'Young guys want to do other things than drive tractors now': Contractors in global hunt for drivers
Labour shortages biting across all farm sectors
Labour pressures are biting as farmers, contractors and processors all face major shortages ahead of the busy summer period.
Michael Moroney, chief executive of the Association of Farm and Forestry Contractors in Ireland (FCI), said the situation has deteriorated over the past year with major difficulties recruiting machinery drivers.
"Young guys want to do other things than drive tractors now," he said.
FCI will be in contact with Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation (DBEI) Heather Humphreys again shortly seeking 50 permits to get drivers from New Zealand, Australia and South Africa.
Mr Moroney said some permits were issued last week, however, none were given for agricultural machinery operatives.
"It is an issue for contractors all around the country. There isn't the scope to offer the same money as the construction sector."
Tom Kirwan runs a self-propelled harvesting and baled silage contracting outfit from his base in Kill, Co Waterford.
It is a family run business with a reputation for reliability and at the peak of the season the Kirwan outfit employs between seven and eight staff.