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Seasonal job types

Picking

Picking is the number one type of job in agricultural work. There are different types and of picking, which may be selective or exhaustive.

  • Selective picking involves choosing the fruit or vegetable to pick according to its size, colour, or both. The farmer will no doubt show you examples of what should be picked. This involves smaller quantities than massive picking and so will have an influence on your payment if you are paid according to how much you collect.
  • Exhaustive picking involves collecting more or less all the fruit produced by the tree. You only take out damaged fruit. Easier than selective picking, this type of picking usually happens at the end of the harvest season.

Picking from trees can involve using ladders to reach higher branches, although many Tasmanian orchards are becoming ladder-free.

Generally, your experience of picking will depend enormously on the farmers, their way of working and the overall atmosphere. Give yourself a few days before finally making up your mind.


Packing

This involves sorting and packing fruit. The working conditions are similar to factories, with packing staff working on a production line. These jobs may also be paid at an hourly rate, or according to the quantity you sort or pack. Expect that you will need a few days to get up to speed.


Thinning

Thinning out tree fruits before the harvest season. You remove the smallest fruits so that the others have space to grow bigger. The farmer will show you what size fruits to leave. Thinning needs a certain amount of patience and a sharp eye.


Planting

Planting varies enormously according to the fruit or vegetables concerned. It is often done using a combination of machines (tractors) and manual work, but is sometimes done entirely by machine, or all manually.


Pruning

Cutting back trees or vines using pruning shears. These jobs are often well paid, but require a good level of physical fitness. They are usually carried out in winter in difficult weather conditions.

Pruning shears can be electric or manual depending on the region and the type of pruning. Pruning can be paid according to how much you get done, or paid by the hour, depending on the type of trees. Manual pruning shears require repeated effort from your hands and can be tough to start with.