Agricultural Equipment Operators

Also known as:  Cane Flume Chute Operator, Combine Driver, Combine Operator, Corn Detasseler Machine Operator, Cotton Ginner, Cotton Picker Operator, Custom Harvester, Farm Tractor Operator, Hay Baler, Hay Stacker Operator

ABOUT AGRICULTURAL EQUIPMENT OPERATOR CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
Some farms grow wheat, corn, or cotton. Others grow fruit or vegetables. All farms need special machines and farm equipment operators to control them.

Many farm machines, including planters and tillers, are pulled or powered by tractors. Others, such as harvesters and combines are self-conta ...
ined. In general, the equipment tends to be rugged and relatively easy to run and repair.

But even with air-conditioned operator cabs and built-in stereo sound, plowing or harvesting hundred of acres of farmland can be tedious. The work can also be dangerous since the same machines that chop or cut crops can just as easily slice off a finger or a hand.

Today there are still family members who work the land of their forefathers. But many farm equipment operators are employed full-time by large "agribusiness" companies. Still others are independent businesspeople who own harvesters and other equipment and contract their services directly to farmers.

SNAPSHOT Expand
Drive and control farm equipment to till soil and to plant, cultivate, and harvest crops. May perform tasks, such as crop baling or hay bucking. May operate stationary equipment to perform post-harvest tasks, such as husking, shelling, threshing, and ginning.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
MED
Dealing and handling conflict
LOW
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
LOW
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
LOW
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
LOW
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
Irrigate soil, using portable pipes or ditch systems, and maintain ditches or pipes and pumps.
Operate towed machines such as seed drills or manure spreaders to plant, fertilize, dust, and spray crops.
Spray fertilizer or pesticide solutions to control insects, fungus and weed growth, and diseases, using hand sprayers.
Load hoppers, containers, or conveyors to feed machines with products, using forklifts, transfer augers, suction gates, shovels, or pitchforks.
Drive trucks to haul crops, supplies, tools, or farm workers.
Mix specified materials or chemicals, and dump solutions, powders, or seeds into planter or sprayer machinery.
Operate or tend equipment used in agricultural production, such as tractors, combines, and irrigation equipment.
Attach farm implements such as plows, discs, sprayers, or harvesters to tractors, using bolts and hand tools.
Adjust, repair, and service farm machinery and notify supervisors when machinery malfunctions.
Observe and listen to machinery operation to detect equipment malfunctions.
Manipulate controls to set, activate, and adjust mechanisms on machinery.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Controlling Machines and Processes Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).
Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.
Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or water craft.
Handling and Moving Objects Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
Performing General Physical Activities Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling of materials.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
Food Production Knowledge of techniques and equipment for planting, growing, and harvesting food products (both plant and animal) for consumption, including storage/handling techniques.
Personnel and Human Resources Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
Chemistry Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
Administration and Management Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
Customer and Personal Service Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
Economics and Accounting Knowledge of economic and accounting principles and practices, the financial markets, banking and the analysis and reporting of financial data.
Telecommunications Knowledge of transmission, broadcasting, switching, control, and operation of telecommunications systems.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Multilimb Coordination The ability to coordinate two or more limbs (for example, two arms, two legs, or one leg and one arm) while sitting, standing, or lying down. It does not involve performing the activities while the whole body is in motion.
Control Precision The ability to quickly and repeatedly adjust the controls of a machine or a vehicle to exact positions.
Near Vision The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
Arm-Hand Steadiness The ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.
Depth Perception The ability to judge which of several objects is closer or farther away from you, or to judge the distance between you and an object.
Manual Dexterity The ability to quickly move your hand, your hand together with your arm, or your two hands to grasp, manipulate, or assemble objects.
Hearing Sensitivity The ability to detect or tell the differences between sounds that vary in pitch and loudness.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
TOP SKILLS Expand
Operation and Control Controlling operations of equipment or systems.
Operation Monitoring Watching gauges, dials, or other indicators to make sure a machine is working properly.
Repairing Repairing machines or systems using the needed tools.
Quality Control Analysis Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.
Troubleshooting Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.
Social Perceptiveness Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
Active Listening Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
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