The on-going up hill battle that is agriculture.....

Flat 10

Member
Location
Fen Edge
Just had a good young lad leave. Turned 21 and decided to go off to be a Carpenter.
We had put him through various tests, Trailer, Chainsaw etc.
Was well paid, last full year almost £24k, probably averaged 45 hours a week, but plenty of time off in the winter.
If it doesn't work out for him I have said he can come back anytime, however I fear it is unlikely.

Do have a young lad who is going to College but really need someone with more skills to take the pressure off everyone else. Not many livestock contractors, but at least we don't have to buy expensive pieces of kit!
I know another who did similar, very good machinery operator and went carpentering as gf not impressed with his hours of work
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
The cost of doing business in a low margin sector that primarily sells commodities under constant price pressure is nonetheless high and divorced from commodity prices. Basically many farmers are marginally viable at best and contractors seldom can charge enough to cover modern high and ever higher capacity equipment needed to reduce labour per unit of output, plus that labour at a wage that makes it attractive to attract able, competent and ambitious young people. The starting wage for skilled high quality operators should be around the £28,000 mark and with overtime and bonuses for long hours and a high standard of competence they should be taking home between £35k and £40k per year before tax. But they are not, because we can't afford it. Because we do not control the price of the goods we sell. We are price takers not price setters.
The best will tend to find plenty of work where the reward is much higher than in agriculture, such as in a trade. Otherwise they will try to farm themselves in some cases.

EDIT

I was about an hour between composing the above and posting it due to work, and I see others have made broadly the same point about other work opportunities and the relative income and hours.
 

4course

Member
Location
north yorks
Thats the way I've always approached it, but as I get older the amount this "1 man band" can do is decreasing. Plus time off is hard if you don't have anyone familiar with your set up.
the problem with this scenario and one which I am well aware is you have to keep growing the business just to stand still oand not wear yourself out . Then the moment you employ an extra man you need to double the farm size to pay his wages never mind pay for the fendt and gear for him to drive
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
Just had a good young lad leave. Turned 21 and decided to go off to be a Carpenter.
We had put him through various tests, Trailer, Chainsaw etc.
Was well paid, last full year almost £24k, probably averaged 45 hours a week, but plenty of time off in the winter.
If it doesn't work out for him I have said he can come back anytime, however I fear it is unlikely.

Do have a young lad who is going to College but really need someone with more skills to take the pressure off everyone else. Not many livestock contractors, but at least we don't have to buy expensive pieces of kit!
I'm a livestock contractor. I know s few others as well.

Strategic use of contractors for labour spikes is the way forward I think.
 
Location
Ceredigion
The cost of doing business in a low margin sector that primarily sells commodities under constant price pressure is nonetheless high and divorced from commodity prices. Basically many farmers are marginally viable at best and contractors seldom can charge enough to cover modern high and ever higher capacity equipment needed to reduce labour per unit of output, plus that labour at a wage that makes it attractive to attract able, competent and ambitious young people. The starting wage for skilled high quality operators should be around the £28,000 mark and with overtime and bonuses for long hours and a high standard of competence they should be taking home between £35k and £40k per year before tax. But they are not, because we can't afford it. Because we do not control the price of the goods we sell. We are price takers not price setters.
The best will tend to find plenty of work where the reward is much higher than in agriculture, such as in a trade. Otherwise they will try to farm themselves in some cases.

EDIT

I was about an hour between composing the above and posting it due to work, and I see others have made broadly the same point about other work opportunities and the relative income and hours.
Doyou still do your own silage, no point intended, just Interested as not many do their own now
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
The irony there is that min til needs a bigger tractor than ploughing
For us now it’s all about avoiding the financial and logistical risk of a big expensive show stopping breakdown. So a cheap trailed sprayer is better than relying on our old self propelled sprayer. We can move another tractor onto the trailer sprayer whereas if the engine or hydraulics fails on the SP we can’t even get the brakes off or the booms folded up and cost to repair can be £5k plus.
Ploughing with a 3 furrow and a 4 furrow on two 100 hp tractors is much more financially resilient than relying on one big 150 hp tractor and one big cultivator or high draft direct drill, as we found out to our cost when we were too late drilling last autumn.
 

melted welly

Member
Location
DD9.
the self employed joiners and plumbers around here never seem to do a full days work. either don't start till 10 or finish at 3.
You’ve seen these people work?!

