End of the Road for Small Livestock Farms?

Hilly

Member
I buy store cattle off some small local farms and always try to help them out with bull hire or dehorning and TB testing.
Yesterday when I went to see some yearlings on one of these farms that is only around 50 acres of old established permanent grass and a reasonable shed, the owners said that they didn't think they will be continuing much longer.
They both work in good jobs and have a nice house, but fear with the end of BPS and no idea of what if anything ELMS will bring them that they can no longer subsidise their suckler cows. Last winter they had to spend £4k on feed for the roughly 40 (20 cows) head they keep as the previous wet winter and drought summers had depleted their feed supplies.
The cattle are mostly native Sussex and while not really a commercial operation as the cows are almost pets to them, they don't normally have to spend much money on anything other than straw and making silage/hay.
This is the second local farm that is also now considering their position very carefully and one has already sold off the cows. They do not want to plant trees on what is an already heavily wooded area and cannot see the point in continuing.
They could rent it out, but it is hard to see who will be interested in taking it on as access is not great and there are now virtually no farmer neighbours left as it is in an area of other small farms which have already almost thrown in the towel.
It cannot be ploughed as it is wealden clay on quite steep banks and small fields surrounded by woods and trees. It ticks every box for landscape and low input agriculture but what can they do to still receive sufficient payments to make it work?

I am sure this is not an isolated situation and taking the money from the retirement scheme will not be possible. These small farms have historically been an important part of the supply chain.
Straw and making silage is a massive cost on suckler operation regardless of size , can’t be discounted as don’t really spend much ..
 

JP1

Member
Livestock Farmer
Add my 20 odd cow outfit to your list Frank.
Although more to do with the body failing and not enough in the job to employ help.
Can get help on a sort of bartering, mutual back scratching basis, but it's getting too much now.
No family interest.
And recalling the state some who have hung on too long have got into in the past...clear up while I still can.
Sorry to read that. I'm hoping to hold in myself and though not always economic I'm still spending where I can to make my single handed farming life easier (watch this space with a little project @the-mad-welder is getting saddled with)
 

JP1

Member
Livestock Farmer
Work out how to get round the t b job
And you can bring 150 here .
used to be done 40/60 years ago all the fold yards had bullocks brought to east for winter to fatten
Most of old open fronted bullock yards will now house humans as many converted into holiday houses etc
We said in foot mouth yeSr it was the start of the livestock reduction scheme ,
They don’t want live stock ,
Just enough to keep the dales and high ground looking traditional for the tourists , many will be glorified park keepers , convert your field house or byre and farm tourists , and pay you just enough to keep job tidy 😡
I'm so with you on this. I must have spent the last 30 years pointing out with delight as I found surviving bullock yards driving around the place. Less and less
 

Hilly

Member
Sadly have these small grass farms, however well run, actually made a profit at all in a long time ? It’s a crying shame that these environmental roll models of farms will be flung under the bus . What’s the option to expensive wintering ? How close would they be to arable boys willing to outwinter them on stubble, and feed them treated straw ?
Treated straw , they will probably want £200 a ton for that ! Like the arable man who wanted the same rent as tatties to grow stubble turnips for lambs 😂 they just ain’t interested in livestock sadly .
 

spin cycle

Member
Location
north norfolk
Or you could look at it from the point of view of the tax payer. Why subsidies a livestyle choice of farming 50 acres, when clearly in this day and age it isn't a business that can make a profit !

The Miners had the same reality check in the 1980's.

