A 50/50 sharemilker takes responsibility for the production system. They also maintain farm infrastructure and machinery and may employ labor where required. The are responsible for the financial management of their own business. Sharemilker’s are self employed contractors who receive a percentage of the milk income, and pay a percentage of costs, based on the amount of stock and machinery they contribute to the agreement. Income depends on both payout and production.

Click here to find out about Sharemilkers Kayne Smith + Marianne Vanecamp

Working as a Herd Manager would suit someone who enjoys working outdoors, handling animals and doesn’t mind getting their hands dirty. A Herd Manager may need to be able to manage staff as well as a farming operation.

Sharemilker’s are responsible for defined area of expenditure and will supply agreed resources e.g. Motorbike, machinery or stock. The level of responsibility for a sharemilker is less strategic than a farm owner. It requires the knowledge an understanding of farming at the same level as a farm manager, with the added responsibility for financial management of their own business.


Sharemilker’s will work anywhere between 50 and 60 hours a week, often starting around 5am and finishing in the evening. This will vary depending on the season and the farm. Weekend work can be expected.

Chances of Employment:

The number of dairy farms in New Zealand has increased a lot over the last 10 years. This means that there are good opportunities for employment.


The earning potential of a sharemilker will depend on the size of the herd and the milk payout price. They will receive 50% of the milk profits from the farm.


Useful subjects to take at school are: agriculture, horticulture, workshop technology, math’s, english and science.

You will ideally have 3 – 5 years experience working directly on farm, having gained an overview of all the required elements needed for farm management. You will also have some experience of managing staff. It may be useful to hold on of more of the following qualifications: National Certificate in AgriBusiness Management, Level 4; National Diploma in AgriBusiness Management, Level 4; Certificate in Rural Staff Management (or similar); Production Management – stage 2; an agricultural science / management bachelor’s degree.