production horticulture


Stepping stones to a rewarding career

Career pathways in production horticulture

Production horticulture is a very diverse industry, which can provide an interesting and exciting career for those seeking outdoor work involving growing and harvesting fruit or vegetables. This includes potato, tomato, root and green vegetable production as well as herb growing.

The industry also includes berry fruit growing, citrus growing, sun-drying fruit and grapes, vineyard operation and fruit harvesting.

Production horticulture businesses produce fresh and dried fruit and vegetables for local markets, processing and exporting. The range of produce is vast and could include many varieties of different fruits, nuts and vegetables.

Many production horticulture businesses operate as farms growing vegetables, while others are based on extensive orchards. Some businesses are intensive and grow fruit, vegetables and mushrooms in controlled environmental conditions.

The wide variation in methods of fruit and vegetable cultivation means that qualifications are available under either an agriculture or horticulture designation.

Many production horticulture businesses operate as farms growing vegetables, while others are based on extensive orchards. Some are intensive and grow fruit, vegetables and mushrooms in controlled environmental conditions.

The wide variation in methods of fruit and vegetable cultivation means that qualifications are available under either an agriculture or horticulture designation.

Jobs and qualifications

Farm Hand Certificate II in Production Horticulture »
Production Horticulture Tradesperson Certificate III in Production Horticulture »
Production Horticulture Supervisor Certificate IV in Production Horticulture »
Production Horticulture Manager Diploma of Agriculture, Production Horticulture or Rural Business Management »
Production Horticulture Business Manager Advanced Diploma of Agriculture or Rural Business Management »
Farmhand

A farmhand is likely to be involved in a wide range of growing and harvesting tasks under limited supervision:

  • Tractor driving
  • Caring for crops
  • Harvesting crops
  • Preparing crops for sale
  • Propagating plants
  • Maintaining irrigation systems

Many production horticulture farmhands begin working on a property as assistant farmhands. Once they develop their skills and knowledge they can undertake the role of a farmhand.

For a production horticulture farmhand traineeship you will also start training as an assistant farmhand before moving on to work as a farmhand.

Individuals with general agricultural experience are often able to obtain work as farmhands in the production horticulture industry on a casual basis to assist with planting and harvesting.

The qualifications for farmhands who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job are: Certificate II in Horticulture (Production Horticulture); or Certificate II in Agriculture (Production Horticulture).

Priority skills include operating tractors and equipment, undertaking irrigation activities, establishing and maintaining crops and treating weeds, pests and diseases.

Production Horticulture Tradesperson

A production horticulture tradesperson has responsibility for a number of workers and planting, growing and harvesting activities:

  • Operating advanced and specialised machinery
  • Coordinating crop planting and maintenance
  • Harvesting crops
  • Processing produce
  • Installing irrigation and drainage
  • Controlling weeds and pests
  • Constructing glasshouses and shade houses

Most production horticulture tradespersons progress from working as farmhands or have completed a Traineeship in Production Horticulture, which involves formal learning while working on the job.

The qualifications for production horticulture tradespersons who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job are: a Certificate III in Horticulture (Production Horticulture); or Certificate III in Agriculture (Production Horticulture).

Priority skills include preparing field soils for planting, implementing crop plantings and maintenance programs, coordinating harvesting and supervising work site activities.

Production Horticulture Supervisor

The production horticulture supervisor is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing planting, growing and harvesting activities:

  • Developing a plant nutrition program
  • Managing irrigation
  • Developing canopy management and crop regulation programs
  • Supervising crop harvesting
  • Supervising machinery maintenance, supplies and services
  • Operating a budget
  • Promoting plant health

There are a number of ways to get work as a production horticulture supervisor. Most have worked as farmhands or as tradespersons and have been engaged as production horticulture supervisors after demonstrating leadership and organisational skills.

Others have completed a Traineeship in Production Horticulture which involves formal learning while working on the job.

The qualifications for production horticulture supervisors who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on-the-job are: a Certificate IV in Horticulture (Production Horticulture); or Certificate IV in Agriculture (Production Horticulture).

Priority skills include developing plant nutrition programs, supervising staff, machinery and supplies and operating within a budget.

Production Horticulture Manager

The production horticulture manager is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing growing and harvesting and related property activities:

  • Managing business operations
  • Developing planting programs and production plans
  • Managing weed, pest and disease infestations
  • Maintaining, monitoring and evaluating irrigation systems
  • Managing plant health
  • Managing controlled growing environments

To work at this level requires a high degree of business acumen, leadership skills and knowledge about fruit or vegetable growing, harvesting and marketing.

The qualifications for production horticulture managers who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job are: aDiploma in Horticulture (Production Horticulture); or Diploma in Agriculture (Production Horticulture).

Priority skills include developing planting programs and production plans, preparing and monitoring budgets and financial reports and managing business operations.

Production Horticulture Business Manager

The production horticulture manager is likely to have significant responsibilities in managing growing and harvesting and related property activities:

  • Managing business operations
  • Developing planting programs and production plans
  • Managing weed, pest and disease infestations
  • Maintaining, monitoring and evaluating irrigation systems
  • Managing plant health
  • Managing controlled growing environments

Working at this level requirs a high degree of business acumen, leadership skills and knowledge about fruit or vegetable growing, harvesting and marketing.

The qualifications for production horticulture managers who have undertaken formal training or learned their skills on the job are: a Diploma in Horticulture (Production Horticulture); or Diploma in Agriculture (Production Horticulture).

Priority skills include developing planting programs and production plans, preparing and monitoring budgets and financial reports and managing business operations.

* Source acknowledgement: Primary Skills Victoria