Harsh but true unfortunately.

i take your point.....but 'spin' it around the couple in the example were using bps to keep the cattle and produce food....their work largely unpaid........now without bps they are ,not surprisingly, reluctant to use the money from their jobs AND still work for free to produce food

i wouldn't be surprised if food production 'fell off a cliff' very soon
 

JP1

Member
Livestock Farmer
i take your point.....but 'spin' it around the couple in the example were using bps to keep the cattle and produce food....their work largely unpaid........now without bps they are ,not surprisingly, reluctant to use the money from their jobs AND still work for free to produce food

i wouldn't be surprised if food production 'fell off a cliff' very soon
In some ways I really hope it does. Sadly the politicians will be well retired on super annuated gold plated feather nesting and the general public and media incapable of holding to account those allowing this to happen
 

JP1

Member
Livestock Farmer
That’s the last generation of arable
Farmer not the government, to to fuking bone idle to do livestock , the ones that have kept stock up get on grand .
To a point yes. Many large arable find the ability for Winter staff resource for shoots instead. I always hoped there'd be a place for me to fit in for livestock on arable farms using river fields, cover crops, redundant buildings but in the end most were in the combinables only, Winter shooting and ski-ing set and the bullock yards remained empty falling down like a millstone round their owners necks or a conversion to accommodation

I am a glass half full chap but it's the same as my shearer taking my my wool away to assist as a waste disposal. All around me the greatest and finest churches were built on the wealth of wool in the past. Now it's just expected that "someone" will keep their landscape nice for free, cheap food and chuck over 1/3 of it away etc and know your rights when any farming operation is deemed to create a "nuisance" (as perceived by who?)

The job isn't completely f'ked but you can see the housing estates and warehousing and roundabouts sinking every delightful sleepy working village around here too
 

Hilly

Member
I
In some ways I really hope it does. Sadly the politicians will be well retired on super annuated gold plated feather nesting and the general public and media incapable of holding to account those allowing this to happen
Some move afoot to ban bbq’s 😂 i watch and think to myself how far can they push the silent majority before they bite back ?? Interesting how submissive the public are . Personally I have came to the conclusion politicians are nothing but a puppet show the civil servants have a lot to answer for tho , and they really are unaccountable .
 

Will 1594

Member
Arable Farmer
Treated straw , they will probably want £200 a ton for that ! Like the arable man who wanted the same rent as tatties to grow stubble turnips for lambs 😂 they just ain’t interested in livestock sadly .
Be cause the skill of looking after live stock , or who wants to look after them is going .
the prime areas are going to be more intensive , veg boys will stick two fingers up to elms etc and plough right to dyke top
Average land will be back to grass etc , heavy land that’s good black grass growing land should be grass and move the stock further east . And am afraid the high ground 🤦‍♂️Trees and wild life park and import everything
Inflation at minute is the thing to watch
 

JP1

Member
Livestock Farmer
I

Some move afoot to ban bbq’s 😂 i watch and think to myself how far can they push the silent majority before they bite back ?? Interesting how submissive the public are . Personally I have came to the conclusion politicians are nothing but a puppet show the civil servants have a lot to answer for tho , and they really are unaccountable .
The French take it to their face

The Dutch farmers have a pop up BBQ team ready to run to counter any rights protest in front of any processors

UK ; just "meh"
 

delilah

Member
It ticks every box for landscape and low input agriculture but what can they do to still receive sufficient payments to make it work?

Same as everyone else on here: Stop complaining and do something constructive, by telling Defra through the co-design process what ELMS needs to look like.
 

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JP1

Member
Livestock Farmer
I shall keep going for 20 more years so I can leave something of a legacy for Freddie IF he wants it. Folks in the village see me and my stock for the passion it is

I plan to enjoy the journey even if fewer and fewer folks can see what I see and delight in

In the big scheme of things I fear more for what my fellow villagers have to put up with things like centralising health care and web based "customer services" rather than human. There's a massive culture of Gov and big business having fortress systems holding the bosses unaccountable whilst forcing ordinary folk in to monopolistic supply situations

I still say it starts with politicians, Their only output is legislation. From parish Council to General elections we need a "non-of-the-above" option so we can spend 10 years of infighting forcing out the old order and getting politicians with a spine, accountable and listening to us not their party whips. Ideal post Brexit to do that now. Cummings for election reform Tsar !
 

