Shearer match-making service launched to combat shortage

Shearing contractors concerned about labour shortages amid the Covid-19 crisis can use an online hub to link up with professional sheep shearers.

The shearing register is an online directory from the National Association of Agricultural Contractors (NAAC) aimed at addressing anticipated labour shortages this summer due to foreign travel bans.

The NAAC has estimated that overseas travel restrictions will leave a 20% hole in the workforce.

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Shearers should use the register to post availability, which can then be viewed by contractors looking to fill positions.

Jill Hewitt, NAAC chief executive, said: “Shearing contractors have a dual role in this Covid-19 crisis to keep shearers and customers safe, while supporting and providing a vital operation for sheep farmers.

“It is likely to be a more difficult, possibly extended season, and with Covid-19 restrictions in place, we will need more pre-planning on farms, but we can do this if we all work together.”

Shearing register

Go on the NAAC website to see the shearing register match-making service.

Shearers must enter their:

  • Email address
  • Telephone numbers
  • Shearing qualifications
  • Number of sheep they can shear in a day

Avoid welfare problems

Gareth Jones, British Wool’s head of producer marketing, called on individuals to step forward to ensure sheep are shorn to a high standard, within necessary timescales to avoid potential animal welfare problems.

Wyn Evans, NFU Cymru Livestock Board chairman, said: “We need to get the job done but, for everyone’s protection in these unprecedented times, plans and adjustments in working practices will be needed by farmers and shearers working together to ensure the safest possible outcome.”