Skills shortage is now a 'huge' issue for dairy sector
An increasing shortage of skilled farm workers, particularly in the dairy sector, is being experienced by farms nationwide.
"There is a now a real shortage of skilled workers on farms with the demand for more half and full labour units on farms not being met," said Colin Donnery of the Limerick-based FRS recruitment agency.
"In February we had over 200 positions to be filled and we failed to fill them.
"It has become difficult to find people, even from the pool of foreign workers, with the skill sets to fill these jobs' he added.
The firm recruits farm personnel for the Farm Relief Services (FRS) and graduates for the agri-business sector.
Mr Donnery says the skilled labour shortage has become a 'huge problem' on farms which will have to be addressed by the agricultural authorities.
It's a view echoed by Niall O'Regan of Livestock Improvement Corporation (LIC), a New Zealand semen distributor.
"Farmers are at their wits' end about the lack of skilled labour available especially in the dairy sector," said Mr O'Regan.