Join the cotton industry for a season – you might love it so much you want to stay!
During the busy times of the season the Australian cotton industry needs a part-time, mobile workforce – particularly at harvest time. This varies between the regions and according to seasonal conditions but is generally from about March to May. Another busy time is when the crop is growing fast over Summer.
Skilled and unskilled workers are welcome, and you needn’t have any experience on a farm. For lots of people, working during a cotton season can be the first time they’ve ever set foot on a farm!
Backpackers, students in their “gap” year and grey nomads are just some of the groups of people who have earned a few dollars, met some great people and had a great time for a few months in the process during cotton season.
What Types of People Do We Need?
Most of the work doesn’t require any particular skill set but hard working, practical people who are willing to learn fit best into a cotton farm operation. Cotton growers also find that people who have a trade (or have had one in the past) are very handy around the farm. For example mechanics, welders, truck drivers, boiler makers and electricians.
Men and women are equally welcome – and families are well catered for.
Do I Need Experience or Training?
No. All you need is a good work ethic, the ability to learn quickly from experienced farmers, an attitude for safety and the ability to work both on your own and in a team. If you’re asked to do a job that requires training, that will be provided to you free of charge by your employer (in most cases).
What Types of Work Would I Do?
Depending on the time in the season, casual workers may be asked to do these kinds of jobs:
- Start irrigation syphons
- Drive tractors or forklifts
- Check/count bugs
- Mix and apply chemicals
- Drive a cotton picker/harvester (these are air conditioned these days, with CD players and GPS systems so they basically drive themselves)
- Drive a boll buggy (that picks up the cotton from the picker and delivers it to the module builder)
- Operate a module builder/building modules
- General farm maintenance and repairs
- Remove/chip weeds
OK, I’m Sold. When Can I Start?
The best way to find casual work in the cotton industry is through one of the specialist labour hire companies that operate in cotton production areas. These include: