PR - An Initial Study Of The Use Made By Suckler Beef Farmers Of Agricultural Contractors In The Republic Of Ireland
Research work on agricultural contractors appears not to have kept pace with other research areas within the field of farm management. Contracting relieves farmers of the burdens associated with direct employment and with short seasonal tasks. Contractors offer farmers flexibility with specialized skills, knowledge and equipment. Time sheet data were collected from 115 spring calving suckler beef farms (75% full time, 25% part-time) over a 12 month period. Agricultural contractors were used by 97% of respondents for an average of 6.7 tasks per farm per annum on a very wide range of tasks. Seasonality of contractor use provided peaks in June-July and in September. Common services were forage conservation fertilizer and slurry spreading, feeding cleaning and harvesting for those with other enterprises. Contractors provided labour-only services or a full range of mechanistic and management services to farmers. Labour-only contractors were frequently farmers themselves or were sourced from corporate organizations.
Keywords: farm contractors, suckler beef farmers, farm tasks.