Working day for farmers longer than most

Farmers work an average of 48 hours a week, but as many as 55 hours on average in dairying. That is much higher than the average for workers in most other employment sectors.
Working day for farmers longer than most

Tillage and livestock farmers in comparison work an average of around 46 hours per week, and others 44 hours and 10 minutes.

All respondents were asked how many hours they worked on their farms. But with 23% of farmers also having off-farm jobs, and 21% of farmers’ spouses having off-farm jobs, household work hours are likely to be much longer in many cases than the farm work average of 48 hours and three minutes each week.

It is known that part-time farmers in Ireland have typically worked about 80 hours per week. The extent of that may have been significantly reduced by the economic down-turn in the general economy and the loss of jobs.

Despite their heavy workload, Sunday lie-ins are not the rule, with 71% of farmers saying they attend mass weekly.

But there is division among farmers on the continuing influence of the Catholic Church, with 52% believing it is strong, and 37% disagreeing.

* Long working hours are not unique for Irish farmers.

In the US, the Forbes Magazine annual survey of The Best And Worst Jobs For 2013 ranks dairy farmer as the sixth worst, because they have to work outdoors in all weather conditions, at all hours, with very large animals that step on their feet!

* Larry Ryan is a director of independent market research agency Behaviour & Attitudes.

More in this section


Keep up-to-date with all the latest developments in Farming with our weekly newsletter

Sign up

Our Covid-free newsletter brings together some of the best bits from, as chosen by our editor, direct to your inbox every Monday.

Sign up