NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Grazing cost per sheep per week  (Read 1095 times)

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Grazing cost per sheep per week
« on: February 27, 2019, 08:29:04 pm »
Rather than rent my 12 acres out for grazing with a grazing licence....I thought from April I could try renting out on a weekly basis/per head. I have just got a stewardship grant and have to maintain a healthy sward for birdlife. I am very keen to encourage my present tenant to downsize and not overgraze. He would probably pay less and the lost rental income would be made up with the grant.So what is the going rate  for ewes....last years lambs(which he should have got rid of last year and this years lambs to be born in April.......or are these normally free.
Not really interested in making more rental income but just need to control stocking rates more.
 I think ideally I need some cattle to maintain this healthy sward.
The current grazing licence expires this March .I allowed him to cut one of the fields for hay last year with the licence...so he might prefer the grazing licence.
« Last Edit: February 27, 2019, 08:33:10 pm by juliem »
Voss Electric Fence

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #1 on: February 28, 2019, 03:35:36 am »
When I was looking it was around 50p for ewes and 20p each for lambs, that was near 10yrs ago and in Wales. Obviously lots of variants, like fencing and local demand having an effect on the price.

Backinwellies

  • Global Moderator
  • Joined Sep 2012
  • Llandeilo Carmarthenshire
    • Nantygroes
    • Facebook
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #2 on: February 28, 2019, 08:09:08 am »
Cant you just specify how many sheep he is able to graze, and when,  rather than just a blanket get on with it?   
Linda

Don't wrestle with pigs, they will love it and you will just get all muddy.

Let go of who you are and become who you are meant to be.

http://nantygroes.blogspot.co.uk/
www.nantygroes.co.uk
Nantygroes  facebook page

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2019, 10:30:21 am »
Cant you just specify how many sheep he is able to graze, and when,  rather than just a blanket get on with it?

I agree, especially if your concern is about overgrazing, if its per ewe per week I would of thought the temptation would be to graze it heavily then rest it and graze heavily again.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2019, 03:04:27 pm »
Countryside Stewardship schemes express the ideal condition of the sward in number of inches, and grazing licenses then repeat that as a requirement.

Number of ewes won’t do what you want, it depends on the year.  Last summer we had a drought for over two months and could feed hardly any stock per acre.  In a normal year, if we only had the number which would have maintained a decent sward length last year, we’d have been up to our waists in grass.
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

pharnorth

  • Joined Nov 2013
  • Cambridgeshire
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2019, 05:59:13 pm »
I agree with Sally. You cannot predict the exact numbers and he is the one moving the sheep on or off or strip grazing so if the grazing licence stipulates the requirement it is down to him how he achieves it. But ask him how he intends to do it, and have a discussion on how it went last year, check he has a plan should there be drought etc. So he knows you will be checking and not accepting 'unusual conditions' if it turns into a tennis court and he has no where else to keep the sheep. He may then ask for a reduction from previous rent if he realises he will get less use from it.

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2019, 08:11:09 pm »
I like the idea of a grazing licence stipulating length of sward but seeing as he is 75 years old he'll probably think I'm mad and given the vagaries of our climate it may be very difficult for him to adhere to.He already feeds the sheep on the fields with hay (in one of those hay holders) and I know that's not allowed with Countryside Stewardship.
I have just had a soil test (waiting for result) which I will need to submit as evidence of no fertiliser.(non for 50 years) I  am meant to keep a record of stocking rates. It also includes not cutting some of the hedges for 2 years. I am wondering if Natural England have the resources to monitor these schemes.
It works out at £600 per year for 5 years and we have already spent some of this trying to restore our hedges where the sheep can't access.Not sure when I actually get the money....probably at the end of the year.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2019, 09:03:23 pm »
He already feeds the sheep on the fields with hay (in one of those hay holders) and I know that's not allowed with Countryside Stewardship.

Not necessarily true as a general rule, although of course I don’t have sight of your specific agreement. 

I have farmed under Countryside Stewardship and three other more recent environmental Stewardship schemes.

