packhouse workers

Seasonal job types


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. Or give yourself a head start and watch some harvest induction videos.


This involves sorting and packing fruit. The working conditions are similar to factories, with packing staff working on a production line.  Expect that you will need a few days to get up to speed.


Thinning out tree fruits happens 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 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.


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. Manual pruning shears require repeated effort from your hands and can be tough to start with.