)

  • Provider: Moulton College
  • Start date: 18 November 2019
  • Location: Northampton

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