Speaking out for Small farmers.

Sid

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
South Molton
I was a small farmer once,
100 acres 25 cows 140 ewes.


Interestingly a guy I use to do relief for milked 80 cows, was regularly ignored by reps as wasn't a "large" herd.
Fact was he use to feed nearly 3 t of concentrate and straights per cow so was actually bigger user than an average herd back then of double the sized herds.

As he said their loss.
 

Cowcorn

Member
Mixed Farmer
I was a small farmer once,
100 acres 25 cows 140 ewes.


Interestingly a guy I use to do relief for milked 80 cows, was regularly ignored by reps as wasn't a "large" herd.
Fact was he use to feed nearly 3 t of concentrate and straights per cow so was actually bigger user than an average herd back then of double the sized herds.

As he said their loss.
Its not the size of the " shot " but the power behind it !!!
Many small farmers make a very good go of small farms and progress and grow .
Equally many large operations end up downsizing and shedding land because the cant make money .
Aul Charlie is bang on the money but his views may not suit the one man and his drill contract farming a county apiece while the hills go wild agenda
Strength in numbers more active farmers means more customers for rural businesses ,more kids for rural schools etc .
Whats not to like !!
 

ford 7810

Member
Location
cumbria
I was a small farmer once,
100 acres 25 cows 140 ewes.


Interestingly a guy I use to do relief for milked 80 cows, was regularly ignored by reps as wasn't a "large" herd.
Fact was he use to feed nearly 3 t of concentrate and straights per cow so was actually bigger user than an average herd back then of double the sized herds.

As he said their loss.
years ago when we started to keep sheep we needed some ewe nuts so we called in at a local Family feed firm .4or 5 in the office including the boss he said can I help you . I said I would like some sheep nuts but which should I use. How many sheep have you got he said I said 17 and he just got up and worked out of the office.the rest were pretty embarrassed. We know lamb about 100 still not a lot but another local firm seem to appreciate it
 

daveydiesel1

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Co antrim
years ago when we started to keep sheep we needed some ewe nuts so we called in at a local Family feed firm .4or 5 in the office including the boss he said can I help you . I said I would like some sheep nuts but which should I use. How many sheep have you got he said I said 17 and he just got up and worked out of the office.the rest were pretty embarrassed. We know lamb about 100 still not a lot but another local firm seem to appreciate it
If i was runnin a meal firm id rather have a lot of small customers than a few big 1s as they could leave and ud have nothin, eggs in 1 basket kinda thing
 
If the upcoming downturn is as bad as they say then even economies of scale will not be enough so large units will suffer just as much. In fact it may work against them Another point is that as the unit grows management ability has to grow with it and sometimes its just not there. An example is two very large units in our area have both forgotten to roll some fields of cereals. Plenty of dry weather in April up here to do it .Going to be an interesting harvest with all the stones on the surface. A few half million pound combines look vulnerable!
 

BrianV

Member
Livestock Farmer
Forget France Switzerland is the place to farm, average farm size 20 cows!

