Starting a farm from nothing... I mean nothing

Hi all...

This is an intellectual exercise as much as anything but what would it take to start a small and diverse livestock farm?

I have no money, no practical experience... I don't even know what 'small' means or exactly what stock I'm talking about. But humour me! What would it take?

How much would the set up costs be including buying land? What kind of people would I need to help me? Where's the best place to do it in the UK? I want to know exactly what to do!
 

franklin

New Member
Where's the best place to do it in the UK? I want to know exactly what to do!

As close to a large population centre as possible. Small, tidy yard. Good access. Clean shed. Glorified petting zoo; school trips; tea and coffee shop; small retail side selling your rare / interesting animals as steaks. Best use of an alpaca is in a frying pan. Rent small house with say 25ac - house wants to be to crappy and land just too much to keep the horsey folk away.

For "proper" farming, AS FAR AWAY FROM THE UK AS POSSIBLE.
 
As close to a large population centre as possible. Small, tidy yard. Good access. Clean shed. Glorified petting zoo; school trips; tea and coffee shop; small retail side selling your rare / interesting animals as steaks. Best use of an alpaca is in a frying pan. Rent small house with say 25ac - house wants to be to crappy and land just too much to keep the horsey folk away.

For "proper" farming, AS FAR AWAY FROM THE UK AS POSSIBLE.
Haha thanks for this - I don't suppose you'd know what I'd be looking at to get that up and running then? (it can be ROUGH)
 

franklin

New Member
No idea, sorry. The rent will look horrendous but if you say £200/ac for the land and £10000 a year for the house, paid 6 monthly in advance. Then it depends how much work you can do with a cement mixer and the like.

But the fact is you will pay it more quickly with pots of tea and a scone for £4 than you will selling fat lambs at market. Do not underestimate how much biddies will pay for essentially a pot of hot water with a teabag in it, when coupled with a gift shop and something to keep their grandhildren away from a Nintendo for an hour.
 

Still Farming

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
South Wales UK
£10k doesn't sound like much at all? I was expecting more like £500k!

Location wise perhaps the far North of Scotland is a little too remote but anywhere else is fair game?
Your location ?
10k not much but start small ?
You got to learn somehow ?
Work on farm first best to get FULL understandings of things best 4u ?
 

joe soapy

Member
Location
devon
Your location ?
10k not much but start small ?
You got to learn somehow ?
Work on farm first best to get FULL understandings of things best 4u ?

not sure thats right, better to latch on to a fencer, stone waller, contractor whatever to get around and make contacts, and get a feel for
working outdoors, long days etc and let destiny work its magic
 
Your location ?
10k not much but start small ?
You got to learn somehow ?
Work on farm first best to get FULL understandings of things best 4u ?
not sure thats right, better to latch on to a fencer, stone waller, contractor whatever to get around and make contacts, and get a feel for
working outdoors, long days etc and let destiny work its magic
So I'm based in London and I do have some hands-on experience but (long story short) I'm running a project to try and get urban younger people without any experience more interested in farming... A lot of working farms are understandably reluctant to give experience to and host complete novices so I'm just trying to see what it might take to start something small? Would I need to hire a farm manager, whats the bare minimum to make it (somewhat) economically viable etc.
 

franklin

New Member
It would be easier to find partner farms that could accomodate someone for say a week's work experience. The cost of setting up a farm yourself would be many, many times this when you could simply find farmers who you could pay to take someone for a week / month etc. This would work better with stock, given the seasonality of most arable work.
 
I started from nothing, and as you say, I mean nothing.

So you want to know what costs can be expected?

Firstly what is your background? Have you much money saved, large salary etc?

To get started I rented land, and bought in ewes, tipped them & lambed them and sold with lambs at foot. I done this for 5 or 6 years before I bought cattle, tractor, built sheds, bought land etc.

So before you even buy a sheep you need to either buy or rent land. Lets be realistic and say rent land. For it to be a realistic way into farming its going to have to be at least 10 acres. So lets say 10 acres at £150 per acre ( Moderate land, fenced). So there is your first £1500 of cost.

Next you need to get a flock number. This will take maybe 3 months (You need the land rented for 5 years to achieve this). So £1500 x 5 = £7500. You will need a solicitors agreement for this to be approved by DARD, and then you will need an accountant. That will cost you another £1000 per year.

So now once you have land and flock number sorted you can look at buying sheep.

10 acres during the summer will realistically hold 40 ewes. So buying them in at an average of £100 = £4,000.

Then you will need 2 rams £ 300.

Taking winter grazing, dosing, meal etc into account you can add £30 per ewe on. So that's £1200.

So lets say you keep your lambs for fattening, and make use of them 10 acres. You have had a great year and you have 1.7 lambs on the ground per ewe = 68 lambs (hard to achieve).

68 lambs will need £15 of meal and dosing per head to finish = £1020

Sell them at an average of £75 (which would be a great average price) = £5100

So after your first year you have £5100. Now lets subtract all costs (Just counting the land rent for 1 year)

£5100 - (£1500 + £1000 + £1200 + £1020)

= £380 profit for first year - that's assuming you don't have any losses (which you will).

