NEW research into the potential labour shortage facing dairy farms post-Brexit shows shortages could be particularly acute in Wales.

RABDF last week submitted an inquiry to the Environment, Food & Rural Affairs Committee.

Latest work by The Royal Association of British Dairy Farmers carried out in conjunction with Kite Consulting used a database of over 1000 UK dairy farms.

RABDF managing director Matthew Knight said over 2.23 billion litres of milk are produced by the latest surveyed dairy farms – totalling 15 per cent of the UK’s overall annual volume.

“As a country we are responsible for a tenth of Europe’s total milk supply – we are concerned that with the UK’s pending exit from the EU there will be a lack of access to a workforce able to meet the specific requirements posed by dairy farms.

“The results from our recent work with Kite only continue to highlight the decline in the ability of UK dairy farms to source domestic labour. While a total of 11 per cent of these employees were non-UK nationals, almost 17 per cent of dairy businesses have foreign workers within their workforce.”

Kite Consulting’s John Allen said the supply of skilled, dedicated foreign workers was critical to the success and long term prosperity of the sector.

Reliance on non-UK labour varies across the UK with the highest outside the South East being in Wales.

Other consumer survey results indicate a lack of willingness among UK nationals to consider a career on dairy farms with reasons being working environment, unsocial hours, jobs involving machinery or animals and the rural location.