Off farm income

Muddyroads

Member
Location
Devon
This farm was advertised as a part income farm and is primarily livestock. Sod’s law, if something is going to go wrong, it’s when you’re off site. Our way round it was for my wife to be the main earner while the business developed sufficiently for her to be able to reduce her hours.
 

Treecreeper

Member
Livestock Farmer
I've always worked off farm and used to do sucklers and sheep, only sucklers now as the workload was too much. Flexi hours help, I've never felt that losses were any greater on workdays than when I'm there full time. During calving stock get seen at 10pm and that's it until 6am unless something is very obviously on, same when I had sheep. Keep kit to a minimum but have kit that saves time.( Straw chopper, best thing ever) Contractors will do the heavier work quicker and easier.
 

Whitepeak

Member
Livestock Farmer
I work off farm doing night milking for a local farm 3 nights a week. Dad has also just taken a job off farm, milkman 3 nights a week. Currently 50 pedigree sucklers plus followers and 35 lambing ewes.
 

gwi1890

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
North wales
How can anyone have cows calving or ewes lmbing and not be around for hrs on end, if you don't check ewes every hrs or so they'll be trouble for sure especially in side or sh!t weather outside. Miss mothering, dead one. Your either a farmer or not.
Most new entrants without Dad and Mums financial backing would need to work off the farm how else would one fund the start up? You take days/weeks off for lambing alot of “full time farmers “ pre pandemic could take time out to spend hours on end in the local marts cafe 🤣, my grandfather used to milk 70 cows in the 80’s and work full time , milk before and after work and time off for calving it was either that or he couldn’t pay the mortgage
 
Location
Cumbria
Have a full time job (non agricultural ).A certain amount of flexibility if people will swap a day off but no “I’ll just pop home for my dinner hour to look at stuff”. We take 3 weeks off at lambing time to cover lambing and earlies and lates have to manage themselves. Worst thing is when you get home and something has gone wrong and you weren’t there. But, it’s not what pays my wage. My job does and so has to be the priority. To be honest, (dare I say this on TFF!!), its my job that covers my losses in farming. But it is putting money into a land purchase that will be done in time.

Days off are spent doing jobs that need doing so days off (relaxing) are rare to be honest. One of the worst things for me is not being able to help gather the fell on gathering days if I am working. We have a decent heap out on the fell (upwards of 100, over once we get lambs out ) and so are dependent on neighbours getting them ,sorting them and keeping them till we can get there.
I bend over backwards to help them if they ever ring me and say “have you got an hour to spare” or I see a problem over their wall and I know they aren’t about.

Contractors do clipping , dipping and scanning, but often work along side different neighbours to help all parties. We add our sheep to the contractors day saving them a moving stuff hassle and we help our neighbours to put their numbers through as a swap for letting us piggyback on their jobs.

Would be easier not to do it to be honest but I love days gathering and sorting, watching lambing taking place, and taking stuff to the Auction and the general way of life. And that is what makes it worth doing
 
Groundworks started as contracting in late 30s, FIL started doing muck shift etc in late 80s with husband. We now do a lot off the farm for builder and utiltiy company (ground clearance too). Profit margins very substantial paid for all the JDs, trailers, diggers, best equipment - strimmers, chainsaws, equip workshop etc. Allows us to live comfortable. Due to costs we no longer employ anyone so its mainly him, me and fireman when off shifts Works well. Paid for sheds, another home next door etc. Without it we couldnt afford to just farm. The contracting has always hughly subsidised purchases.

To block calve easy calvers outside, lambing not an issue as its mainly when kids are off school again easy lambers. Not off the farm every day. Prob 3 days a week with odd full week. Im here a lot of the time the kids are home just after 3pm. We looked at throwing it all in but would mean everything would go for the measly margins you make on cows. (cows are now going).
 
Considering working a standard 9-5 job three days a week and then working on a farm two days a week to build experience so i can then start building up my own stock on rented ground on the side. Hopefully as a i gain experience and build up stock numbers i could look for a small farm tenancy and work for myself rather than another farmer (whilst keeping the part time 9-5 so i have that guaranteed income still coming in).
 

slackjawedyokel

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
Northumberland
We have off farm income. Mrs SJY doesn’t have too much interest in farming, barring calving the odd cow at midnight (sensible her), so she goes off and does ‘real work’ during the week.
 

Bill the Bass

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cumbria
I have worked off farm since foot and mouth 2001. It’s easy when your young and single and trying to build things up. I only work four days off Farm now, it’s getting harder with a young family as, rightly so they want me on the weekends when I would usually ‘catch up on farm’.

I always think with the right stock and if you are well organised you can run a fair few breeding stock, I am lucky as dad can keep an eye on things but at nearly 80 it’s a lot to ask if him - he finds the responsibility of calving hard especially as I don’t take death in stock well.

Things I am starting to consider are reducing numbers a bit; should we consider polled bulls - 1 less job; packing in cows all together, buying some more property with the funds released and do B & B cattle with the sheds - but that would be very boring.

You need a very big farm with low debt (or a sh!t standard of life) to drive all your income from stock I think.
 

Beames

Member
Location
South wales
Full time job running my own company so am quite flexible with my time. 68 pedigree Angus cows to calve this year and currently 140 cattle in total on the farm. Select easy calving bulls to help things but granted you do get the odd mishap. Contractors do muck spreading and baling and wrapping. Don’t think it makes me any less of a farmer because I’m not there all day.
 

Bill the Bass

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Cumbria
Full time job running my own company so am quite flexible with my time. 68 pedigree Angus cows to calve this year and currently 140 cattle in total on the farm. Select easy calving bulls to help things but granted you do get the odd mishap. Contractors do muck spreading and baling and wrapping. Don’t think it makes me any less of a farmer because I’m not there all day.
Very similar here, 70 odd cows around 200 cattle on the farm. We select bulls for easy calving but there is no way to select away from twisted uteruses, or wrongly presented calves - we have had three come backwards so far this year, 5 sets of twins and two twists. Bit if a nightmare really but easy calving bulls or management wont influence those things.
 

Cowmansam

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Shropshire
Very similar here, 70 odd cows around 200 cattle on the farm. We select bulls for easy calving but there is no way to select away from twisted uteruses, or wrongly presented calves - we have had three come backwards so far this year, 5 sets of twins and two twists. Bit if a nightmare really but easy calving bulls or management wont influence those things.
Heavy calves are more likely to malpresent
 

Tim W

Member
Location
Wiltshire
Hi all,

I've posted a few threads on here recently asking for advice on a farming career, so thank you to everyone who has contributed.

Just wondering, approximately what proportion of livestock farmers have off farm income? Is it relatively normal for livestock farmers to have day jobs, either full time or part time?

Cheers everyone
I think it's fairly common and for me it's been a good thing?
Off farm work gets you away from what can be a lonesome job
Two sources of income is always good---don't put all your eggs in 1 basket
Off farm work can also open your eyes to how the rest of the world lives---makes you appreciate what you have
 

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