Proceedings

PR – Profile Of Labour Demand, Resources And Contribution On Irish Dairy Farms

The aim of this study was to quantify the labour requirement, available labour sources and actual labour contributed by those sources on Irish dairy farms. The data was generated on 36 medium (50 – 80 cows) and large (>80 cows) spring calving dairy farms over a 12-m period. A questionnaire survey recorded the levels of available labour on the farms, i.e. family or hired, full-time or part-time. Additionally, all farm operators recorded their labour input to different tasks. Herd-size group had a significant effect (P<0.001) on total dairy labour input (8.5 and 14.2 h/day on medium and large farms, respectively. Full-time family labour sources contributed less, on a proportionate basis, (P<0.05) on large farms (0.58 of total farm labour) than on medium size farms (0.87). On the large farms, the contribution of full-time hired labour sources was highest for the tasks of cleaning (0.34), maintenance (0.29) and milking (0.34), while full-time family labour sources were mainly concerned with the role of management (0.72). Also, observations indicated that the contribution of part-time family was mainly utilised during peak labour demand in spring-time.

Keywords: dairy farms, labour demand, labour efficiency, labour resources.

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Author(s): Gleeson, D., Kinsella, J., O'Brien, B., O'Donovan, K., Ruane, D.J.

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Organizations(s): School of Agriculture, Food Science and Veterinary Medicine, University College Dublin, Belfield, Teagasc, Moorepark Dairy Production Research Centre, Fermoy, Co.Cork