1 Feb 2010

Farm workers earn above average wage

5:35 am on 1 February 2010

Farm workers earn more than urban workers on an annual basis.

The joint report from Federated Farmers and Rabobank, showed the average total wage package (which includes salary as well as other benefits such as accommodation) for farm workers is $48,388 per annum, $5227 per year more than the average annual wage.

Members of the federation were surveyed on how much they paid their employees and the data was compared with generic labour force statistics.

Federated Farmers President Don Nicolson says wages paid in the rural sector have managed to keep up with inflation.

He says the dairy sector has seen an increase in total package value of 4.4%, but that's a smaller increase than in 2009.

Mr Nicolson says the sheep and beef sector had a total package value increase of 3.3%, about the same as in 2009.

He says the arable sector has shown a huge increase of 10.3% in total package value.

Mr Nicolson says unskilled casual farm labourers saw their hourly rates fall to $16.96 per hour, down 5% on 2009.

He says the hourly rate for skilled casual workers dropped by 1% to $19.80 per hour.

Mr Nicolson says that could be because farmers have been pruning costs during the global economic downturn.