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Time off this summer: Planning and Task Prioritisation on Dairy Farms

Time off this summer: Planning and Task Prioritisation on Dairy Farms

With calving finished on Spring block calving farms, now is a great time to plan time off, the staff roster, and farm projects. Martina Gormley, Teagasc Dairy Specialist discusses planning ahead and task prioritisation. Martina recommends using a wall planner and actively working with it

Planning and task prioritisation are two such skills that will not only dramatically improve a business but will also improve the morale of the people who work on the farm. 


A simple and very effective approach to planning is to use a yearly wall planner and discount the time not available to farming. Look at the whole year, rather than from a daily, weekly or monthly perspective, and work backwards. Job drift and stress can escalate if farmers are not mindful of how they are applying themselves to different jobs. 

Where to start? 

  1. When looking at the planner the first step is to block off holidays and time off for the farmer
  2. Decide on what budget should be given to getting in help on the farm. Make sure your budget is fixed and regular work is available to staff.
  3. If you haven’t already found someone to help on the farm then time needs to be spent advertising for help, talking to neighbours, farmers, colleges, etc.. In very few cases, does someone walk up to you and ask for work. You, the employer, need to spend time finding the right person to work on your farm.
  4. By approaching someone local with your planned calendar and offering regular work at competitive pay this should make your farm a more attractive place to work.

By actively working the yearly planner to anticipate blockages and relieve known stressed periods in conjunction with a prioritisation mindset, we can do more quality work, in a timely manner, leaving room to cope with unexpected events such as the weather or better still to enjoy the quality of life that dairy farming can give.

Read more about Labour on dairy farms here

The Teagasc Dairy Specialists issue an article on a topic of interest to dairy farmers every Monday here on Teagasc Daily. Find more on Teagasc Dairy here