Seasonal labour shortage hits farm contractors
A shortage of seasonal workers available to complete autumn silage and maize harvests is putting extra pressure on Irish contractors, according to the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors of Ireland (FCI).
FCI chairman Michael Moroney told the Farming Independent that due to the dry summer the silage season has extended into the maize harvest. Contractors are extra busy as a result, and the situation has been exacerbated by a shortage of tractor drivers.
"Silage is seasonal work and typically our members would hire a lot of students in the summer months, but now students are back to school and college and we do not have those workers to complete late silage which is running into the maize season," he said.
"This is putting additional pressure on contractors who have already faced a difficult year."
Mr Moroney said the dry summer meant that many contractors are only starting to do second-cut silage now and that this affected their income hugely.
"Some guys said that they didn't cut any silage in July or August and if you don't work, you don't earn any money. Farmers looked out at their land and saw that there was no grass so there was no point spreading slurry or cutting silage, especially in the south-east of the country," he said.
"A lot of grass reseeding didn't take place either. It was tilled but not sown."
Mr Moroney added that members are reporting low silage yields but that maize yields are up significantly.