The slower winter pace down on the farm may provide an ideal opportunity for workers to add to their skill sets.

Ag Challenge in Whanganui is offering three courses at substantially reduced rates designed to upskill farm workers already in employment, or those wanting to take the next step in gaining an Agricultural qualificaton.

On offer is the 24-week Farming Systems Technology course, the 15-week Pastoral Livestock Production Technology course focusing on feeding, and the Livestock Husbandry Technology course centred mainly around breeding. This is also a 15-week block and all three are to Level 3 NZQA standards.

Ag Challenge has cut costs for these three courses by up to 80 per cent with a July 23 start, making it very affordable. These courses also qualify for the Government's Fees Free offer and Studylink assistance so the options are many.

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While on some farms workers may be busy scanning and/or feeding out at this time of year, others may have slowed down carrying out regular maintenance programmes over the colder months.

Either way, this could be an ideal time for farmers to allow their workers the time to upskill and become fully qualified to Level 3 before the end of the year, incorporating time on the farm as the work experience component.

Farming Systems covers the uses of technology for land, water and herd management that ensures the future of this industry.

The Livestock Husbandry course reveals that breeding is more than just mating. The lifeblood of a farm depends on a healthy herd.

Students learn what is involved in the process from mating to birth and how to look after a young animal once it is born. Prevention, diagnosing and treating the animals throughout this process are main areas of study on this programme.

The Pastoral Livestock Production Technology course teaches that our fields and pasture are the key to producing good animals.

It teaches students to understand how the grass grows and have it greener on your side of the fence.