Making a living from sheep

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
To be fair to Boss, the OP asked for numbers required to pay an income of £17k, so I'm presuming that would be the wage/labour rate. So that's around 475 ewes on Boss's figures.
However I do agree with you that it's very light on fixed costs. When running through costings with my daughter for her enterprises it often seems pleasantly profitable, then I remember she has few if any fixed costs, just borrowing required equipment/ shed space off of Dad.
And it's quite easy to pluck round figures from the air to support your argument. (Even when doing costings for yourself). However actual figures spent often tend to creep well above a theoretical budget and the profit drops accordingly.

But as you say, well done to Boss for putting figures down. It's a thankless operation on here cos someone will always be along to shoot them down.
You guys would love to pick holes in my sheep enterprise costings, that's for sure :LOL:

Similar to @Bossfarmer's, just without all the costs, (although my land cost is almost double his notional rent figure)
 

texas pete

Member
Location
East Mids
Some real figures. Four years old now. I have nothing more up to date, as that is the last time I lambed any sheep.

Ewes
223​
S/R
8.35​
Noteslosses5%/yrValue
Replacements20%/yr
125​
Sales latefat
325​
£76.21​
£24,768.25​
Nc Mule
111​
95​
CostsTotalsPer ewe Per haPer lambCulls15%/yr
67.5​
ewelamb
£0.00​
Suff x
39​
90​
Vet & Med
2177.84​
9.77​
81.55​
6.70​
Abortion vacc £329.64 = 20% of cost for 5 yrs
57.5
Store​
£0.00​
Suff x hg8385
Vit & Min
780.5​
3.50​
29.23​
2.40​
ewes life (crops)
6​
Total
325​
£24,768.25​
suff x hg kept
73​
85​
Fallen Stock
224.5​
1.01​
8.41​
0.69​
Depreciation/ewe
9.58​
Percentage
146%​
total
223​
20260​
Depreciation
2136.34​
9.58​
79.99​
6.57​
Cull value includes 5% deaths
Ewe Corn
2194.2​
9.84​
82.16​
6.75​
8.3t @ £265/t 37.2kg/hd
Lamb Feed
1370.34​
6.15​
51.31​
4.22​
4.68t for cade lambs
Winter Fodder
793.38​
3.56​
29.71​
2.44​
182.5​
Grass seed
150​
0.67​
5.62​
0.46​
7.5 ac/yr
36​
Fertiliser
1171​
5.25​
43.85​
3.60​
8​
Trailer
157​
0.70​
5.88​
0.48​
280​
Straw
126​
0.57​
4.72​
0.39​
baling costs of £4/day for 6 weeks (1 bale /day)
42
Rams
225​
1.01​
8.42​
0.69​
0.5 rams/year @ £450
Interest
506.5​
2.27​
18.97​
1.56​
£90.85/hd av val @ 2.5%
Water
120.7​
0.54​
4.52​
0.37​
losses
Electric
106.5​
0.48​
3.99​
0.33​
ewes150 x 212%
318​
Hay/silage
1000​
4.48​
37.44​
3.08​
50 bales @ £ £20/balehoggs
83 x 100%​
83
Contract
421.7​
1.89​
15.79​
1.30​
shearing £1.40/hd scanning £0.50/hd
401
Tags
245​
1.10​
9.17​
0.75​
lambs reared
325​
Total
13906.5​
62.36​
520.71​
42.78​
lambs lost
76​
Lamb sales
£24,768.25​
111.07​
927.42​
76.19​
% lost
18.95​
Wool sales
440​
1.97​
16.48​
1.35​
Total
£25,208.25​
113.04​
943.90​
77.55​
Net Profit
£11,301.75​
50.68​
423.18​
34.77​
Rent
1981.2​
8.88​
74.18​
6.09​
Nominal rent £0.30/ewe/wk
Labour
5485​
24.60​
205.38​
16.87​
Labour £15/hr. 0.5hr/day. 1 x 3 hr day/month for dosing etc. 8hrs shearing. Lambing 10hrs/day for 1 month, 3hrs for 2wks 548.5
Margin
£3,835.55​
17.20​
143.62​
11.80​
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
At least there might be a grain of truth in yours Pete...:)
The key is to not make everyone else's living out of your sheep, on your land.
Roughly:

30 ewe lambs per year @ $107.50, x103% (stock losses) $110.75
Feed @4c/kg x 450kg year (ewe) + 250kg (her lambs) = $30, being generous and accounting for "the passenger period" before they lamb as a gimmer.
Grass cost based on my total pasture crop÷ what it costs to pay the loan on the land
6 in one vax booster, not sure, $.50/hd we'll say
Hour of my time, $50
Ewe costs $190 × 30

Tups, homebred and reared on bottle $200

Lambs sold, 30 hoggets 1.05 × $159avg $166.95 =$5008
Lambs sold, 30 2tooth ewes 2.1 ×$162 avg$338.10
=$10044
Wool sold, $350
Ewes sold after weaning for $190 (just prior to tupping)

No silage
No fert
No minerals
No wormers
No vet costs
No disposal costs
And no depreciation, as per above we only kept young sheep and sold them well

Profit is what you make of it, I don't pay myself for the sheepwork as it's my hobby, instead the enterprise gross profit is largely reinvested in silage and bedding for grazing cattle, (which we run at around a 60% return) and I draw my pay from the cattle fund which is the only way I can work the cashflow from a hobby farm without using funds from elsewhere

To the OP it would take about 150 ewes on this farm if the profits can be multiplied through another enterprise (like our dairy B&B) and there is a third income stream for lean months - or solely sheep I could probably retire with 450-470 ewes on here.

