NFU Mutual Smallholding Insurance

Author Topic: Hello & after some advice please!  (Read 3051 times)

virtualm

  • Joined May 2013
Hello & after some advice please!
« on: May 21, 2013, 10:03:28 pm »
Hi All,

I'm new on here obviously. I'm after some honest advice about an idea I have please. My Parents own approx 30 acres of farm land which they currently rent out for a few thousand a year to a local farmer.

This might be a pipe dream, but a dream I really keep thinking about and it's been keeping me awake at night thinking about it.... the lease is up in a few months and I keep wondering - what if I did something with the land rather than rent it out... so, would I make any profit if I decided to graze my own animals on it? I'm thinking lambs ? I'm thinking pigs as well... but one thing is for sure, I'm a novice - but what I have is a drive to make this happen, I'm no expert in farming (my background is iT), but I want a change of career and the chance to work locally and sustain myself going forward.  And I am willing to put the hours in...we don't have any kids so can give this our best shot.

Please go easy on me - If I were to get some friends / investors involved and support me - what are the chances of making money? 

What would you do?

Any help appreciated - really appreciated.

Thanks..Mark.
Voss Electric Fence

90driver

  • Joined Mar 2013
  • Independent Land Rover Specialst
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #1 on: May 21, 2013, 10:42:09 pm »
Hiya..... Welcome... I am pretty new here myself, but have been self employed for over 20 years and have owned my own smallholding for 13.

I have also been involved in agriculture most of my life.

In short..... You won't make a bean... Infact you will lose a shed load of money. But you will have great experiences doing so.

I am not saying it is impossible to support yourself from 30 acres.

If you can finance "life" independently for a few years to start with that would be a very good way of starting. 

Don't let me put you off a dream.

Good luck.

Pedwardine

  • Joined Feb 2012
  • South Lincolnshire
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #2 on: May 21, 2013, 10:48:25 pm »
That would put me off 90driver  :(
It can work if you think it through well and have diversity. Always have something which provides a certain steady income even in a small way as smallholding just doesn't do that. Good luck to you and go for it but do your research and pick our collective brain. You'll find alot of support here. We've been there and cocked it up so can maybe advise you on how not to  :fc:
P.S. Don't go all in. Could you have a little of that land to start smallish and see how you go?
« Last Edit: May 21, 2013, 10:50:13 pm by Pedwardine »

sabrina

  • Joined Nov 2008
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2013, 01:19:14 am »
Hard work it may be but well worth a go without a doubt. If you could find a butcher who would buy your pigs ( we have a local one who cannot get enough rare breed pork as it sells so well ) then that's a start. Same for lambs, breed a good meat lamb and have a market for it. Do your homework in your local area. Cost out feed etc. People want good local food these days. if you can find a course to go on to do with keeping and rearing animals then do that first. Research as much as you can. Life is too short to say I wish I had done that when I had the chance.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2013, 01:39:42 am »
I would also suggest that you keep up the IT from home if you can.  For one thing, it's more difficult to make any money if your life depends on it, whereas having another income allows for more flexibility.  You would need a whole lot more land than 30 acres to make a profit from animal husbandry - family farms are going under in droves.  Better might be a small business raising something such as quail on a grand scale to supply the top restaurants (more than one, keeping your eggs in several baskets) or some other intensive product.  You could do something specialist like that beside your smallholding dream - one side for profit and the other for pleasure.
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Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

Draco dormiens nunquam titillandus - let sleeping dragons lie

Rosemary

  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Barry, Angus, Scotland
    • The Accidental Smallholder
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #5 on: May 22, 2013, 09:00:51 am »
Soil Association did a report on making a living off 10 acres. I'm sure you'll be able to get it from their website.

I disagree with Fleecewife - you CAN make a profit BUT if you make a profit of £10 a lamb and sell 20 lambs, you're making a profit but not a living. I know it's pedantic.

Just echoing what others have said - research your market. A cow produces one calf, a sheep two lambs but a sow can produce 2 litters of 10 piglets each time AND she costs a lot in bought in feed to do it. Don't rely on selling weaners - folk only want them in the spring - so make sure you have a market for pork.

I also think it's a good idea to maintain an IT income if you can. Takes the pressure off when farmy things go wrong, as they do.