Different rules apply to different grades of land, and you can choose different options for most fields and areas to achieve the optimimum environmental benefit and compensatory income for the particular farm and farmer.  Most except the very most rigorous options allow hay feeders which move and are moved.  But of course you may have chosen “HL6” or whatever is the highest level of environmental care in your scheme, which may indeed stipulate no feeders of any kind.

Silage is generally not to be fed on grass, or if it is then the feeder must be moved for every bale.  They often do allow a static feeder if there is some hard ground it can be on. 

The CS scheme I was on ten years ago did allow us to use purpose built wooden feeders for big bales of silage on extremely environmentally sensitive moorland, which we moved for each bale (so every three to four days.)

Some options allow only hay which is fed by hand and fluffed out so it doesn’t sit on the ground, but a hay heck for sheep which is moved every day or two is allowed under many options, as is a ring feeder for a big bale of hay, again if it is moved for each bale.

I’m not sure where you are but in Cumbria they were latterly only putting effort into actively monitoring Higher Level schemes - but of course they would follow up on any input they got, and their field staff travel widely in the course of their work, so might just happen to spot something as they passed by.

If you were found to be in breach, you could be made to repay all your payments under the scheme for the entire length of the scheme, so it’s definitly worth making sure you comply!

In general, the field staff were extremely helpful, and most know a reasonable amount about farming, so you might find they could suggest how you might pass on the requirements in your grazing licence in a way that makes sense to your grazier ;)

I’d advise you to get out your agreement and see what payment dates and amounts are in it, put them in all the calendars you have and a copy in a fireproof safe too, and start chasing them immediately and robustly for any payment which is late.  The Rural Payments Agency is a disgrace.  :rant:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Me

  • Joined Feb 2014
  • Wild West
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2019, 09:23:42 pm »
You have to appreciate it is a change in mindset, you now wish to use the sheep to keep the grass - not the grass to keep the sheep. Not worth a penny to me but may be useful to some at below normal commercial rates for your area

juliem

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2019, 11:59:55 pm »
 Replying to Sally I think I have just been awarded HL3 and HL5..the scheme that Mr Gove announced last year.I wasn't going to waste my time applying for anything that was competitive.To get my head round it I actually booked an appointment with a advisor when they were going the rounds.I assume these advisors they use are recruited for the day and normally work as land agents.Anyway the first  thing he told me was that I would not qualify as I was feeding the sheep on the field.As though this was the stock reply to get rid of applicants.When I pointed out that a seperate yard next to a barn was used he gave in.As it has been so dry this year so far it has been ok to revert to feeding them on the field.
I am not sure all the bureacracy surrounding the application was worth it.I really embarked on the application as a personal challenge to myself to prove that I still had the necessary skills....
« Last Edit: March 02, 2019, 12:04:13 am by juliem »

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2019, 12:22:29 pm »
I just tried to find the current handbook to read up the current definitions of the options you have, but wasn’t able to find them.  If I remember later I’ll have a look on my other computer, where I saved all the docs when we were farming under HLS in Cumbria.

I am not sure all the bureacracy surrounding the application was worth it.I really embarked on the application as a personal challenge to myself to prove that I still had the necessary skills....

I can understand that.  I don’t think I’d understand your doing it twice though ;)  :roflanim:
Don't listen to the money men - they know the price of everything and the value of nothing

Live in a cohousing community with small farm for our own use.  Dairy cow, beef cattle, pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Tim W

  • Joined Aug 2013
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #11 on: March 04, 2019, 07:18:49 am »

Value of grazing is all down to location
On a headage basis i pay anything from zero to 35p/wk---averages 20p
This is for a ewe or a ewe and lambs ---i start paying the same rate for lambs once they hit 10 weeks old or weaning

Folk in higher density stock areas can pay up to 50p (and more i am told)

It usually has to be fenced and watered for me to pay for it

Coximus

  • Joined Aug 2014
Re: Grazing cost per sheep per week
« Reply #12 on: March 04, 2019, 02:51:15 pm »
Two things;

Per head or a G/L its still let on a licence, Be careful if you start giving a licenceee instructions on how to manage the land, they become the "Active Farmer" and can then claim the subisdy. One of my landlords did this and told me how many sheep etc for how long, RPA then said I was the farmer, Took their BPS off them for that year and Said I should have claimed. The implication was also that the Licence was invalid, as it confered on the licnencee responsibilities to manage the land, and a licence is to take a crop or a specific action. Good examples include fencing etc, LL responsibility to remain the active farmer. the Active farmer test does not normally have an effect on stewardship stuff.

