The Shearing Contractors Association says there may be a protracted shearing season this summer if shearers and shed hands from the northern hemisphere are unable to come to New Zealand.
One solution would be to recruit newcomers to the industry from sectors that have retrenched, but there are limited training opportunities for them in New Zealand.
Local shearers are joined by workers from the Northern Hemisphere but that may not happen due to the need for lockdowns for new arrivals.
Mark Barrowcliffe of the Shearing Contractors Association told Country Life it is looking at several ways to overcome the looming shortage.
He says the Association is speaking to the government about dispensations to bring in more Northern Hemisphere shearers - or train more locals.
You can hear the full interview on Country Life.