YesNah, the smaller arable unit can run for years on bargain basement kit if necessary, the big boys wear it all out/need to keep pace with fashion/generally have to keep spending
Most of the nice smaller older easy to repair arable kit has either been exported or is completely knackered. The post year 2000 machinery is mostly too big and isn’t easily sorted out in our workshop especially if it relies on electronics of some sort that in turn relies on a now obsolete programme on an EEPROM. That’s a bit of a difficulty for us smaller arable operators. New kit is completely unaffordable.
I am actually considering going back to 12m tramlines to see us through to retirement as the kit is just so much easier to work on, cheaper to maintain and treads more lightly in more ways than one. The best sprayer we ever had was the Chaviot on 12 m. Everything we have had since at 24 m has been a heavy slow lumbering money pit but hey ho.
I bought a “modern” secondhand trailed sprayer fairly cheap as I need a project. It’s OK, needs some welding etc but:
Relies on a computer or electronics even to fold the boom.
Has no mechanical pressure gauge.
Has a bank of 8 hand valves and a look up table to get the right configuration for filling, agitating, spraying etc. Blows my mind really, particularly as the PTO has to be switched on or off between changing modes.
The other day the computer came up with an alarm to say battery low. Rang the agent. “You need to change the battery on the circuit board quickly otherwise you will lose all the settings and the display will revert to French.” Zut Alors! Anyway found a battery at Tesco’s smaller than my finger end. Box apart, very fiddly, got new battery in, all back together without crushing or getting a lump of mud on any of the dainty electronics inside.. lo and behold alarm still comes up. Raved it apart again took battery out realised there was a small sticker on it saying “do not feed to babies.” Hadn’t seen it without my glasses. Removed sticker, Battery back in, all back together refitted in cab and all is good , no alarm, but my goodness what a rave. Read the manual about three times in bed the other night and I think I can just about work out how to set it to a constant 3 bar that’s if the electronic pressure gauge isn’t telling lies which I’ve no way of knowing. The machine itself weighs nearly 3 tonnes empty and 6 tonnes full. So it won’t be doing much between October and March here. I know what will happen one day. I’ll get to a field with £2k of chemicals in the tank and the computer will die and I won’t even be able to unfold the booms. That’s progress for you.
Same prices as 30 years ago with double costs!Dairy farming hours seem to have changed since I was milking cows.
Used to start at 6.30 am and milk again at 3 pm, so everyone home for 5.45/6pm at night. Now they seem to want to start at ridiculous early hours, 4.30/5am and not start milking again until later in the evening .
Farm i milked on when I left school in late 70s, had farmer, full time man and me full time, milking 80 cows. Everyone was happy and making a living . What’s gone wrong ?
With you there. We bought a fandango fert spreader in 2013, brand new. last year it was a pita with malfunctions. Fortunately I specced a model that had hydraulic slides beneath the electric rate governing ones, so now all the electric wizardry is junk and we just drive at a constant speed. The fancyness was all well and good when it worked (especially weigh cells) but no use at all when it stopped working. Unnecessary and expensive, but it scratched the itch. Thankfully I wasn't talked into vari rate!I’ve nothing against modern technology really. All I’m saying is it needs to be robust, it needs to be designed so that you can carry on and finish the job in a basic manual mode if it fails and it needs a short mean time to repair. This has often been neglected in over all design of the system. I can sort it and retrofit more robust controls.
Robustness, that’s what we need, so that one major failure won’t sink the ship/business.
Were you around in the eighties and early nineties. Current output prices are now 10% higher.Everyone always says that they don’t want subs and just want a proper price for their produce. Is that not what we are all now getting with current commodity prices. The BPS is going but this has been more than replaced by the increase in prices. Is that enough positivity!?
Goweresque, you are wasted at this farming lark ....You have to factor in the benefits system in all of this. Under the old Tax Credits system (which some people are still on) if you worked 16 hours a week the benefits system then made up your wages to what they considered your 'need' was, based on number of children outgoings etc. So what everyone wanted was a job where they did 2 days a week of the most easy type possible, because the State would make up your wages for the other 3 days, and even increase your overall hourly 'pay'. So you worked 2 days, got paid for 5.
And now under Universal Credit there is now no minimum hours worked per week. So the barrier has got even lower. Everyone wants the easiest job possible for the smallest number of hours possible. There is no incentive to work more hours or take on more difficult but maybe better paid work, because the money in your pocket will be the same at the end of the month. So nobody does. Hence why small businesses find it hard to get full time employees, but multinationals like MacDonalds have so many applicant for part time burger flipping. Everyone wants that simple part time job and let the taxpayer work for them for the rest of the week. Incentives matter you see...............
I’m likely going to get shot down here, but hey ho!!
I had two very interesting conversations last week.
One along the lines of this thread.
“I’ve got 500+ acres, it’s a millstone round my neck, can’t make it pay even with no mortgage or rent, rising costs, falling prices. Not made any money for several years, never get time off, can’t afford to employ anyone “
The second was with a customer I first met 25 years ago. He had just set out contract farming then. He’s worked hard and now has maybe a dozen clients, mostly arable but there’s a sheep enterprise in the mix too. We were having a general chat and I said to him “Go on then, I know you’ll tell me the truth, is there any money in the job?”.
He answered with an immediate “Oh Christ yeah!! I’ve never lost money, not once for any client. Even when we had to mow over 20% of (named farmer) acreage due to blackgrass infestation still made him a small profit”.
So go on, all tell me please, is there money being made where you are?
Don’t shoot the messenger please. It’s just I can’t see how the two could be so different. The two farmers are close to each other and know each other. I obviously haven’t told them each other’s business. They are on very similar ground and farm in similar ways, both quite progressive.
Is it just mindset?
I feel I ought to tell the owner occupier to call the contract farmer and have a chat!