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Farmers on holiday: Seven top tips for taking time off

One of the biggest and most variable costs for a farm is labour.

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Farmers on holiday: 7 top tips for taking time off

But even more challenging than managing full-time employees is the job of sourcing and engaging suitably qualified relief staff to cover labour shortages, holidays or unexpected emergencies.

 

With many farms in the UK still a family affair, made up of parent and son or daughter, taking a holiday can be difficult when there is no slack in manpower for someone to get away, and additional staff is not usually used.

 

Not only does the expense of paying extra labour put some farmers off taking a well-earned break, the lack of good quality relief staff is also a problem.

 

But experts agree time away from the farm is invaluable in providing both a physical and mental rest and time to reflect on the business.

 

One company which specialises in providing relief cover on dairy farms is Mornios Contract Herdcare.


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Set-up by Carl Martins and his wife Natalie, services include relief milking to full herd management across the UK.

 

Assignments undertaken include emergency and sickness cover, holiday cover and seasonal labour, with jobs lasting from a single day to weeks, sometimes months.

 

As a previous herd manager himself, Mr Martins created the company after experiencing ongoing problems with the standard of some relief milkers.

 

He said: "There is an issue with farmowners not taking time off. Most understand their employees need holidays, as it is a legal obligation and good for morale, but do not take enough time for themselves.

 

"Farmers often do not think about relief staff until they need it, especially in an emergency.

 

"Make sure there are plans in place should you break your leg tomorrow."

Seven top tips for taking time off from your farm

Seven top tips for taking time off from your farm
  • Schedule time off and stick to it - similar to tractor servicing or vet visits
  • Take time to think and plan who would carry our your responsibilities should you be sick, injured or take time off
  • Book relief cover early to avoid disappointment
  • Look upon relief staff herdcare provider as a permanent and integral part of your farm's team
  • Toe-tip - start with a smaller break to gain confidence in relief staff
  • Consider using a professional company which specialises in holiday and emergency cover
  • If possible, collaborate with neighbours to share relief staff, providing cover on neighbouring units
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