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Farm Labourer - Crop Production

Lydia Schouten

Crop / Grain and Oilseed Farming Overview

The 'grain and oilseed' industry includes farm operations that produce a wide variety of crops, with wheat, canola, soybeans, and feed corn being the industry’s key products. Other industry products include pulses (such as lentils and dry peas), barley, oats, and fodder crops.

  • While the grain and oilseed industry’s strong growth outlook will require a bigger workforce to meet output targets, the domestic labour force is predicted to shrink, with retirement being one of the key factors affecting the labour supply.

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Crop Farm Labourers perform a wide variety of tasks that depend on the type of operation.

  • Job work typically occurs in the fields, or in sheds, barns, and shops. Although much of the work is mechanized, it can be physically demanding and normally includes some lifting and carrying.
  • Farm Labourers are fully supervised, may operate farm machinery, and acquire skills/ knowledge through on-the-job-training. Typically, farm labourers need no formal education or prior farm experience.

Typical Job Titles

  • Field Crop Labourer
  • Grain Farm Labourer
  • General Farm Worker
  • Farm Assistant 
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What are the major tasks associated to this job?

Crop Farm Labourers assist with activities related to planting, cultivating, and harvesting crops.

  • Comply with legislation and regulations
  • Follow standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Maintain the health and safety of self and others
  • Comply with food safety and biosecurity policies and procedures
  • Follow environmentally sustainable work practices
  • Assist with the preparation of soil and sites for planting
  • Assist with the preparation of seed for planting
  • Assist with the fertilization of crops
  • Assist with crop planting
  • Assist with irrigation
  • Assist in monitoring crop development
  • Assist with crop harvesting
  • Assist with the storage of harvested crops
  • Assist with the transportation of crops
  • Transport farm equipment
  • Use equipment, tools and technology
  • Assist with equipment and facilities maintenance
  • Apply knowledge specific to crop production

What competencies are required for this job?

For this job, no prior farm or experience or specific knowledge/skills is required. However, crop farm supervisors and managers prefer to hire those who are interested in agriculture or farming. Typical competencies inlcude:

  • Agricultural Health and Safety
  • Environmentally Sustainable Work Practices
  • Crop Production
  • Adaptibility
  • Continuous Learning
  • Attention to Detail
  • Initiative
  • Teamwork

A good attitude and willingness to work as part of a team is important for this job. One should expect to be strong enough to lift and carry reasonably heavy objects as necessary. Some jobs require a driver’s license.

What attracts people to this job?

This job is a good starting point for people seeking temporary or long term employment. In most cases it is not necessary to have crop experience or even any formal working experience, nor is it necessary to have a high school diploma. This job:

  • gives people an opportunity to learn about operating and maintaining equipment
  • gives people an opportunity to live a rural lifestyle

Are there opportunities for growth in this job?

Crop Farm Labourers will gain crop production experience, and will learn to perform more complex tasks and activities to become an experienced Worker. With more production experience and some training courses, they can become specialized in some aspect of crop production, or can become farm supervisors to manage a crew.

What are the typical pay rates and benefits for this job?

Depending on the operation and the region of Canada, pay for this job ranges, but tends to be hourly at minimum wage or slightly higher. Crop farms closer to cities and towns may pay more due to competition for workers.

  • Benefits are rare at the entry level.