Level 3 High Country Farming

As the only farming programme in New Zealand with a high-country focus, this programme has a hands-on approach to learning to fully prepare you for a career in high-country farming. Covering a wide range of skills, you also have the added benefit of on-farm practical assessments, as well as work placements on local high-country stations. As a graduate, you could be employed in pastoral farming/rural-based workplaces under limited supervision.

About the programme

Do you want to gain work-ready farming skills?

Farming careers are fun and rewarding and there is strong demand nationally for passionate people who want to work with livestock in the farming industry. This Central Otago-based qualification is the only farming training programme in New Zealand with a high country flavour.

With an emphasis on the ‘hands on’ approach to learning, this outdoors-based programme will prepare you for a career in agriculture. Covering a wide range of skills, you also have the added benefit of on-farm practical assessments, as well as work placements on local high country stations.

Graduates will be able to be employed in pastoral farming/rural-based workplaces under limited supervision. 

Successful graduates of this programme will gain the New Zealand Certificate in Agriculture (Farming Systems) (Level 3) AND the New Zealand Certificate in Primary Industry Operational Skills (Level 3) (Infrastructure).

Courses

Course name Description Level Credits

Health and Safety in Agriculture

Gain knowledge of Health and Safety procedures to minimise injury and risk to yourself and others, livestock and equipment. 

Indicative content 

  • Responsibilities according to H&S at Work Act 2015
  • Role/function of ACC
  • Concepts of WorkSafe in farm environment
  • Health & Safety terms
  • Complete a Hazard register
  • Identify and manage risk – farm tasks/livestock/farm equipment
  • Identify correct PPE
  • Effects of Hydration/Nutrition/sleep
  • Effective hygiene in workplace
3 15

Animal Handling - Sheep 

 

Learn how to move and handle sheep in a way that minimises stress to animals, yourself and facilities. 

Indicative content 

  • Animal behaviour in relation to welfare
  • Animal handling tasks in stockyards
  • Round-up and shift sheep from one paddock to another
  • Round-up sheep, bring to sheep yards and move sheep through sheep yards
  • Draft sheep into lines
  • Weigh and record lambs
  • Dag and crutch sheep
  • Assist with tailing/docking of lambs
  • Electronic farm recording programmes & Apps
15

Animal Health

 

Discover how to identify and assist with the health needs of livestock. 

Indicative content

  • Assist with marking calves
  • Animal Health needs and animal treatment – sheep and cattle
  • Body condition score cattle and sheep
  • Administer animal health to sheep and cattle – drench/vaccine
  • Identify livestock under stress
  • Electronic farm recording programmes & Apps
15

Pastures and Soils

 

Learn how to identify pastures and explain methods and practices for pasture management. 

Indicative content 

  • Identify soil make-up, explain soil health and the impact of fertilisers
  • Use technologies to measure pasture growth and pasture allocation
  • Identify pasture species
  • Pasture renewal methods and management
  • Surplus feed storage and feeding out
  • Create a basic feed budget
  • Measure pastures
  • Take a soil sample and map a soil profile
  • Soil types and soil health 
  • Electronic farm recording programmes & Apps 
  • Use technology to map areas
15

Vehicles and Machinery in Agriculture

 

Gain the skills to be able to carry out the safe operation of vehicles and machinery in a rural workplace. 

Indicative content 

  • Laws & regulations for tractors & LUV’s
  • Prestart/maintenance checks tractor & LUV
  • Safe operation of LUV, quad bike and tractors 
  • Safe operation of LUV - flat/hilly/towing/with a load
  • Impact of tractors on land/near waterways
  • Operation of front-end loader
  • Attach/detach implements
  • Hazard register for vehicles and machinery
  • Safe operation of a chainsaw and use of PPE for a chainsaw
  • Electronic farm recording programmes & Apps
15 

Animal Handling - Cattle

 

Learn how to move and handle cattle in a way that minimises stress to animals, yourself and facilities. 

Indicative content 

  • Animal behaviour in relation to welfare
  • Animal handling tasks in stockyards
  • Round-up and shift cattle from one paddock to another
  • Round-up cattle, bring to cattle yards and move through to cattle yards
  • Assist with the drafting of cattle into lines
  • Weigh and record calves
  • Assist with marking calves
  • Electronic farm recording programmes & Apps
15 

Farm Infrastructure

 

Discover how to carry out maintenance tasks on farm infrastructure. 

Indicative content 

  • Identify components used in both permanent farm fences and electric fence systems
  • Explain and construct permanent farm fencing using appropriate methods and materials
  • Explain the workings of electric fence systems for farming including energizers and earthing systems
  • Install and manage temporary electric fences for strip grazing
  • Locate and fix faults in an electric farm fence
  • Maintain permanent and temporary electric fences for livestock retainment and other farm management purposes
  • Explain the water needs of livestock
  • Components needed to create a scheme for the supply of water to livestock
  • Connect water pipes with appropriate joiners and to water troughs
  • Locate and correct faults in a livestock water scheme
  • Legislation/regulations/standards for use of agrichemicals – Growsafe certificate
  • Apply agrichemicals
  • Range of wire knots used for permanent fencing
  • End strainer assemblies for permanent fencing
  • Install end assembly
  • Replace intermediate post
  • Strain permanent wires
15

Sustainable Practice in Agriculture

Explain sustainable farm practices and the impact weather has on farming operations and the environment. 

Indicative content 

  • Water quality
  • Land use
  • Explain legislation and regulations that relate to water quality and land use in the farming environment
  • Weather and climate in relation to farm practices and the environment
  • Identify and explain sustainable farming practices
  • Environmental impact of farm practices near waterways
  • Monitoring programmes and practices for the reduction of impact caused by farming practices
  • Electronic farm recording programmes & Apps
  • Use technology to map areas
 
15

Food and Fibre Production

 

Understand and be able to explain farm food and fibre production processes. 

Indicative content 

  • Breed selection
  • Assist with preparing sheep for shearing
  • Fine wool production in NZ
  • Woolshed preparation
  • Management of sheep/wool/woolshed during shearing and post shearing
  • Preparation of wool clip for sale
  • Meat production beef and lamb
  • Grading system and quality standards
 3 15

Work experience

In Term Four, those who are ready are able to participate in a farm-based, work placement experience to apply their skills in a real-world environment. This also provides an opportunity for gaining valuable contacts in the farming industry. To be eligible for work experience, you must be competent in core areas such as health and safety and basic stock handling. You must have also demonstrated a passionate attitude towards working in the agriculture industry.

Further study options 

After successful completion of this programme, you can continue studying farming at Level 4 or diploma-level whilst working on the job.

A change for 2023 enrolments

When you apply to study with Otago Polytechnic in 2023, you will be enrolled with Te Pūkenga, the new national network of vocational and applied education in Aotearoa New Zealand. You will learn in the same way, in the same place, and with the same people. The great news is that this enables us to share skills and knowledge across a network of passionate education providers, to better help you succeed. Enrolling in programmes that start in 2023, means that you will graduate with a Te Pūkenga qualification.

Disclaimer

While every effort is made to ensure that this sheet is accurate, Otago Polytechnic reserves the right to amend, alter or withdraw any of the contained information. The fees shown in this document are indicative ONLY. Both domestic and international fees are subject to change and are dependent on the development and implementation of Government policies. Please note that additional fees may from time to time be required for external examination, NZQA fees and/or additional material fees.