Now that doesn't count diesel, man hours, vets bills etc. (OR FERTILISER - which would put the above costing's at a real loss)

And to keep sheep you need a shed, hurdles, mesh, feeders etc.

That's not to mention the simple things like even a hammer to hammer in a steeple, a grape, scraper, brush, hovel, spanners, post driver.

Then you might need a tractor, trailer etc.

There is a quick run down of costs (for low land sheep).

I am not trying to put you off, quite the opposite actually. It is a really really really really hard slog to get into farming, I have been trying for 10 years now and im still not making a profit & am sinking all my annual salary into it.

I work 3 jobs just to keep going - but I see progress & that's what keeps me going.

Great to see more people wanting to start from scratch though & not ride off the coattails of others :)
 

Still Farming

Member
Mixed Farmer
Location
South Wales UK
So I'm based in London and I do have some hands-on experience but (long story short) I'm running a project to try and get urban younger people without any experience more interested in farming... A lot of working farms are understandably reluctant to give experience to and host complete novices so I'm just trying to see what it might take to start something small? Would I need to hire a farm manager, whats the bare minimum to make it (somewhat) economically viable etc.
Sounds good .
But how do you get people interested in farming if you don't know yourself ?
 

joe soapy

Member
Location
devon
So I'm based in London and I do have some hands-on experience but (long story short) I'm running a project to try and get urban younger people without any experience more interested in farming... A lot of working farms are understandably reluctant to give experience to and host complete novices so I'm just trying to see what it might take to start something small? Would I need to hire a farm manager, whats the bare minimum to make it (somewhat) economically viable etc.

Well , i will stand by my post. New entrants need to have a core valuable skill.. I would recommend watching a copy of the tv program where a group of townies were taken to Aussie land to shear sheep.
There was some good lessons on there. Many farmers will welcome someone who can walk the walk. once proven to be a valuable member of the community, who knows what opportunities will arise
 
I started from nothing, and as you say, I mean nothing.

So you want to know what costs can be expected?

Firstly what is your background? Have you much money saved, large salary etc?

To get started I rented land, and bought in ewes, tipped them & lambed them and sold with lambs at foot. I done this for 5 or 6 years before I bought cattle, tractor, built sheds, bought land etc.

So before you even buy a sheep you need to either buy or rent land. Lets be realistic and say rent land. For it to be a realistic way into farming its going to have to be at least 10 acres. So lets say 10 acres at £150 per acre ( Moderate land, fenced). So there is your first £1500 of cost.

Next you need to get a flock number. This will take maybe 3 months (You need the land rented for 5 years to achieve this). So £1500 x 5 = £7500. You will need a solicitors agreement for this to be approved by DARD, and then you will need an accountant. That will cost you another £1000 per year.

So now once you have land and flock number sorted you can look at buying sheep.

10 acres during the summer will realistically hold 40 ewes. So buying them in at an average of £100 = £4,000.

Then you will need 2 rams £ 300.

Taking winter grazing, dosing, meal etc into account you can add £30 per ewe on. So that's £1200.

So lets say you keep your lambs for fattening, and make use of them 10 acres. You have had a great year and you have 1.7 lambs on the ground per ewe = 68 lambs (hard to achieve).

68 lambs will need £15 of meal and dosing per head to finish = £1020

Sell them at an average of £75 (which would be a great average price) = £5100

So after your first year you have £5100. Now lets subtract all costs (Just counting the land rent for 1 year)

£5100 - (£1500 + £1000 + £1200 + £1020)

= £380 profit for first year - that's assuming you don't have any losses (which you will).

Now that doesn't count diesel, man hours, vets bills etc. (OR FERTILISER - which would put the above costing's at a real loss)

And to keep sheep you need a shed, hurdles, mesh, feeders etc.

That's not to mention the simple things like even a hammer to hammer in a steeple, a grape, scraper, brush, hovel, spanners, post driver.

Then you might need a tractor, trailer etc.

There is a quick run down of costs (for low land sheep).

I am not trying to put you off, quite the opposite actually. It is a really really really really hard slog to get into farming, I have been trying for 10 years now and im still not making a profit & am sinking all my annual salary into it.

I work 3 jobs just to keep going - but I see progress & that's what keeps me going.

Great to see more people wanting to start from scratch though & not ride off the coattails of others :)


Wow! What a great reply - thank you so much for being so thorough! so I'm looking at several tens of thousands of pounds? Not impossible but definitely hard work I can see that... Maybe I need to look at getting funding as I don't have loads of money or an amazing income (I'm just a student at the moment)
 

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Man fined £300 for bonfire-related waste offences

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Written by William Kellett from Agriland

court-640x360.jpg
A man has pleaded guilty at Newtownards Magistrates’ Court to waste offences relating to a bonfire next to the electrical sub-station on the Circular Road in Newtownards, Co. Down.

Gareth Gill (51) of Abbot’s Walk, Newtownards pleaded guilty to two charges under the Waste and Contaminated Land (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, for which he was fined £150 each and ordered to pay a £15 offender’s levy

On June 25, 2018, PSNI officers went to Gill’s yard, where they found a large amount of waste consisting of scrap wood, pallets, carpet and underlay.

Discussion with Northern Ireland Environment Agency (NIEA) officers confirmed the site...
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