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HomeDairyA different approach to solving the labour issue
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A different approach to solving the labour issue

A new online platform has been launched been by Grasstec to help address labour shortages in the dairy industry.  

OpusAgri strives to link farmers and farm workers at a casual, part-time and full-time level and from a local, regional and national perspective, according to Noel Gowen.

“It is a means for farmers to register and put themselves forward to take on workers and equally for workers to put themselves forward to carry out work on farms.” he explained.

‘Unlock the worker’s potential’

OpusAgri attempts to unlock the worker’s potential, especially at a local-level. Students, dry stock farmers, home keepers and shift workers are “key” to this, according to the firm.

Fewer people available

The future labour requirements for Irish dairying report from Teagasc identified the requirement for 6,000 people in the dairy industry by 2025.

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In recent years, Irish dairy farmers have been exploring other avenues, such as bringing in overseas labour to solve the shortage.

“The seasonal demand, particularly with the compact, spring-calving systems, makes it more difficult to hire people for a short period.”

“We see from spring-to-spring that farmers are at burn out point. Cow numbers continue to rise. 50% of Irish herds have more than 100 cows, a dramatic change in just a few years. 

“As this continues, there is going to be fewer people as more move from other farming enterprises to dairy and as the economy once again, approaches full employment.”

Matches

Gowen is of the opinion that the Irish dairy sector can address the labour challenge, but he feels it is going to have to be “across multiple fronts”.

“As an industry, we need to be more inventive about who we employ and how and when the work is done on the farm.

Noel highlighted matches the site has already made: 

  • Farmer – 2 herds, 3 yards, needed someone to feedstock over the winter period, 2 hours per day, 3-days-per-week. Worker – Local part-time truck driver with experience of machinery who is on the school run needing to supplement income with flexibility;
  • Farmer – 150 cows working on his own, needing a person to feed and bed calves in the busy spring period. 2-3 hours per day. Worker – Local housewife, grew up on a dairy farm, carries out the work after the school run – 9 am-12 noon
  • Farmer – 300 cows with one other full-time worker needing a night watchman during the calving season. Worker – A married man with children whose wife works part-time during the day. Can’t afford childcare. Works as night watchman 5 nights per week. All calves fed and bedded at night. 

Workers available

“We currently have workers on our platform ready for grass measuring, calf rearing, milk relief and tractor driving etc.”

“The solutions are out there, we just need to make the link and OpusAgri is there to do it,” Gowen concluded.

Information

For more information or to access the platform, click here.

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