Lambing percentage, performance and survival are the 3 main things I focus on
 

texas pete

Member
Location
East Mids
The key is to not make everyone else's living out of your sheep, on your land.
Roughly:

30 ewe lambs per year @ $107.50, x103% (stock losses) $110.75
Feed @4c/kg x 450kg year (ewe) + 250kg (her lambs) = $30, being generous and accounting for "the passenger period" before they lamb as a gimmer.
Grass cost based on my total pasture crop÷ what it costs to pay the loan on the land
6 in one vax booster, not sure, $.50/hd we'll say
Hour of my time, $50
Ewe costs $190 × 30

Tups, homebred and reared on bottle $200

Lambs sold, 30 hoggets 1.05 × $159avg $166.95 =$5008
Lambs sold, 30 2tooth ewes 2.1 ×$162 avg$338.10
=$10044
Wool sold, $350
Ewes sold after weaning for $190 (just prior to tupping)

No silage
No fert
No minerals
No wormers
No vet costs
No disposal costs
And no depreciation, as per above we only kept young sheep and sold them well

Profit is what you make of it, I don't pay myself for the sheepwork as it's my hobby, instead the enterprise gross profit is largely reinvested in silage and bedding for grazing cattle, (which we run at around a 60% return) and I draw my pay from the cattle fund which is the only way I can work the cashflow from a hobby farm without using funds from elsewhere

To the OP it would take about 150 ewes on this farm if the profits can be multiplied through another enterprise (like our dairy B&B) and there is a third income stream for lean months - or solely sheep I could probably retire with 450-470 ewes on here.

Lambing percentage, performance and survival are the 3 main things I focus on
Profit/labour is a funny one. I just include something for a guide, I don't "pay" myself that, in truth the total hours will be higher.

There are other OH's too, but non specific. They are allocated per ha, although I could break some machinery and transport costs down, if I could be arsed...:LOL:

The point is, it stacks up, or did when I did it. I agree though, there is far too much going into pockets other than our own.
 
Your vet/ meds costs/ ewe are much higher than you realize/ understand @Bossfarmer if you are including ALL costs like vet/ meds/ tagging/ deadstock etc under the meds section of your costs!

Only way that wouldn't be the case is if you DONT vaccinate/ drench/ tag or have hardly any ewes etc die on you which doesn't sound like is the case!

Go back thru your AG merchants/ vets/ deadstock/ Tag invoice's and tally up how much you ACTUALLY spent on drugs/ vaccinations and getting rid of deadstock.

Fair play to you for putting costing's on here but they sound like they are not based on actual figures!
ok the figure should be nearer £700, but at the same time my actual fert cost is lower than stated so that balances that out, anything else?
 
Some real figures. Four years old now. I have nothing more up to date, as that is the last time I lambed any sheep.