Still a great life though  :thumbsup:

Dan

  • The Accidental Smallholder
  • Administrator
  • Joined Oct 2007
  • Carnoustie, Angus
    • The Accidental Smallholder
    • Facebook
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #6 on: May 22, 2013, 10:30:28 am »
Soil Association did a report on making a living off 10 acres. I'm sure you'll be able to get it from their website.

The PDF of the report is here:

http://www.accidentalsmallholder.net/uploads/Small_is_Successful.pdf

OhLaLa

  • Joined Sep 2010
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #7 on: May 22, 2013, 11:51:22 am »
Firstly, speak with your parents and check they are ok about renting it to you.
 
Then look at what stock you want to buy in and make sure you know enough about them and their environment to keep them safe and healthy.
 
Do a business plan inc profit and loss forecast. Make sure you have enough money up front for fencing, stock housing, bedding, feeders, hayracks, water troughs, feed, services (water, electricity, rates, and other running costs). Add on a bit extra for unseen expenditure. Cost out the price of buying in stock including fetching it (you have the vehicles for moving stock? If not, cost it in).
 
And don't forget to add in all the other costs like buying in ear tags, meds, vet visits, vaccinations, even fuel - or possible loss of stock.
 
Will you need a loan in order to start up? Any collateral? If so, again - cost it in.
 
Contingency plan: Look at everything in the worst light - nothing coming in, everything needs looking after/feeding and payments out to be made. Could you get through it?
 
A lot depends on what stock you buy and who wants it. Do a bit of homework in this regard too. Very important.
 
Check out registering your business, and obtaining your holders number for registering your stock. There will be fees to pay.
 
Don't forget national insurance, workplace/stock insurance, pensions - and the tax man.
 
What is your fall back plan if you are ill? Animals need constant care and attention.
 
My opinion, the chances of making money? Well, it'll take you quite some time to get back your outlay. And like any business, it might turn a profit, it might not. It depends on how well you manage it. Usually in the beginning the returns for what you are suggesting are little or none, and it will take a while to build the business up. Can you survive in the meantime?
 
Only you know all the details, do your sums and be honest about the figures you write down.
 
Good luck. Let us know what you decide and how you get on.

thenovice

  • Joined Oct 2011
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #8 on: May 22, 2013, 05:29:45 pm »
You wont make a profit, but you might be able to run it alongside an IT job, and make a living. Its all about added value, so maybe do a butchery course, and sell your meat boxed, or direct to the public. That way you save on cutting costs, and get a premium for your product. Pigs can be hard work, esp in winter, and 30 acres wont support more than about a hundred sheep. Nothing ventured, nothing gained, you got to give it a shot  :thumbsup:

Plantoid

  • Joined May 2011
  • Yorkshireman on a hill in wet South Wales
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #9 on: May 24, 2013, 10:41:49 am »
Soil Association did a report on making a living off 10 acres. I'm sure you'll be able to get it from their website.

I disagree with Fleecewife - you CAN make a profit BUT if you make a profit of £10 a lamb and sell 20 lambs, you're making a profit but not a living. I know it's pedantic.

Just echoing what others have said - research your market. A cow produces one calf, a sheep two lambs but a sow can produce 2 litters of 10 piglets each time AND she costs a lot in bought in feed to do it. Don't rely on selling weaners - folk only want them in the spring - so make sure you have a market for pork.

I also think it's a good idea to maintain an IT income if you can. Takes the pressure off when farmy things go wrong, as they do.

Still a great life though  :thumbsup:
 
 It's strange but true  when you look at the areas of land needed to feed those animals and put it to costs pro rata they all work out very close to one another .. perhaps its a natural law
Put slightly differently ...
 When I did the small live stock  and turned my figures into square feet of housing , a bigger animal that needed say for instance ten square feet  gave nigh on the same profit as ten animals needing one square foot each
International playboy & liar .
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SheepCrazy!

  • Joined Nov 2012
  • Dumfries and Galloway
  • www.hawthornsoaysandjacobs.co.uk
    • hawthornsoaysandjacobs
    • Facebook
Re: Hello & after some advice please!
« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2013, 06:51:45 pm »


 If you fail at least you tried, regret what you've done, not what you didn't have the courage to do.
 
 I juggle 50 acres and a full time job. (and I do mean juggle my annual holiday is 4 weeks lambing)

 

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