“Labour, supply and transport are huge headaches hanging over us at the moment,” said Shane Divilly, owner of Divilly Meats in Oranmore, Co Galway.
Haulage issues have already caused him problems, forcing him to give one customer a substantial discount on sausages because by the time they were delivered, they only had a couple of days left in date.
He simply couldn’t get a truck to deliver the goods.
“I know one man with 12 trucks and six of them are parked up because he can’t get drivers,” he told the Irish Farmers Journal.
As a family-run business, the company is more flexible when it comes to deliveries.
“I am lucky enough I can jump into the van and deliver myself if have to and I have been doing this recently,” he explained.
“Bigger multinationals though may very well have issues with deliveries.”
While Divilly did not foresee any shortages of the key Christmas meats, he said labour shortages are a big issue.
It is also extremely hard to compete [for workers] with the likes of Lidl
“I had a fellow start with me last week who left after three days because he said it was too cold for him,” he recalled.
“Last Friday, where we should have had 15 people working, we had three. Longer hours become a problem then.
I couldn’t do this because customers aren’t going to pay me more money for their sausages
“It is also extremely hard to compete [for workers] with the likes of Lidl who came out last week and offered their workers a €12.90 minimum payment.
“I couldn’t do this because customers aren’t going to pay me more money for their sausages,” he said.
Crowe’s Farm in Dundrum, Co Tipperary, is bracing itself for a shortage of seasonal workers as Christmas approaches.
Producers of a range of pork and bacon products, TJ Crowe says that every year heading into Christmas it is hard to get workers, but he has heard there are simply none to be got this year.
That’s not the only pressure looming.
“Prices have gone up for labels, packaging and netting twine this year and we have had to have our orders in much earlier for Christmas than usual,” he said.
“I am fully convinced that there will be a short supply of something this Christmas.”
Billy Gray from Feighcullen Farm in Co Kildare produces free-range chickens, geese and turkeys.
“We do everything in house. We have two vans on the road all the time and at Christmas when things get busy I have a cohort of people who help me out.
“People who worked with me as young lads take a few weeks off to deliver turkeys for me. It’s almost like a tradition now,” he says.
His main problem at the moment is the price of feed. Poultry feed has gone up €68/t since last year.
Happily, demand from customers is good.
Gray said that he has more turkeys this year than last year, adding: “There seems to be more money around this year, especially in Dublin.”