It’s one of the most common questions we receive at AustralianFarmers: how do I find seasonal farm work in Australia? The answer is farm jobs – whether that’s fruit picking, or as a general farm hand – are easy to find if you know where to look.
If you’re coming from overseas, wanting to extend your working holiday visa or an Australian wanting to experience life on the land, these top tips will get you closer to the farm work you’re after.
1. Start looking early
If you’re travelling around Australia, start researching and networking before you even leave for your next location. Leaving your job search to the last minute can seriously limit your chances of securing seasonal work as all of the keen beans may have filled the farm jobs you want.
Start looking on:
- hostel notice boards,
- local information centres
- the Yellow Pages (ringing farmers directly asking for work should not be underestimated. If that particular farmer doesn’t have work is is likely that they will know someone who does),
- Websites such as Harvest Trail or Fruit Picking Jobs,
- Job search sites such as Indeed, Seek or Jora or
- Facebook pages such as Fruit Picking Jobs which often post job vacancies.
Note: Make sure you research the farming companies and ensure their ABN is real to avoid scammers.
2. Research and timing is key
Different fruits are ready for harvest at efferent times in the year and in different locations around the country. It’s a perfect way to see the country while earning some coin to fund the good times you’ll be having in the local country towns.
Australia is a massive place with a wide variety of horticultural options, so timing your travels and job search around a particular commodity or location requires some research.
Here are some examples of peak harvest times around the country:
February to March – grapes in Griffith, Hunter Valley and Tumbarumba.
March to May – apples in Batlow.
March to June – cotton n Narrabri and Moree.
February to April – melons in St George.
December – various vegetables in Lockyer Valley.
November to January – plums in Stanthorpe.
November to February – cherries and berries in Silvan and Wandin.
September to November – asparagus in Dalmore.
January to February – scallop splitting in Bicheno.
October to February – strawberries in Adelaide Hills.
June to August – pruning and oranges in Riverland.
March to May – apples and pears in Manjimup, Dohnybrook and Pemberton.
May to September – rockmelons and zucchini in Kununurra.
Year round – bananas and citrus in Darwin and Katherine.
3. Find a farm job to suit your skills
If the outdoors and physical labor isn’t your cup of tea it is good to remember that not all farm work involves harvesting and picking.
Employment in a farm business can include (but is not limited to) work in packing sheds, data entry, lab work and cleaning.
Tailor your application to suit your strengths and interests. Be honest as to why your looking for that kind of farm work and your availability time frames.
4. Understand your rights
Overall, people who do agricultural work in Australia have a great experience – meeting new people, working outdoors and putting money in their pockets.
We want to ensure that everyone has that experience, so if you are concerned about whether your employer is meeting their legal obligations you can check out this handy checklist by the National Farmers’ Federation and Produce Marketing Association.
5. Want to make a career in Australian agriculture?
We would love to have you! Our industry is such an exciting place to be as we work to feed a booming global population.
There are a huge number of career options available both on-farm and in service industries like research, technology, processing and more.
Not sure where to start? There is a great website called CareerHarvest, which can match your interests to different jobs in agriculture. It will also point you towards education and training opportunities around the country.