Dairy farmers worked 12-hour plus days and got just one day off during stressful spring - Teagasc
Dairy farmers only got one day off and worked over 12 hour days during the stressful Spring period of 2018, according to a new Teagasc study on labour and stress issues.
Teagasc Livestock and Animal Research officer Dr Marion Beecher told FarmIreland that in May it collected 349 responses from dairy farmers in 37 discussion groups in 12 counties to examine the challenges faced by farmers during the spring period of 2018 which included the major weather event of Storm Emma.
The main challenges that farmers faced were weather, workload/labour and feed issues, Dr Beecher said.
“On average farmers estimated that they worked 86 hours per week (12.4 hours per day) and took less than one day off during March. However, farmers own estimate might include starting at 7am and finishing at 7pm but this might include a time they took a break or weren’t on the farm,” said Dr Beecher.
“It’s hard to know how accurate these figures are but it is concerning as working long hours can lead to increased cases of accidents as research suggests.”
The survey also stated that farmers only got one day off during the month of March which Dr Beecher explained is not sustainable for farmers and efforts will have to be made to make farm working hours more attractive to the next generation of farmers.
“That figure is from last spring which was very stressful for farmers. It’s hard to know whether this would be normal for farmers or was it just for that period. One day off is certainly not sustainable for a long period of time and the industry needs to look at ways to make farm work hours more attractive down the line.
“Little things like having a set milking time for example milking at 7am and again at 3pm doesn’t affect cell count or yields. It’s about being more organised in general.”