Also if the licence is invalid, by definition you have a tenancy, and in my case the LL was keen to bung me £400 to go as I could of sat pretty as a full - rights - tenant if I had wanted as they had required me to Record sward heights, and maintain fences which are tenant level activities and not permissible in a licence.

The key difference is a tenancy the Tenant is FARMING the land. in a licence the Land owner Farms the land, the Licensee takes the crop in a prescribed manner - Ie grazing or cutting. Be careful, alot of people fall a cropper here, and given a lot of farmers wont follow YOUR agreement with NE - you may acciderntally loose your BPS, or give them a tennacy or both>

Depending on where you are, and how Onerous the management requirement is to the tenant, Id either offer a flat rate to the tenant or free but they have to remove stock at 7 days notice.

A good example for me. Last year in the drought a block of 43 acres I grazed that is in Stewardship burnt up and so to comply the LL asked me to move sheep off, the day after I had moved 20 on. They got stroppy and rang NE to say I wouldnt move them etc etc..... I was on the standstill for moving on, and also finally the GL was invalid because it required me to follow rules that make me a tenant - I said P-off and sat tight, (I had already Decided i wasn’t wanting this land again as the stewardship has ruined it and the animals were not growing well due to the depleted soil, Plus the landlord kept ringing me up about little things like all the sheep only grazing one area (the fertile bit) ). I waited 10 days before moving them as I also had to make sure they didnt bugger up my other holdings movement plans.

The result - If I wanted I could force a tenancy I could sit a year out, Trading Standards backed me up on the movement times. In that time my sheep took the grass down to about 1cm. They rang up to report me..... NE said I am nothing to do with the agreement, their problem and they would be checked. Last I heard they had a %10 deduction but allowance was made for the drought. No comeback on me as I was licencee and the licence was invalid - anyway, If they wanted to push the matter that I was the farmer, they were the recepient they would also loose their BPS area payment, and forcing me to pay would mean I had a tenancy........

I personally will not pay for land If I have to follow onerous or nuisance rules like moving feeders or watching the sward too closely, I can get good grass from 10p-50p per week depending on which direction I drive from home, and Lots of Stewardship ground and cover crops are Free.

Generally If you make it take more time than the cost of buying a bale of silage for keeping my sheep - I wont pay for the grazing. It costs between 30p-120p a week to feed a sheep on brought in feed depending on the area and feed type / sheep type. It only takes a few forced moves or moving a feeder weekly to erradicate that benefit and render the grazing worthless for rental. Obviously Some areas (I hear parts of wales) the economics are different and you can pay £1 a week for average grass their due to shortages this year.

 

Cost of rented grazing

Started by milliebecks

Replies: 4
Views: 1019
Last post November 14, 2016, 02:59:43 pm
by milliebecks
Grazing Sheep

Started by kimy

Replies: 4
Views: 2363
Last post February 05, 2011, 07:19:03 pm
by woollyval
Sheep not grazing

Started by Cycle gladiator

Replies: 5
Views: 2217
Last post June 21, 2012, 05:09:36 pm
by jaykay
Grazing for sheep

Started by Skip

Replies: 0
Views: 1045
Last post October 20, 2012, 08:12:58 pm
by Skip
The cost of keep sheep

Started by steve_in_devon

Replies: 19
Views: 4429
Last post April 16, 2013, 07:41:40 am
by Azzdodd

Forum sponsors

FibreHut Energy Helpline Thomson & Morgan Time for Paws Scottish Smallholder & Grower Festival Little Peckers

© The Accidental Smallholder Ltd 2003-2019. All rights reserved.

Design by Furness Internet

Site developed by Champion IS