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

Chae1

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
I have a few very good non Ag mates, plasterer, mechanic with his own garage, building trade supplier manager, and I don’t think any of them would swap their working lifestyle for mine.

I see them doing quite nicely in life without the 4:15am weekend starts, without having to work bank holidays and Christmas time, having 7 weeks holiday a year. They also have the huge advantage in their respective trades of being able to pass increasing costs on to their customers. This is, I think Ag’s biggest downfall. If our costs increase we can’t do anything about it.

If my mechanic friend has to fit a fancy new ramp to keep his business up to standard I guess he just sticks a bit extra onto every basic service or part price. We can’t ring arla and say, listen boys we need a new shed, so unfortunately we will have to increase our milk sale price to 45ppl for the next year’s till we get it paid off.

Could you not process the milk yourself?

Sell milk, butter, cheese, yoghurt direct to customers. Set the price yourself and pass on costs.


 

Goweresque

Member
Location
North Wilts
Farmer owned processing to capture more of the downstream value.

But why be the farmer at all, if you can operate a successful processing/retailing business? You might as well just buy in the raw materials/products and forget about the production, its not going to make you much extra profit in and of itself.

This is farming's fatal flaw - there are very few synergies to be found between production and processing/retailing. If there were any Tesco would own millions of acres of farm land and direct its produce straight into its stores. But as we know the Co-op divested itself of its farms because owning them made no economic sense. They were better off concentrating on the retailing and ignoring the production as it added nothing to the bottom line.
 

Christoph1945

Member
Location
Cheshire
Just edited your post!!

You could be right with 'some'!

Once, whilst detecting with a team on a Welsh hill farm, I came to an electrified fence and not wanting to fry my sweetbreads, I placed all my gear on the other side and dropped to the grass and bumped under the fence on my back.

Shortly afterwards, whilst chatting with a friend, I spotted a fellow detectorist detecting the grass beneath the fence and thought ' the bloody power must be off' and gave it no more thought; that is until much later, when I put my hand in my back pocket and found all my loose change was gone! :eek:
 

DrWazzock

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Lincolnshire
In my view our suppliers build in unnecessary cost and liabilities at every opportunity.
Try buying a new 150 hp tractor that just has the basics I need it to do the job and is easy to maintain. Same with 24 m sprayers and spreaders. Loaded with expensive electronic bells and whistles, stylised tank shapes that make generic spares impossible and that will probably render the machine unusable and obsolete long before its mechanically worn out.
Machinery designers just can't seem to do enough to add cost but you won't find an all stainless steel spreader anywhere because it would never wear out.
 

silverfox

Member
Location
Shropshire
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 ?
 

bluebell

Member
getting bigger just to stand still is it worth it ? easy to say yes milk the cows and then retail the milk but isnt it enought work and worry to run a farm without having to retail the milk and collect the money ? good luck to those who make it work ?
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
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 ?

'Efficiency'
 

MrNoo

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Cirencester
getting bigger just to stand still is it worth it ?

Been some quite big outfits around here that have all the gear and 000's of acres contract farmed, they dont seem to last long, know of two that have shut up shop and was only speaking to someone today who was talking about taking on another 650ac (after the new contractors have been given the boot), he asked if I was interested and to be honest I wouldnt touch it with a bargepole even if they paid me. The BG is so bad I pity the next lot that take that on, when you hear about some of these large outfits spraying Atlantis/Hatra twice in a season, a) the landowner wont be making any money as all spent on chems b) doing that sort of thing is asking for trouble c) that land is never going to make any money due to the BG in it, paying rent and trying to sort out someone else's mess out just doesnt stack up, even more so with the loss of SFP.
My reply to him was I will be quite happy watching from my side of the hedge.
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
Been some quite big outfits around here that have all the gear and 000's of acres contract farmed, they dont seem to last long, know of two that have shut up shop and was only speaking to someone today who was talking about taking on another 650ac (after the new contractors have been given the boot), he asked if I was interested and to be honest I wouldnt touch it with a bargepole even if they paid me. The BG is so bad I pity the next lot that take that on, when you hear about some of these large outfits spraying Atlantis/Hatra twice in a season, a) the landowner wont be making any money as all spent on chems b) doing that sort of thing is asking for trouble c) that land is never going to make any money due to the BG in it, paying rent and trying to sort out someone else's mess out just doesnt stack up, even more so with the loss of SFP.
My reply to him was I will be quite happy watching from my side of the hedge.
They should put it down to grass.
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
By all accounts 200ac will be going into Stewardship after harvest. I use a lot of Spring cropping to help combat BG but unfortunately it’s some heavy old tat and not really suitable for Spring cropping, used to farm some of it many years ago on an FBT
Not a scheme, just grass. They should get rid of all these stupid schemes.
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
I have a few very good non Ag mates, plasterer, mechanic with his own garage, building trade supplier manager, and I don’t think any of them would swap their working lifestyle for mine.