Getting your teeth into Swiss meat prices

Swiss cows in close up
Keystone/Sigi Tischler
Why is Swiss meat among the most expensive in the world? Farmers, consumer groups and industry experts all have their opinions.
This content was published on January 5, 2018 - 11:00January 5, 2018 - 11:00Simon Bradley
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Not many people in the world can afford to pay nearly $50 for a kilogramme of beef leg round or more than $20 for the same amount of pork chop. But those are the price tags on these cuts of meat in Swiss supermarkets. According to the Meat Price Index 2017 by CaterwingsExternal link, Switzerland has the highest meat prices in the world - 142% more than the global average.
Caterwings estimates that an unskilled Swiss worker needs only 3.1 hours to afford 1kg of beef, while in India someone must work 22.8 hours to pay for the same amount. The extremely high cost of living in Switzerland goes some way towards explaining the high prices, yet Switzerland still lags behind many other western European countries in the index’s affordability calculations.
On closer analysis, multiple factors influence Swiss meat prices.
For Franz Hagenbuch, president of the Swiss Beef AssociationExternal link, the high production costs in Switzerland are partly to blame, including “salaries, energy, fertilizer, veterinary bills, construction costs, insurance and animal feed”.
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Kevin Moat, who runs a small organic beef farm above Lake Thun, agrees that costs in the country are particularly high.
“Financially, it can be difficult,” he says. “Insurance is a big cost for a small farm like this - health insurance and vehicle costs, and then I have to be insured, as if anything happens to me we’re in trouble.”
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All the small extras on the farm add up. Studies have found, for example, that farm machinery in Switzerland can cost 25% more than in neighbouring France and Germany and pesticides 70-75%.
But the explanations for the high prices are also structural and cultural.
Swiss agricultural policyExternal link, based on environmentally friendly and sustainable methods that guarantee national food supply, plays a role. The majority of farms meet minimum standards known as ‘required ecological services’ with production that encourages biodiversity, respectful animal-rearing, soil rotation, the use of natural fertilisers and other measures. In return, they receive subsidies worth CHF2.8 billion a year.
Swiss farms are typically small and traditional structures – average size of 18 hectares or around 20 cows – restricted by the alpine topography. Around 10% are organic. Meeting all the requirements to receive an organic food label places additional demands on certified farmers.
Fresh air cattle
Making sure farm animals are well looked after is a key factor. The biggest meat industry lobby group Pro Viande claims that ‘Switzerland has one of the strictest animal protection laws in the world’. It cites a 2010 comparative study of 12 European Union countries by the Swiss Animal Protection (SAP) societyExternal link, which put Switzerland head and shoulders above its neighbours for its respectful treatment of farm animals.
Beyond minimum animal welfare standards, farmers are encouraged – financially – to sign up to special federal schemes. In 2015, over three-quarters of Swiss farm animals took part in the so-called “Regular Time in the Open Air for Farm Animals” (RAUS) programmeExternal link and over half in the “Particularly Animal-Friendly Stable Systems” (BTS) Programme. Pro Viande says around 91% of Swiss chickens conform to the BTS standards, which offer raised places to sleep and access to protected areas outdoors at all times of the day. It claims that 81.2% of cattle regularly had time in the open air in 2015.
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Feed is also closely controlled as is how livestock are transported: cattle eat mainly grass and hay, and much of the fodder for pork comes from by-products of human consumption, while animals cannot be on the road in a trailer longer than six hours, compared to 24 hours in the EU.
These strict environmental and animal welfare standards have a direct influence on the health of animals and quality of Swiss meat, say experts, but they also come at a price.
“We are much more expensive than our neighbours due to the salaries, but the quality of meat is different, and this is tied to how the animals are treated,” explains Elias Welti, head of communication at the Swiss Meat UnionExternal link, the leading butchers' association.
Welti says the numerous Swiss regulations result in higher staffing and infrastructure costs. As one example, he cites directives setting out the amount of space that must be afforded each animal to move about, lie or feed. Swiss law, he argues, is much more animal friendly in this regard than other countries, and this too influences prices.
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“Rules have to be respected and monitored - in contrast to other countries with regulations that only exist on paper,” Hagenbuch adds.
Meat consumption
Blame the system

Barbara Pfenniger, a food specialist at the Federation of French-speaking Consumers (FRC)External link, agrees, even if she says the mandatory Swiss farm standards don’t differ greatly from neighbouring countries.
“Here we have a system of direct subsidies which encourages farmers to do more than the legal minimum.” In practice, a farmer is paid more if he gives his cattle time in the fresh air. Pfenniger says this should be seen as an investment in healthier livestock but it can also result in higher prices since producers can charge more for the meat from such animals.
But Pfenniger says regulations and incentives and how farmers’ implement and interpret them are not the only reasons Swiss meat is 142% more expensive than the global average
 

Dry Rot

Member
Livestock Farmer
There are plenty of small farms in Scotland, they are called 'crofts'. The small farmer is the man who does your fencing, but farms on the side. He runs a small engineering shop part time because the local economy can't afford to finance a large one. They were called blacksmiths. He's the one who delivers your post. He might be the harbour master. Anyway, you get the drift.

I visited one of these small farms. The door was answered by a little old lady. It was easy to make a snap judgement. How wrong could I be? One son was a Harley street surgeon. A daughter was a hospital matron. Another son was the captain of an oil tanker. And so on. She'd had six children and every one of them had done well.

The fact is a small farm is a great place for growing people. Maybe some of those statisticians could work out how many useful people small farms have produced compared to those living in towns. The wide variety of skills needed to run a small farm compared with a big one, that employs contractors and specialists, is mind boggling when you get down to adding them up. Remove the small farmers and the countryside would be poorer place.
 
Location
Ceredigion
It's not all about size
Depends what your aspirations are in life , Dad wanted to make a better life for his children so we did not have to scrimp and scrape like he had to .
The important thing is to live and let live and don't condem anyone for the choices they made
 

Claas launches new line of Liner rakes

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Written by Justin Roberts from Agriland

Claas has just unveiled three completely new four-rotor rakes with working widths of 15m, 13.6m and 12.7m. These maximum spans widths can be adjusted by 3.40 to 4.90m depending on the model,

Claas telescopic arm

The new range has been designed to offer low transport heights, improved ground-contour following by the rotors, and ease of handling, according to Claas.

Adjustable working width​


One major development are the new telescopic arms which extend and retract by means of a three-stage patented system.

This comprises a ‘C’ profile and slide rails, enabling rapid...
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