Rural contracting.

Operate machinery big and small, helping farmers to keep producing food for the world.

Opportunities in rural contracting

Rural contracting provides a great variety of seasonal and permanent roles, from weed spraying and crop drilling through to operating and servicing complex machinery such as combine harvesters or those that produce sileage.

Entry level work roles include driving tractors, mowers and sprayers as well as machinery maintenance. There are opportunities to move up to operating larger more sophisticated machinery such as balers, combine harvesters and similar agricultural machinery.


Types of jobs in rural contracting

  • Tractor driver

    Connect a variety of equipment and operate it safely on the road, across paddocks and on undulating terrain. Tractor driving requires some prior knowledge or basic training either at a starter course or on-site. 

    * Rural Contractors New Zealand, 2020.

  • Complex machinery operator

    Salary: $48,000-$80,000 per year*

    Requiring good technical skills, operating a combine harvester or foraging machine is like being at the controls of a spaceship. These are highly technical machines with several computers, touch screens, and joysticks to control the variety of operations the machine has to perform.  

    * Rural Contractors New Zealand, 2020.

  • Mechanical support

    Salary: $62,000-$73,000 per year*

    Machinery is key to rural contracting and it needs to function properly. People who can perform regular maintenance and repairs are important, particularly as service centres are often some distance away.

    * Rural Contractors New Zealand, 2020.

  • Agri-chemical applicator

    Salary: $52,000-$65,000 per year*

    Spraying crops to remove pests and encourage growth is an important job in agriculture. Training in the safe use of agri-chemicals, protective equipment and the various types of applicator (from backpacks to large spraying rigs) is available through formal NZQA training and Growsafe accreditation.

    * Rural Contractors New Zealand, 2020.

Training and learning opportunities

Taster courses help get you ready for jobs in rural contracting. 

Keen to learn more?

Find out about a range of food and fibre jobs, what skills are needed and training available.


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