I see them doing quite nicely in life without the 4:15am weekend starts, without having to work bank holidays and Christmas time, having 7 weeks holiday a year. They also have the huge advantage in their respective trades of being able to pass increasing costs on to their customers. This is, I think Ag’s biggest downfall. If our costs increase we can’t do anything about it.

If my mechanic friend has to fit a fancy new ramp to keep his business up to standard I guess he just sticks a bit extra onto every basic service or part price. We can’t ring arla and say, listen boys we need a new shed, so unfortunately we will have to increase our milk sale price to 45ppl for the next year’s till we get it paid off.

Would you swap with any of your non Ag mates?
 

kiwi pom

Member
Location
canterbury NZ
But why be the farmer at all, if you can operate a successful processing/retailing business? You might as well just buy in the raw materials/products and forget about the production, its not going to make you much extra profit in and of itself.

This is farming's fatal flaw - there are very few synergies to be found between production and processing/retailing. If there were any Tesco would own millions of acres of farm land and direct its produce straight into its stores. But as we know the Co-op divested itself of its farms because owning them made no economic sense. They were better off concentrating on the retailing and ignoring the production as it added nothing to the bottom line.

You don't need to be a processor or retailer (not a bad idea though) but you need a market for your produce that leaves a good return. I think that's the biggest difference I've noticed since being here, farmers know the market they're producing for and either own some of it, like co op's or partnerships, have direct contracts or develop their own market.
Much of the UK stuff seems to be, produce what you want, how you want, then look round for a buyer and hope its paying ok.
The lack of interest in finding a market seems to have produced a lot more middlemen all taking a cut.
It's probably a scale thing too, hard to know how many acres TFF posters have but I'd bet a living can be made there on less acres than here?
 

unlacedgecko

Member
Livestock Farmer
You don't need to be a processor or retailer (not a bad idea though) but you need a market for your produce that leaves a good return. I think that's the biggest difference I've noticed since being here, farmers know the market they're producing for and either own some of it, like co op's or partnerships, have direct contracts or develop their own market.
Much of the UK stuff seems to be, produce what you want, how you want, then look round for a buyer and hope its paying ok.
The lack of interest in finding a market seems to have produced a lot more middlemen all taking a cut.
It's probably a scale thing too, hard to know how many acres TFF posters have but I'd bet a living can be made there on less acres than here?

For decades farmers haven't had to worry about a market as various subs have meant it's not important.
 

LIVE - DEFRA SFI Janet Hughes “ask me anything” 19:00-20:00 20th September (Today)

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Hello, I’m Janet Hughes. I’m the Programme Director for the Future Farming and Countryside Programme in Defra – the programme that’s phasing out the Common Agricultural Policy and introducing new schemes and services for farmers.



Today (20 September) between 7pm-8pm, I and some of my colleagues will be answering your questions about our work including the Sustainable Farming Incentive, Farming in Protected Landscapes, and our test and trials.



We’ll try to answer at least 15 of your top voted questions, so please vote on the questions you’d most like me to answer.



You can read more about our Future Farming policy on our blog.



I’ve answered some of your questions previously: you can watch the videos on...
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