Work on livestock farms is an increasing concern for farmers*. To shed some light on this, between December 2015 and February 2016 we carried out a survey of the pressure of work perceived by farmers.
The aim was to describe how farmers felt about their work and to establish how interested they would be in receiving advice on work organisation. The survey was designed to be straightforward and short. It was based on a methodology used in the north of France titled ‘The livestock farming life in Picardy’.
Five hundred farmers responded to the survey (6% of all Wallonia’s farmers), a figure that underscores the significance of the topic. The findings were (1) that 32% of farmers urgently need to improve their situation in terms of work organisation and (2) that 45% of farmers cannot carry on working as they are. Nearly 80% of livestock farmers therefore have problems with their workload. Age, type of farming and number of workers did not greatly affect the results.
Only 50% of the farmers with problems expressed a desire for help to improve their situation.
The hardest tasks in work organisation were chiefly (1) regulations and paperwork and (2) managing to free up some time. More than 80% of farmers in fact found the regulations and paperwork onerous, with 72% of farmers reporting an acceptable workload being unable to find any spare time during the week. The strenuousness of the work also starts to be a concern for farmers from the age of 40.
The results of this survey underscore the usefulness of the network of ‘work’ advisors set up via the OTEI project who, from now on, can help farmers to review work organisation on their farm.