Why won’t Brits pick vegetables for £30 an hour?

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
faffing about with a couple of acres of produce was all well and good when food was 50% of house hold expenditure rather than 5%... the efficiencies of big producers and the easy of global transport of goods from low wage economies has by and large wiped out that business model.
But in order for that to happen, domestic rents would have to fall considerably. Its an anathema the relative cost of rent compared to take home pay.

I struggled to get a £630/month mortgage when I'd been paying nearly £800/ month rent. (At the time, rent was well over 50% of my expenditure).
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
that sort of ties in with my thoughts about farmers diversifying, basically the advice being given is "you can't make a living producing food, so we would like you to subsidise the food you sell to the population by holiday lets etc, this will allow the population to continue to buy food at below it's cost of production"
Always said this. If I wanted to run a hotel and have done that. Why should I subsidise your food?
The estate we were on wanted us to develop a b and b business and split the takings with them🤣
 

le bon paysan

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Limousin, France
But in order for that to happen, domestic rents would have to fall considerably. Its an anathema the relative cost of rent compared to take home pay.

I struggled to get a £630/month mortgage when I'd been paying nearly £800/ month rent. (At the time, rent was well over 50% of my expenditure).
Always said if you can show you've paid a rent for 3 years on the nail, banks should allow you a mortgage if it's less money.
 

SteveHants

Member
Livestock Farmer
Always said if you can show you've paid a rent for 3 years on the nail, banks should allow you a mortgage if it's less money.

Sadly, this is not how their affordability calculations work- I would never have been lent enough (with my 50k deposit) to make my repayments £800/month because, according to the bank, those repayments aren't affordable.

Which begs the question of how many rents actually are "affordable"? I was earning well over minimum wage at the time.
 

Lowland1

Member
Mixed Farmer
But at one time, ourselves included, every farm with suitable land had a couple of acres of potatoes, carrots or cabbage. You could harvest them yourselves with your family and a few local casuals. Sell them at the local market. You weren’t doing it day in day out, it was part of a mix of balanced work and food miles were as low as they could be. Then it all went corporate, including livestock markets, abattoirs etc. Our last lot of lambs went to Bridlington. Chicken houses have to contain tens of thousands all because folk in charge chased a halfpenny advantage over a competitor.
In my view it’s a kind of madness. That isn’t a criticism of your business model which you’ve undoubtedly worked had and risked a lot to achieve within the framework open to you, but to me there is now a gross imbalance in many things brought about by global corporatism.
And I agree it’s difficult to get brits to do anything manual. It’s a reality we are stuck with but when the alternative is flying in strawberries from Morroco or Spring onions from Egypt it does feel like somebody somewhere must be leaning very hard now on resources and stretching things to limit just for that halfpenny advantage.
Maybe I should set up a local market garden and make it work rather than sit around waiting for the beet factory to sort itself it.
You are 100 per cent correct. But that was then and this is now. However the UK in common with most developed nations does not have enough workers and it’s a situation that’s not going to get better even without Brexit this was going to happen. Brexit just alters where the migrants come from although they won’t have the same rights as those from the EU had they are still going to be coming because with an aging population there really aren’t any other options.
 

Y Fan Wen

Member
Location
N W Snowdonia
What i find odd is folk will knacker themselves playing sport for nothing but take no pride in manual work.
What I find is with jobs like bale iggling, (moving small bales by hand) is that the first week or so can be awful but once you rebuild a level of fitness it becomes easier as your muscle tone improves. I reckon folk just don't stick at these jobs for long enough to get over the pain barrier.
I quite enjoy manual work and would be happy to do it for say three months if I wasnt already busy (doing manual work) but certainly I wouldn't want to do it all year.
Same at the beginning of every shearing season. The first hundred wear you down. After a month you reckon you can do it all year. The ones who are willing to do the world commute do so.
 

