Cost of keeping ewes per year.

Stormy times

Member
Mixed Farmer
Probably done a million times.
trying to get a handle on costs of running the ewes over 12 month period.
not including rent or labour.
out door lambing flock.
sure somebody altersthe figures each time I look 😂.
 
If you keep a ewe too the acre, lamb end of April and don’t give any feed at any point they are bloody cheap too keep!
I stock a lot heavier than that and push them harder though.

One ewe to the acre surely is more costly than 3 or 4 as the cost of lookering and gathering increases.
Only works if all land is "free" and there is no cost of hedges or ditches, topping, weed control, fence maintenance vehicle running costs etc.
 

gatepost

Member
Location
Cotswolds
As the previous posts indicate, it depends where you are and the ground your on, I run a closed flock based on stewardship/rough ground, low stocking, av lambing %, high value lamb, low rent no grassland costs, but highish conc/forage costs, works for me but you have to create a system that works with what you have got.
 

toquark

Member
Does fencing, drainage and interest come into the equation? If so they certainly aren't cheap in my world!

To be fair though, the actual sheep themselves aren't too bad, really only crovect & wormer along with some concentrates plus a little hay in the run up to lambing if the weather's hard. The odd jag & blue spray here and there but we try and run them to avoid too much buggering about. Even with fairly small numbers we try and cull poor dooers ruthlessly.

Most of our costs were in setting up from scratch.
 
Does fencing, drainage and interest come into the equation? If so they certainly aren't cheap in my world!

To be fair though, the actual sheep themselves aren't too bad, really only crovect & wormer along with some concentrates plus a little hay in the run up to lambing if the weather's hard. The odd jag & blue spray here and there but we try and run them to avoid too much buggering about. Even with fairly small numbers we try and cull poor dooers ruthlessly.

Most of our costs were in setting up from scratch.
Could I jump in on this thread and ask approx you start up costs were and what your yearly cost per ewe is now you are more experienced?
 

Al R

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
West Wales
Probably done a million times.
trying to get a handle on costs of running the ewes over 12 month period.
not including rent or labour.
out door lambing flock.
sure somebody altersthe figures each time I look 😂.
Including rent, feeds, minerals, wormers/flukicide’s, injections, bolus’s etc etc but excluding labour I cost ewes at £40/ewe. That allows for a tack rate of 60p/ewe/week which comes to £31.
The other £9 is made up of everything else which is the figure you want I assume. I don’t do heptavac, ovivac, plus the 2 abortion vaccines.
Yes a lot of my rents are less than the figure quoted but that is what I work on if I rented the farm out or if i had to tack the whole lot at another farm.
 

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Including rent, feeds, minerals, wormers/flukicide’s, injections, bolus’s etc etc but excluding labour I cost ewes at £40/ewe. That allows for a tack rate of 60p/ewe/week which comes to £31.
The other £9 is made up of everything else which is the figure you want I assume. I don’t do heptavac, ovivac, plus the 2 abortion vaccines.
Yes a lot of my rents are less than the figure quoted but that is what I work on if I rented the farm out or if i had to tack the whole lot at another farm.
I work on £65 a ewe all in. As you say that’s costing everything on the high side too allow leeway. Hence I scowl somewhat when singles straight off the ewe only come too £68 some years!
 

toquark

Member
Well the ewes alone would be around £50/yr to keep I reckon. We went from seasonal grass keeps and winter tack on dairy farms to buying our own place 2 years ago which skews the figures somewhat, as the farm was/is needing a lot of improvement which is sucking up capital and will continue to do so for the next few years. The sheep won't really pay for that.

To be honest our costs have probably gone up a little, because we're investing heavily just now as opposed to when we were renting ground and still buying some stock in. I haven't sat down with the figures for 12 months - got a meeting with the accountant next week so may get a nasty shock.
 

Danllan

Member
Location
Sir Gar / Carms
Well the ewes alone would be around £50/yr to keep I reckon. We went from seasonal grass keeps and winter tack on dairy farms to buying our own place 2 years ago which skews the figures somewhat, as the farm was/is needing a lot of improvement which is sucking up capital and will continue to do so for the next few years. The sheep won't really pay for that.

To be honest our costs have probably gone up a little, because we're investing heavily just now as opposed to when we were renting ground and still buying some stock in. I haven't sat down with the figures for 12 months - got a meeting with the accountant next week so may get a nasty shock.
Sorry to OP for going off-topic, but... that underlined bit is ever so bloody true! :(
 

Boso

Member
Has anyone included depreciation, mortality, machinery/tractor, electric fencing, dogs, atv, pickup/farmcar, livestock trailer/haulage etc?


I run a low capital input, outside lambing flock (only 200 ewes), land is free, but I do sometimes wonder if I have a hobby which pays for itself or a business.
Startup cost has been substantial at least compared to the cashflow of the operation itself.
I do know that if I scale up to a flock which requires a full time shepherd and quit the city job, I should be able to pay myself €30,- per hour. At the moment I'm at a scale which requires investment in effieciency (quad bike, rappa fencer) but income wise does not justify to do so.
Maybe I'm just grumpy from 100mm of rain in the last 24 hours:)
 
I run a low capital input, outside lambing flock (only 200 ewes), land is free, but I do sometimes wonder if I have a hobby which pays for itself or a business

If your land is “free” and you’re not making a profit that you are happy with, then it looks like a self-funding hobby to me. There is also an opportunity cost to the landowner in letting your sheep enterprise have the land for free. Hopefully you are in the eye of the storm input-wise, and your investments in infrastructure will pay off. 👍🏻
 

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Has anyone included depreciation, mortality, machinery/tractor, electric fencing, dogs, atv, pickup/farmcar, livestock trailer/haulage etc?


I run a low capital input, outside lambing flock (only 200 ewes), land is free, but I do sometimes wonder if I have a hobby which pays for itself or a business.
Startup cost has been substantial at least compared to the cashflow of the operation itself.
I do know that if I scale up to a flock which requires a full time shepherd and quit the city job, I should be able to pay myself €30,- per hour. At the moment I'm at a scale which requires investment in effieciency (quad bike, rappa fencer) but income wise does not justify to do so.
Maybe I'm just grumpy from 100mm of rain in the last 24 hours:)
My £65 should cover it all. That which I couldn’t work out I used John Nix too provide the figures.
 
Doesnt sound like there's a massive profit to be made for most sheep farmers then, unless you're all running substantial numbers. How much are lambs selling for at the moment?
 

neilo

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Montgomeryshire
Doesnt sound like there's a massive profit to be made for most sheep farmers then, unless you're all running substantial numbers. How much are lambs selling for at the moment?

There isn’t, but a small profit is possible if costs are contained, or output high.

Most published costings (John Nix, Aber Uni, AHDB, etc) aren’t far out when they show that most sheep farms are losing money without subsidy payments.
 

Anymulewilldo

Member
Livestock Farmer
Doesnt sound like there's a massive profit to be made for most sheep farmers then, unless you're all running substantial numbers. How much are lambs selling for at the moment?
There isn’t… it’s been a numbers and efficiency game for as long as I can remember.
I suppose I’m lucky that Grandad has drummed into me from day 1 that I’ve got too make it pay without the subsidy. He’s never let me factor it into calculations properly, “it’s only there till the pot runs dry lad. When that happens you’ve got too stand there and make your living without being propped up.” It’s caused a few arguments over the years but I’m thankful he did it. Sone years we’ve been bloody glad of the 1st December though!
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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