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What is a Dairy Herdsperson?

Also known as: Dairy Herdsman.

A dairy herdsperson works with the maintenance, breeding and health of beef and dairy cattle. He or she may work alone or manage a staff of workers and be responsible for 100 or more cows at a time. The responsibilities include feeding, watering and milking the cattle twice a day.

A trained and skilled dairy herdsperson will know the idiosyncrasies of his cows and the quality of milk each cow is producing. He will also assist veterinarians and will know how to treat sick cows in order to reduce the mortality rate.

What does a Dairy Herdsperson do?

A dairy herdsperson works with the maintenance, breeding, and health of beef and dairy cattle.

A dairy herdsperson specializes in the care of dairy and beef cattle. They oversee all activities that go into breeding, milking, and maintaining cattle. He or she manages the operation of the herd, defines and supervises animal care, supervises other farm workers, oversees the budget, and creates the most cost effective farm possible. A dairy herdsperson will keep a record of all activities on the farm so that they know what’s happening with each individual cow. They also coordinate with veterinarians so that they can maximize a cow’s health and production. 

One of the most important tasks is milking the cows, which is not easy. The process begins with inspecting and washing the udders, which is screened for mastitis and other health problems. The next step is attaching the milking equipment. This must be done carefully to protect from damaging the cow’s udder. Typically, a milking cycle will last for five to ten minutes per cow. Cows are milked two to three times per day, depending on their average production levels.

Other responsibilities of a dairy herdsperson:

  • upkeep of the automated machinery
  • taking care of breeding cattle and making sure calves are delivered safely and in good health
  • administering shots and ensuring cattle health and comfort
  • supervising staff
  • maintaining a clean barn/work area
  • reading and interpreting cattle documentation 
  • keeping up to date, and putting into practise, knowledge of safety and sanitary procedures that should be maintained on a cattle farm

A dairy herdsperson may also be in charge of making sure beef cattle are administered specific diets to ensure they reach the correct weight and fatness so they can be sold for beef. A dairy herdsperson takes great pride in making sure their cattle are healthy, happy, and of the highest quality.

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What is the workplace of a Dairy Herdsperson like?

A dairy herdsperson’s work is almost always outside in all kinds of weather. The hours are long as they begin early in the morning before sunrise and work well into the evening so that they can be sure all the cows have been taken care of. This kind of job is most often seven days a week. 

This career can be physically demanding. A dairy herdsperson’s workday doesn’t end until all problems have been taken care of and the cows are ready to sleep for the night.

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Further Reading

  • What Does an Agriculture - Dairy Herdsperson Do? www.apprenticesearch.com

    In this career, you would maintain livestock performance records and perform all dairy-producing work including selection, breeding, feeding and medicating the animals.

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