Mark the shepherd

Member
Livestock Farmer
I buy store cattle off some small local farms and always try to help them out with bull hire or dehorning and TB testing.
Yesterday when I went to see some yearlings on one of these farms that is only around 50 acres of old established permanent grass and a reasonable shed, the owners said that they didn't think they will be continuing much longer.
They both work in good jobs and have a nice house, but fear with the end of BPS and no idea of what if anything ELMS will bring them that they can no longer subsidise their suckler cows. Last winter they had to spend £4k on feed for the roughly 40 (20 cows) head they keep as the previous wet winter and drought summers had depleted their feed supplies.
The cattle are mostly native Sussex and while not really a commercial operation as the cows are almost pets to them, they don't normally have to spend much money on anything other than straw and making silage/hay.
This is the second local farm that is also now considering their position very carefully and one has already sold off the cows. They do not want to plant trees on what is an already heavily wooded area and cannot see the point in continuing.
They could rent it out, but it is hard to see who will be interested in taking it on as access is not great and there are now virtually no farmer neighbours left as it is in an area of other small farms which have already almost thrown in the towel.
It cannot be ploughed as it is wealden clay on quite steep banks and small fields surrounded by woods and trees. It ticks every box for landscape and low input agriculture but what can they do to still receive sufficient payments to make it work?

I am sure this is not an isolated situation and taking the money from the retirement scheme will not be possible. These small farms have historically been an important part of the supply chain.
I gave up the fight of keeping cattle last summer. Lost the winter housing 2 years ago, couldn't find anything else. Tried outwintering for 2 winters- pee'd off landlords! Miss the cows, not the TB tests.
 

holwellcourtfarm

Member
NFFN Member
Treated straw , they will probably want £200 a ton for that ! Like the arable man who wanted the same rent as tatties to grow stubble turnips for lambs 😂 they just ain’t interested in livestock sadly .
Be cause the skill of looking after live stock , or who wants to look after them is going .
the prime areas are going to be more intensive , veg boys will stick two fingers up to elms etc and plough right to dyke top
Average land will be back to grass etc , heavy land that’s good black grass growing land should be grass and move the stock further east . And am afraid the high ground 🤦‍♂️Trees and wild life park and import everything
Inflation at minute is the thing to watch
Wait 'till DEFRA realise that they are massively missing their soil health target and start to persecute the tattie and carrot guys for their cultivation.... :facepalm:
 

delilah

Member
Taxpayer support aside, the bigger picture is that cattle and sheep is going the same way as pigs and poultry and for the same reasons.
Have a look at the pigs and poultry section on here. Last post was on Monday. Give it 20 years and the livestock section will be the same. A handful of producers each supplying the cartel with all that they need. Market share is the root of all evil. If you really want to stay in business, that's what needs sorting.
 

Hilly

Member
I had a guy here for a week a botanist and a twitcher , couldn’t believe the wild flowers 🌸 and the wild life , went walking within twenty mile radius everyday , end of week says to me how come your farm is coverd in wild flowers and wild life but very litte round about , i said take a look and tell me what you see , lots of cows and calf’s , now did you see any cattle on your walks , errrr no ! Hello !! Cattle for healthy environment !! But no one will listen to me .
 

GeorgeK

Member
Location
Leicestershire
It would be cheaper to have subsidised the coal job and keep the communities going , than pay out welfare and regeneration of those areas look round Barnsley Rotherham , up in Ayrshire
Funkiness rough areas are some of them , drugs etc and all the doss heads on dole
Very true, instead Drax gets subsidies for shipping in 'carbon neutral' wood to burn. Can't make it up.
 

New report underlines need for joined-up action to protect rivers

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New report underlines need for joined-up action to protect rivers

Written by Defra Press Office

A wide river is in view in a valley in the background, a drystone wall is behind the river, and large, green trees are prominent in the scene.


The Rivers Trust has today launched its State of Our Rivers report aiming to allow the English public understand and explore the health of their rivers on a national and local scale.

Environment Minister Rebecca Pow and Environment Agency Director John Leyland attended the launch panel to discuss the ways in which the...
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