Best I’ve managed with plumbers is a succession of phone calls that end in “see you Monday” and the beggars never show up.
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
Brother and I were going to look at a very average 150 hp 11 year old tractor to upgrade our fleet. £42,000. We stopped for a coffee halfway there, turned round and came home again. We will just have to make do for another year which will ironically mean ploughing everything as it actually requires less horsepower than any sort of min till cultivator. "Upgraded" our sprayer from SP to trailer recently. Its the one thing that is critical to our operation and we can't manage without it. That's all we can afford this year. Machinery prices are crazy.
Aitchison Grass farmer.
Drills everything. Clover, Chicory, Grass , Wheat, Sunflower, Maize, etc.
#105
 
I'm a livestock contractor. I know s few others as well.

Strategic use of contractors for labour spikes is the way forward I think.
You are probably correct in that more contractors will be used. In this area though they are not plentiful because there are not the young entrepreneurs who have small flocks of their own and are looking to get more income.

I would guess that self employed labour charges in your area are significantly lower than in the south east.
Local farmers here are selling breeding sheep as they are ageing and getting fed up with looking after sheep. It is not so much the spikes as the day to day drudgery!
There may be opportunities on some of these farms as there are areas which cannot be arable and will still need the livestock. This year could be the best one to get of sheep!!
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
Aitchison Grass farmer.
Drills everything. Clover, Chicory, Grass , Wheat, Sunflower, Maize, etc.
#105
I haven't tried an Aitchison but for almost any tine IMO:-
Tines + sand + badly chopped barley straw = a big blockage after 10 yards.
Tines + hard clay = cobble stones
Tines + wet clay = smeared slots

Plough + sand + badly chopped barley straw = trash free seed bed
Plough + clay + weathering = tilthy seedbed.
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
Max til it should be called with maximum stone extraction. Same amount of soil moved in one pass as the entire plough system I've no doubt.
The irony here on heavy ground is that zero till needs min till ahead of it to give it any chance of working. And min till is really the sort of cultivation we used to do with oxen dragging a pointed stick before the mouldboard plough came along.
You get to the stage after you have been round the loop a few times of just saying feck it, plough it.
 

4course

Member
Location
north yorks
The irony here on heavy ground is that zero till needs min till ahead of it to give it any chance of working. And min till is really the sort of cultivation we used to do with oxen dragging a pointed stick before the mouldboard plough came along.
You get to the stage after you have been round the loop a few times of just saying feck it, plough it.
ah, reckon it wont be long before someone coins the phrase inversion cultivation is the way forward
 

DrWazzock

Member
Location
Lincolnshire
Have a look
I really would love to believe I could pull into a field of damp chopped barley straw and set it to work. But I can't see the front row of discs achieving very much or the trash flowing through legs a foot apart, or the tines not creating loose clods unless the conditions were maybe absolutely perfect.
We have managed to block a 3 leg flat lifter here with legs a metre apart. There is no "boiling" action with a tine in sand, and no resistance for a disc to cut anything against. The unidrill manages because it can "run over" a tree branch without blocking and spit it out the back. Anything with tines turns into a rake.
I am always open to new ideas, but my patience has been severely tested.
 

Flat 10

Member
Location
Fen Edge
I really would love to believe I could pull into a field of damp chopped barley straw and set it to work. But I can't see the front row of discs achieving very much or the trash flowing through legs a foot apart, or the tines not creating loose clods unless the conditions were maybe absolutely perfect.
We have managed to block a 3 leg flat lifter here with legs a metre apart. There is no "boiling" action with a tine in sand, and no resistance for a disc to cut anything against. The unidrill manages because it can "run over" a tree branch without blocking and spit it out the back. Anything with tines turns into a rake.
I am always open to new ideas, but my patience has been severely tested.
Go on then how did you block a flatlift?
 

Rejuvenating swards: Which option is best?

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Written by Brian McDonnell

Maintaining grass quality during mid-season grazing is important. Farmers can maintain quality by entering ideal grazing covers of 1,300 – 1,500kg DM/ha, and grazing down to a residual of 4cm every rotation.

If you are now in a situation where cows are not cleaning out paddocks as well as they should be, leading to the development of steamy grass within the sward, here are some options.

Common options for rejuvenating swards include:

  1. Take a silage cut, probably into bales, remove the material and start again with the aftermath...
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