Farmers struggle to find labourers as they're drawn back to building sector
Skilled farm labour is proving more difficult and expensive to secure due to the upturn in the economy.
Many farmers seeking experienced agricultural workers are struggling to get competent candidates as employment opportunities improve in other sectors.
Peter Byrne of FRS Networks said competition for staff had intensified this year as more work had become available, particularly in the building industry.
Byrne said dairy farmers were already booking workers for the busy spring calving season.
FRS require 70 to 100 additional staff for the period across its local office network in the south and east, but Byrne conceded that securing experienced people will be more difficult this year.
"We are trying to recruit in enough people to be ready to go in the spring. Ideally we like to hire experienced people but it's not always possible," he explained.
To tackle the labour shortage FRS launched a training programme at the Ploughing Championships and will be placing recruits on farms through November and December as part of this initiative.
While trainees are paid €9.15/hr, rates for more experienced operators range from €10-13/hr.