Young farmers clocking up 60-hour weeks
Published 06/09/2016 | 02:30
One in three of the country's top young farmers don't regularly test their soil for fertility, a new Macra Na Feirme survey has revealed.
And despite widespread campaigns highlighting the devastating effects of sheep kills, only one in five have licensed or microchipped their dogs.
It also appears that Macra's best young farmers are having to work harder than ever, with over 20pc claiming to work over 60 hours a week, and more than one in 10 without a holiday during the past four years.
The startling results may explain why 10pc are unsure if they will still be farming in 10 years time.
Other contributing factors may include frustrations over poor broadband access and serious concerns over the future implications of the Brexit.
Sean Finan, president of Macra na Feirme was surprised by the soil findings.
"It is worrying. As an organisation we always encourage young farmers to really look after their productive assets - soil and livestock. They're the two drivers of profitability," he said.
"If you don't carry out soil testing you don't really know what you have so young farmers must be technically efficient. We spent so much time dealing with external issues, Brexit, taxation issues, schemes, but young farmers need to realise that they have control over a lot of their destiny within the farm gate," he said.