5 practices to reduce your work load this spring
Many dairy farmers are working with an unsustainably high number of cows, according to a Teagasc Dairy Specialist.
Moorepark-based Stuart Childs says it's critical for farmers to implement some practices to reduce farm labour hours to cope with the pressures of the spring calving period.
He says although there is roughly the same number of farmers in Ireland today as there was in 2010, we’ve reached 1.4m dairy cows, a third more than in the same year, according to the Moorepark based Dairy Specialist. He said many of these farmers will soon be working an unsustainably high number of hours during the busy spring period.
A survey conducted by Teagasc researcher Marion Beecher showed farmers estimated that in spring 2018 they worked 86 hours per week, which equates to 12.4 hours per day and took less than one day off during March.
Only eight farmers of 349 farmers surveyed had not implemented any labour-saving practices at all, whereas 341 farmers had introduced at least one labour saving practice on the farm.
1. Delegate work
According to Pat Clarke of Teagasc, the hardest hurdle in outsourcing jobs such as slurry spreading to contractors can be getting your head around the idea of actually doing it.
“Don’t underestimate the challenge of changing the way you do things. But during the high-pressure springtime most farmers will be much better off time-wise if they get contractors to do jobs such as spreading slurry, spreading fertiliser, and even feeding their cows,” he said in a discussion with Marion Beecher.