Poll results: ‘Poor pay’ deters drivers from silage campaign

Respondents to an AgriLand survey have indicated that “unsatisfactory pay” is the main reason why they would not work with an agricultural contractor at silage.

The survey – which listed a number of potential reasons why a person would not choose to work for an agricultural contractor – was responded to by almost 3,000 people.

It was stated in recent weeks that agricultural contractors are finding it increasingly difficult to source labour to keep their silage-cutting fleets on the road during the busy season.

In response to AgriLand’s survey, approximately one in three people (37%) stated that unsatisfactory pay was the reason why they would not work for an agricultural contractor at silage.

Meanwhile, about one in five respondents (21%) said that there were more attractive job opportunities elsewhere.

The third most cited reason by those who responded to the survey was an unpredictable working schedule (18%), while 14% of respondents noted long hours as the main reason.

Making up the remaining 10% were people who opted for unreliable or uncomfortable machines (4%) and those who said a fear of going hungry (6%).

Agricultural contractors have been busy in recent weeks as farmers look to replenish their forage supplies – ahead of next winter. The prolonged spell of fine weather has led to many farmers taking the opportunity to harvest first cuts of silage.

‘Nearly impossible’

Speaking to AgriLand recently, independent TD for the Roscommon-Galway constituency Michael Fitzmaurice said that agricultural contractors are finding themselves in a situation which is “nearly impossible” to navigate.

To get tractor drivers now for silage is nearly impossible; there is an awful scarcity. I’d be talking to all the boys on the silage and the turf-cutting side of things and it’s torture for them – absolute torture.

“One lad told me he got a fella one day; he spent three or four hours drawing in and then said ‘he didn’t like it’ – so he hit the road.

“Back when I started out contracting lads were running to you for work. It’s gone to the stage around Ireland now that when you are talking to contractors, they are nearly begging people to go work for them,” Fitzmaurice said.