Making a living from sheep

How many sheep do people think you need to make a living from them? By a living I would mean equivalent to living wage so around 17k a year. I know obviously setups differ massively, just looking at peoples opinions. We used to think 300 when we were in it back in the day. Is that still about right?
 

Bald Rick

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Anglesey
How long is a piece of string?

Too many factors involved to give any sort of answer but I would note that we as a nation are not massive consumers of sheep meat so you’re looking at exports to underpin your market.

One word: Boris
 

ohalice

Member
Mixed Farmer
IMO 300 isn't a bad number to make some decent profit off. You should be more concerned about how to efficiently manage your current stock. Here's some management tips I think you might find useful:
  • Buy low, sell high
  • Always have good stock
  • Keep running costs low
  • Find a market for your sheep.
  • Develop a story that makes people want to buy your sheep.
  • Make sure they taste good.
  • Cull sheep that don't thrive on your property.
  • Try to keep birthrates high. A ewe giving 2 lambs a birth and keeping them is more profitable than a ewe giving 1.
Good luck mate!
 

jendan

Member
I'm saying this quietly so i don't wake @Bury the Trash --- 1000 ewes to make the median wage (£27k) is what i figured as a very rough estimate last time i did any sums
This accounts for return on investment, rent , labour and all those things some farmers like to forget
And doesn't include any land owners dole (y)
How many lambs per ewe speaned from your 1000 ewes?
 

egbert

Member
I'm saying this quietly so i don't wake @Bury the Trash --- 1000 ewes to make the median wage (£27k) is what i figured as a very rough estimate last time i did any sums
This accounts for return on investment, rent , labour and all those things some farmers like to forget
And doesn't include any land owners dole (y)
good for you if you can wring £27/ewe out of em, counting all the real costs.
And there's so many little things to account for....maintenance and depreciation on fences being one that sneaks up.
My horn heided ewes - counting every penny they cost- might yield £2/ewe in a fair year.
And they're the only mainstream livestock I can get over the line.

Mind....that profit is real profit, and sub free, and accounts for my time at a rate which I could hire in help.
So....i'll be needing 13,500 of em to keep up!
(crap, if I want them to compete with other ventures, I'll be needing a few more than that on top)
 
If you want to make a living Of just 300 sheep what the feck do you do all day ?
I do a bit of other stuff but I want more free time. I've spent too much of my life working stupid hours and being tied to work. I want to have a bit more time for the kids. They are only young once and I'm missing out on too much. Priorities have changed. Love the sheep side, moved away from it a few years ago and now want to go back to being my own boss, and not having to plan my life around work so much.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
I suppose a lot depends on what you want your accounts to show?
Also when you say you want say 20k a year, is that in the hand with the business already paying for some living expenses, house, vehicle, insurance etc?
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
The reality is if you are renting ground and actually putting ALL your costs into the equation, then you will be working for way under the minimum wage.

But as my bank manager says, ' When you look at the figures there is no money in the job, but somehow farmers make a living !'
Just creative accounting surely?
I've known plenty of farmers that claim they can show they never make any money and yet they've managed to have a standard of living way higher than someone who actually earns minimum wage.
 
Some general living costs would not be included (vehicle, house, diesel, insurance), as they are already covered by another trade. We have 85 acres of our own land. Mainly upland. Would carry around 120-150 ewes all year round without a lot of additional feed. Rest would be rented keep and that rented keep would be included as an expense solely for the sheep side. I reckon I would need to aim to get around 17k to make it viable long term but would probably get away with 10-12k with some creative accounting.
 

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CHAP launches CropMonitor Pro â a new digital service for predicting crop pest and disease risks

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