New year hike in relief milking costs for farmers

File photo
File photo
Claire Fox

Claire Fox

Dairy farmers are likely to see an increase in the costs paid for Farm Relief Services (FRS) milkings this spring due to labour shortages.

FRS Kilkenny manager Philip Kenny confirmed to the Farming Independent that it plans to increase its relief milking charges in February.

At present a two-hour Sunday milking in the morning and evening in Kilkenny costs €104 in total, and if it goes over four hours, farmers are charged an hourly rate of €15.

Mr Kenny said that the FRS board in Kilkenny are currently in discussions to increase the price of milkings, but has not finalised on a rate yet.

"We can't get enough operators in Kilkenny at the moment," he said. "Farmers are telling us that we are not paying milking operators enough and in some cases are paying more because they want their time off and they want the job done well.

"We'll have the new rate sorted out before the New Year and it will come in to effect in mid-February/March."

FRS CEO Peter Byrne said that in order to address labour shortages and compete with other sectors, competitive rates need to be paid for workers.

"I understand that construction workers are paid €17.50 an hour. If we want to attract the best skilled workers, we have to pay a competitive rate," said Mr Byrne.

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"Operators might have to travel four times a day when doing a job, so any increase in the service cost is justified to meet this labour shortage."

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