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HomeBeefFarm labour challenges expected in 2023
Catherina Cunnane
Catherina Cunnanehttps://www.thatsfarming.com/
Catherina Cunnane hails from a sixth-generation drystock and specialised pedigree suckler enterprise in Co. Mayo. She currently holds the positions of editor and general manager at That's Farming, having joined the firm during its start-up phase in 2015.
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Farm labour challenges expected in 2023

There may be challenges in attracting sufficient farm labour in 2023, FRS has warned.

It has based its prediction on the limited number of permits being provided to the sector, the move towards full employment in the economy and rising costs.

FRS Farm Relief has conducted a survey, which highlights that 2 out of 3 Irish farmers are finding it difficult to secure sufficient labour for their farms.

These results come from the first comprehensive survey on Irish farming attitudes to labour needs.

Independent market research company, Opinions, on behalf of FRS Farm Relief, supported by FBD Trust, collected results from 252 farms nationwide between July and October 2022.

Farm labour

The survey also revealed that 6 out of 10 Irish farmers believe they have a poor work/ life balance due to the number of hours they are required to work on their farms, while one in three would not recommend farming as a lifestyle to family or friends.

Meanwhile, 3 out of 4 farmers agree that it is difficult to find labour with the skills they require for their farms.

4 out of 5 Irish farmers also believe the green agenda will have a negative impact on the viability of their farms.

6 out of 10 feel farmers will require more external labour on farms to address the new emissions reductions.

Moreover, 55% expect they will require knowledge supports to reduce emissions on their farms.

97% of Irish farmers agreed that leaving their farms in safe hands when they were not there was a priority.

91% cited access to peak time (spring/ summer) labour support, 90% wanted access to qualified/ vetted labour and 83% to improved expertise in the area of on-farm sustainability.

1 in 2 farmers also said they were willing to provide increased premiums/ higher hourly rates to secure consistent, qualified labour.

In the last year, the most common uses of external farm labour have been:

  • Hoof care (70% of Irish farms);
  • Machinery work (69%);
  • Milking (68%);
  • Cow pregnancy scanning (65%);
  • Artificial insemination (53%);
  • Freeze branding (53%).
Labour support

When it comes to those farms looking for labour support to reduce emissions, eight out of ten would need it for grassland management.

The same amount of people said energy efficiency improvements, 56% for planting hedgerows/ trees and 54% opted for soil optimisation.

FRS has launched a recruitment campaign for 300+ farm workers over the next year, as reported by us.

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