Ewes
223​
S/R
8.35​
Noteslosses5%/yrValue
Replacements20%/yr
125​
Sales latefat
325​
£76.21​
£24,768.25​
Nc Mule
111​
95​
CostsTotalsPer ewePer haPer lambCulls15%/yr
67.5​
ewelamb
£0.00​
Suff x
39​
90​
Vet & Med
2177.84​
9.77​
81.55​
6.70​
Abortion vacc £329.64 = 20% of cost for 5 yrs
57.5
Store​
£0.00​
Suff x hg8385
Vit & Min
780.5​
3.50​
29.23​
2.40​
ewes life (crops)
6​
Total
325​
£24,768.25​
suff x hg kept
73​
85​
Fallen Stock
224.5​
1.01​
8.41​
0.69​
Depreciation/ewe
9.58​
Percentage
146%​
total
223​
20260​
Depreciation
2136.34​
9.58​
79.99​
6.57​
Cull value includes 5% deaths
Ewe Corn
2194.2​
9.84​
82.16​
6.75​
8.3t @ £265/t 37.2kg/hd
Lamb Feed
1370.34​
6.15​
51.31​
4.22​
4.68t for cade lambs
Winter Fodder
793.38​
3.56​
29.71​
2.44​
182.5​
Grass seed
150​
0.67​
5.62​
0.46​
7.5 ac/yr
36​
Fertiliser
1171​
5.25​
43.85​
3.60​
8​
Trailer
157​
0.70​
5.88​
0.48​
280​
Straw
126​
0.57​
4.72​
0.39​
baling costs of £4/day for 6 weeks (1 bale /day)
42
Rams
225​
1.01​
8.42​
0.69​
0.5 rams/year @ £450
Interest
506.5​
2.27​
18.97​
1.56​
£90.85/hd av val @ 2.5%
Water
120.7​
0.54​
4.52​
0.37​
losses
Electric
106.5​
0.48​
3.99​
0.33​
ewes150 x 212%
318​
Hay/silage
1000​
4.48​
37.44​
3.08​
50 bales @ £ £20/balehoggs
83 x 100%​
83
Contract
421.7​
1.89​
15.79​
1.30​
shearing £1.40/hd scanning £0.50/hd
401
Tags
245​
1.10​
9.17​
0.75​
lambs reared
325​
Total
13906.5​
62.36​
520.71​
42.78​
lambs lost
76​
Lamb sales
£24,768.25​
111.07​
927.42​
76.19​
% lost
18.95​
Wool sales
440​
1.97​
16.48​
1.35​
Total
£25,208.25​
113.04​
943.90​
77.55​
Net Profit
£11,301.75​
50.68​
423.18​
34.77​
Rent
1981.2​
8.88​
74.18​
6.09​
Nominal rent £0.30/ewe/wk
Labour
5485​
24.60​
205.38​
16.87​
Labour £15/hr. 0.5hr/day. 1 x 3 hr day/month for dosing etc. 8hrs shearing. Lambing 10hrs/day for 1 month, 3hrs for 2wks 548.5
Margin
£3,835.55​
17.20​
143.62​
11.80​
so £50/ewe before rent and labour, the op didnt ask for labour in costings, take the labour out and my £40/ewe profit is accurate
 

Kiwi Pete

Member
Livestock Farmer
Profit/labour is a funny one. I just include something for a guide, I don't "pay" myself that, in truth the total hours will be higher.

There are other OH's too, but non specific. They are allocated per ha, although I could break some machinery and transport costs down, if I could be arsed...:LOL:

The point is, it stacks up, or did when I did it. I agree though, there is far too much going into pockets other than our own.
Most of the locals got their laughs watching me put up and take down an electric fence 400 times a year but when you look at that "shepherding" and what it actually does for the enterprise/whole farm as well as all the drugs and seeds and W.H.Y. you don't need, it is such a no-brainer to do it that way - instead of not doing it and haemorraging all that money!
Likewise I could take the old quad out to shift but why? It is an expensive few minutes to do that.

Walk, observe, plan, actually shepherd the bloody things properly and they don't all die, and they don't all need a fecking "health plan" either because they are naturally healthy creatures if you let them be.
Keep fûcking Roundup and fertiliser off your land
 

egbert

Member
Fact is if your paying labour and a decent rent your profit will be a - one if you cant do the work yourself and get cheap land then dont waste your time
That's a huge part of doing these costings....learning that time we spend ourselves should be accounted for.
I'm relatively comfortable knowing I'm on the wrong side of the balance sheet, but (and this is the critical bit) should I cook up some madcap sceme to keep more sheep.... I can quickly see the folly of it.
Should I want to keep more sucklers...call the men in white coats!
 
Location
Ceredigion
That's a huge part of doing these costings....learning that time we spend ourselves should be accounted for.
I'm relatively comfortable knowing I'm on the wrong side of the balance sheet, but (and this is the critical bit) should I cook up some madcap sceme to keep more sheep.... I can quickly see the folly of it.
Should I want to keep more sucklers...call the men in white coats!
The most i ever had was 3000 and that was when the sub payments were good , even then after deducting Labour Charges and some rent the profit was very small , i had no time to do the work myself
 

hally

Member
Location
cumbria
To be fair to Boss, the OP asked for numbers required to pay an income of £17k, so I'm presuming that would be the wage/labour rate. So that's around 475 ewes on Boss's figures.
However I do agree with you that it's very light on fixed costs. When running through costings with my daughter for her enterprises it often seems pleasantly profitable, then I remember she has few if any fixed costs, just borrowing required equipment/ shed space off of Dad.
And it's quite easy to pluck round figures from the air to support your argument. (Even when doing costings for yourself). However actual figures spent often tend to creep well above a theoretical budget and the profit drops accordingly.

But as you say, well done to Boss for putting figures down. It's a thankless operation on here cos someone will always be along to shoot them down.
It might be light for fixed costs but in real terms there will be an allocation of subsidy/environmental payments that should be attributed to the land these sheep run on and therefore factored into income. It doesn’t look too far out realistically.
 

silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
The comment I would like to make: a simple question is why are there so many sheep about if the price of the end product is so bad?

Is the lamb price due to oversupply.
I’ll have to let someone that actually keeps sheep to answer that , but as per the other thread , I just wonder what scenario you think should or would happen, if support payments were removed.
 

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