With many people back on the home farm during lockdown, some farm recruiters believe short-term demand for help will be filled by family labour during spring calving this year.

Joe Rowe from Farm Solutions in Wexford, said that while the short-term demand might be filled easily with family help, there was still an issue with securing long-term dairy farm workers.

He said the permit system for 100 dairy workers outside the EU had been exhausted and the scheme needed to be extended to provide additional permits.

Rowe said the rise in cow numbers and herd size in recent years meant that good, experienced help on farms was vital.

Demand for staff

In other parts of the country, the Farm Relief Service reported that demand for staff on dairy farms was still on a par with last year.

While the company Grasstec has gone one step further, and created a web-based platform called OpusAgri.com to match dairy farmers with workers.

“Considering the seasonality of Irish agriculture, OpusAgri is geared towards more part-time and casual work requirements at a local and regional level,” Noel Gowen of GrassTec said.