Jonp

Member
Livestock Farmer
Location
Gwent
So which is the worst of the two evils ?
From an environmental view I would have thought flying them in is the worst....however if politics is involved who knows?
Best solution would be to have our own workers but I think we have missed that boat.
In the 70s, when I were a lad, you could buy an old car and insure it for very little money. Casual work for cash was easy to get ....not now. I did work for fishermen, a pork pie factory, hired out boats on a beach, barman and was a 'chef' in a beachside sea food cafe. Had to drive to all of them but couldn't do that now due to the eyewatering cost of insurance for young drivers.
 

Bald Rick

Moderator
Livestock Farmer
Location
Anglesey
Read the other day that because of the extra money on offer, those Eastern Europeans that did come over this season, made so much money over the first few months they legged it back home before the harvest was done
 

oil barron

Member
Location
Aberdeenshire
Of course migrant labour is used, it's free to move all around the EU and you know it.
How do you account to all the small and medium veg business still operating, ?
They've all but gone in the uk.
Village peasants buying from the local markets. Don’t have those in the UK.
You still have small farms selling to upper middle class farmers markets in the Uk.

the small farms in France are not sellling veg to the supermarkets. That supply chain is the same as the UK.
 

bluebell

Member
even if you went back, like has been sugested and started growing vegetables again in a small way? the public have moved on? pick your own boomed in the 1970s, but now most people as someone also mentioned on here, even if you put a big pile of vegetables and a sign frree? wouldnt bother with them? To much trouble and work to do to make a meal? they now dont even have to go and shop for it, it comes delivered in a small van, and most if not all can be eaten straight away?
 

toquark

Member
People lament the work shy nature of Brits but fail to consider the change in nature of the casual work environment over the last 50 years.

There’s a lot less of it going around for a start. How easy is it really for a hard working 18 year old without farming connections to find casual work? Anything which hasn’t been automated or mechanised has been done by immigrants for decades now. Employers don’t want to employ locals and for their part locals don’t want to be the only person in the field who speaks English.
 

stroller

Member
Arable Farmer
Location
Somerset UK
Of course despite my 'tongue in cheek' comment earlier about subsidies the system is designed to have you blaming the wrong people. Whilst you are directing your attention at the pay rates of agricultural workers and the fecklessness of those on benefits you are not looking who is currently trousering all the money in the world from right under your noses. Whilst we are squabbling amongst ourselves they are reorganising to clean up even more.

As such I'd highly recommend that you spend an hour watching this video which explains, as simply as possible, what is going on and why we are never going to return to the 'old normal'

After watching that it's begining to look like the tin foil hat wearing loons might be right.
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
that sort of ties in with my thoughts about farmers diversifying, basically the advice being given is "you can't make a living producing food, so we would like you to subsidise the food you sell to the population by holiday lets etc, this will allow the population to continue to buy food at below it's cost of production"
You have it in a nutshell. I would advise farmers to do no such thing. Not, under any circumstances, let a diversification enterprise subsidise the ungrateful ignorant troglodyte's food bill. Give up the loss making enterprise instead and live a more prosperous and better quality of life rather than work all the hours for something that benefits only others.
 

Cowabunga

Member
Location
Ceredigion,Wales
You are 100 per cent correct. But that was then and this is now. However the UK in common with most developed nations does not have enough workers and it’s a situation that’s not going to get better even without Brexit this was going to happen. Brexit just alters where the migrants come from although they won’t have the same rights as those from the EU had they are still going to be coming because with an aging population there really aren’t any other options.
We in the UK don't have many options other than to mechanise even more or give up on the job. However, 'they' do have options and they are to stay working within the EU and to hell with the UK. Which is what most are currently choosing to do even if they theoretically could come over. Why the heck would they when there's plenty of work over there with none of the hassle?
 

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Despite an average growing year for most crops, many growers managed to go above and beyond their predicted max yields, with Lincolnshire grower Tim Lamyman taking the top spots for his wheat yields and his world record breaking winter barley yield.

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