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Getting to grips with labour challenges on dairy farms

Seasonal workload combined with increased dairy herd sizes and a highly competitive labour market, have created social sustainability challenges for Irish dairy farms. Effective work organisation can improve productivity, which in turn can have a positive impact on members of the farm work-teams and farming families.

This session focused on farm task organisation and the structures of work schedules on Irish dairy farms, with a view to identifying areas for progress. Marion Beecher, Moorepark, presented the results of a recent labour study involving 55 dairy farms, which addresses key questions around scheduling, rosters, use of non-core labour, and labour costs.

We heard the real-world insights of John Whelan, dairy farmer from Co. Wexford, and Brendan Joyce, who is dairy farming in Co. Kilkenny. John outlined how he makes use of contractors for key tasks at peak times, manages weekend work for staff and lessons learned in a growing dairy business. Brendan shared his top tips for efficient work routines in spring, the labour benefits of a simple system, and the importance of capitalizing on-off peak time.

Emma Louise Coffey spoke with dairy farmers Brendan Joyce, Co. Kilkenny and John Whelan, Co. Wexford at today's Dairy Conference to find out how they are overcoming labour challenges on their dairy farms

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