Nearly four out of 10 farmers reported stress in their work over recent years

ALMOST 40% of farmers surveyed by Teagasc reported experiencing stress relating to their farm business over the last five-year period.

The findings of the survey – outlined in the summer edition of the Teagasc TResearch magazine – also showed that the prevalence of stress was greatest among dairy farmers.

Senior Research Officer with Teagasc, Emma Dillon, stated that more than one-in-two dairy farmers indicated that running their farm business was a source of stress.

“This compares to between one-in-four and one-in-three across other systems. All farmers reported a significant deterioration in their stress levels over recent years. Stress factors identified included the weather, workload and financial concerns,” said Emma Dillon.

However, on a more positive note, 78% of farmers surveyed by Teagasc said that they had either ‘good’ or ‘very good’ health.

There were though significant differences in the farm categories in terms of the ‘good health’ findings.

According to Teagasc Post-Doctoral Researcher, Mary Brennan, the ‘good’ or ‘very good health’ replies were highest in the tillage and dairy sectors who on average tended to be in the younger age bracket.

“The figure [good, very good health] was highest among tillage farmers and lowest among sheep farmers.

“However, the variations across farm systems are reflected in the fact that between a quarter and one third of cattle and sheep farmers reported poor or fair health, compared to about one-in-ten dairy and tillage farmers, who tend to be younger on average.

“It is also concerning that of those reporting poor or fair health, almost half have no replacement labour. This seems to be an issue in some regions, particularly where additional labour is in short supply,” said Mary Brennan.

The farmer health findings are included in the Teagasc Research article entitled: The social side of sustainability.

For more, read this week’s Connacht Tribune:

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