New year hike in relief milk­ing costs for farmers

Irish Independent - Farming - - NEWS - CLAIRE FOX

DAIRY farmers are likely to see an in­crease in the costs paid for Farm Relief Ser­vices (FRS) milk­ings this spring due to labour short­ages.

FRS Kilkenny man­ager Philip Kenny con­firmed to the Farm­ing In­de­pen­dent that it plans to in­crease its relief milk­ing charges in Fe­bru­ary.

At present a two-hour Sun­day milk­ing in the morn­ing and evening in Kilkenny costs €104 in to­tal, and if it goes over four hours, farmers are charged an hourly rate of €15.

Mr Kenny said that the FRS board in Kilkenny are cur­rently in dis­cus­sions to in­crease the price of milk­ings, but has not fi­nalised on a rate yet.

“We can’t get enough op­er­a­tors in Kilkenny at the mo­ment,” he said. “Farmers are telling us that we are not pay­ing milk­ing op­er­a­tors enough and in some cases are pay­ing more be­cause they want their time off and they want the job done well.

“We’ll have the new rate sorted out be­fore the New Year and it will come in to ef­fect in mid-Fe­bru­ary/ March.”

FRS CEO Peter Byrne said that in or­der to ad­dress labour short­ages and com­pete with other sec­tors, com­pet­i­tive rates need to be paid for work­ers.

“I un­der­stand that con­struc­tion work­ers are paid €17.50 an hour. If we want to at­tract the best skilled work­ers, we have to pay a com­pet­i­tive rate,” said Mr Byrne.

“Op­er­a­tors might have to travel four times a day when do­ing a job, so any in­crease in the ser­vice cost is jus­ti­fied to meet this labour short­age.”

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