Labour remains the major obstacle to expansion: Dairygold
A quarter of Dairygold milk suppliers have highlighted labour as the main obstacle to their future farm plans, it has emerged.
An in-depth survey among the suppliers in the State's largest farmer-owned co-op has found that there are the equivalent of at least 530 unfilled positions available in the processors catchment area.
"Unsurprisingly, labour continues to be a significant on-farm challenge. Our milk supplier members have indicated that they intend to use more paid labour which again demonstrates that there are real job opportunities in rural Ireland - the equivalent to at least 530 in our catchment area," said Dairygold chairman James Lynch.
Half of those questioned use paid labour, while 30pc described finding workers as a significant challenge that must be overcome for them to fulfil their potential.
Around 35pc of its members signalled that land was a significant obstacle to expansion.
The survey designed to help the processor plan for future milk supplies over the next six to eight years paints a picture of the level of ambition for growth amongst suppliers.
Significantly, it found that over 60pc of suppliers intend to increase their milk supply which shows the industry will continue to expand at a rapid rate. Mr Lynch said the ambition of suppliers remains strong.
Dairy farmers expect to see milk supplies rise by over 16pc between 2018 and 2022, with farmers on average working 10 hours a day which increases to 13 in the spring.