Sharemilker Kaiwhakahaere Mīraka Kau
Sharemilkers either milk a dairy farmer's cows for a profit share, or own a herd of cows and milk them on an owner's land for a profit share.
Sharemilkers may do some or all of the following:
- provide labour, shed costs, electricity and vehicles on farms
- own, manage and milk herds of cows
- manage farming activities on behalf of farm owners
- be responsible for calf rearing and cattle reproduction
- negotiate profit-sharing contracts with dairy owners or farm companies
- buy and sell livestock
- follow health and safety and wellbeing procedures.
Sharemilkers need to have a good level of fitness as dairy farm work can be physically demanding.
Useful experience for sharemilkers includes:
- working with animals
- farm, forestry, engineering or labouring work
- using technology
- driving farm vehicles and machinery
- managing a business.
Sharemilkers need to be:
- confident and caring with animals
- hardworking and motivated
- willing to learn
- able to work under pressure and in a team.
Sharemilkers need to have knowledge of:
- sharemilking contracts and payment arrangements
- dairy farming practices
- accounting and business practices.
- usually start early in the morning and work until late afternoon
- may work long hours during peak times, and can work six days a week
- work on farms and in milking sheds
- work outside with animals, crops and machinery in all weather conditions.
No specific secondary education is required for this job, but agricultural and horticultural science, digital technologies, maths and English to at least NCEA Level 2 are useful.
Sharemilkers may progress to other roles in the dairy industry such as:
Sharemilkers can specialise in a number of roles, including:
- Contract Milker
- Contract milkers pay for a percentage of the farm costs (without owning the cows) and receive a set price per kilogram of milk solids.
- Variable or Lower Order Sharemilker
- Variable or lower order sharemilkers manage farm property and are paid a percentage of milk income.
- Herd Owning or 50:50 Sharemilker
- Herd owning or 50:50 sharemilkers supply the herd and operate the farm for its owner.
Years Of Training
There are no specific requirements to become a sharemilker. However, a relevant training course is recommended as dairy farmers prefer to work with trained or experienced sharemilkers.
A business, science or agricultural related certificate, diploma or degree in science, commerce, business or economics will help advance your dairy career.
Apprentices earn while they learn and develop their skills and career prospects through on-the-job experience over two or three years. Apprenticeships are available through different dairy industry organisations and companies.