Smallholders Insurance from Greenlands

Author Topic: Unloved 10 acres - what to do  (Read 15796 times)

waveneygnome

  • Joined Dec 2012
Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« on: December 16, 2012, 12:31:11 am »
I am a townie.

But I have recently managed to purchase an unloved field of 10 acres in Norfolk.

It has had nothing done to the land in years.

Grass/scrub is knee height at present.  Land is gently sloping, free draining, sandy soil, mature trees surrounding 3 boundaries, road access to one side.  Some fencing to the roadside only, but not animal proof.

I drive past it everyday to work....and kind of bought it at auction on a whim....in a rush.......without my usual research/knashing of teeth......as I wanted to do 'something' productive with it, had had a bad day at work, and a letter from the bank saying that my savings rate was being reduced to 1.25%.  I don't have much spare time to do much myself, nor have any equipment.

a)  it has not been registered for any SFP scheme.   Can I apply for a holders number, and then SFP? 
b)  What could I realisitcally do with the field?
c)  I have already been contacted by 3 people wanting the use the field:  one chap wants to use it for shooting; another wanting it for sheep grazing and said he would fence the field & ay me rent of 30 per acre; another wants it for his daughters horses but hasn't talked about price yet.
d)  Is there a crop that I could try and grow myself that requires little time input?

I love outdoor work, but don't have enough spare time to do it (I work 80hr week).  I have some funds available to invest if necessary (equipment/fencing/stock).

Any advice greatly received.

Fleecewife

  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • ScotHebs
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #1 on: December 16, 2012, 01:06:04 am »
I managed my brother's farm in Norfolk for a couple of years when he was overseas.  Because I live in Scotland I had to use a contractor to do the work for me, with just an occasional visit by me.  It worked surprisingly well.  The main crop was field beans, which needed to be sprayed for weeds a couple of times then harvested and gave a good return.  Actually the full story is that the contractor made a mistake with washing out his sprayer after using it with a weed killer which damaged beans, before refilling it to spray my crop which was damaged, so a proportion of the payment came from his insurance, but my return was the same.  It was just good luck that I visited when the crop was showing damage and could work out what had happened.    If there is a contractor nearby (mine was in Attleborough and had to travel a fair distance) you might get a good rate for him to work your field.
 
If you want to go for renting it out then approach an agent (up here it's the livestock mart) who deals with land lets, so you get the right price.
There have been discussions on here before about renting out land and the general advice was to do it officially and get a contract, for your own protection.  There seem to be lots of pitfalls.
"Let's not talk about what we can do, but do what we can"

There is NO planet B - what are YOU doing to save our home?

Do something today that your future self will thank you for - plant a tree

 Love your soil - it's the lifeblood of your land.

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #2 on: December 16, 2012, 05:46:57 am »
I'm sure that was a good whim  :thumbsup:

As Fleecewife says, get an agent to give you an idea of a sensible rental price, what options there are (grazing, cropping), and guide stocking levels.  If it's very scrubby they may suggest some clearance work first, or will tell you what stock would do the best job to get it into good shape.  I would also get a quote for fencing.  Then you can work out whether the 30-and-he-fences sheep man is a good and appropriate deal or not.  (Assuming his fencing will be a good, permanent job, of course, not just temporary fencing that he'll take with him.)  It sounds low to me, btw.  And I would make sure you agree a maximum stocking density, and/or minimum sward length, and a month or more when he'll take the sheep off to rest the ground and to prevent the keep let becoming a tenancy.

I presume if someone is considering it for horses there isn't any ragwort?

Have fun with it!  How lovely to see it on your daily commute  :)
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #3 on: December 17, 2012, 12:32:21 am »
Re: the sheep man - 20/ac /yr is what Id pay for fenced land. If he's offering over the odds, might be worth finding out why...and Id offer considerably less on 10 ac.

Bumblebear

  • Joined Jun 2012
  • Norfolk
    • http://southwellski.blogspot.co.uk/
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #4 on: December 17, 2012, 12:48:33 am »
Whereabouts in Norfolk - we may be interested too :D

SallyintNorth

  • Joined Feb 2011
  • Cornwall
  • Rarely short of an opinion but I mean well
    • Trelay Cohousing Community
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #5 on: December 17, 2012, 08:53:06 am »
Re: the sheep man - 20/ac /yr is what Id pay for fenced land. If he's offering over the odds, might be worth finding out why...and Id offer considerably less on 10 ac.
You wouldn't get much land around here, Steve!
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 cows (rearing their own calves for beef), pigs, sheep for meat and fleece, ducks and hens for eggs, veg and fruit growing

Fowgill Farm

  • Joined Feb 2009
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #6 on: December 17, 2012, 10:06:16 am »
Stay away from the bloke with daughters horses, they'll be a nightmare..... experience talking here :(
Bloke with the sheep seems the best bet as mentioned by others. Make sure you draw up a contract between you that suits both parties, particularly notice periods and payments on DD.
Mandy :pig:

si-mate

  • Joined Aug 2010
  • Kent
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #7 on: December 17, 2012, 10:56:34 am »
In the East I would say 30 / acre / year with him fencing it is a fair price. In the West it could be treble that.
That's probably what I would offer if it was near me in Kent.


I would steer well clear of the other two offers even if they offer you significantly more if you want a quiet life.

goosepimple

  • Joined May 2010
  • nr Lauder, Scottish Borders
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #8 on: December 17, 2012, 12:34:48 pm »
Depending on its location you may be able to split it in two and sell one half with planning permission for a house - or you could just sell a small portion for a house (0.5 acre).  As a very rough rule of thumb, if you can stand in it and see 3 other properties, you may get planning permission.  This would make it worth a lot more money than growing a crop and looking for a return, particularly if the weather we have been having the past few years continues.  It would take the pressure off having to find a return from it and you could relax and grow what
you like            :garden:   or just look at it on the way to work and think about how you could leave that job and get mucky.
registered soay, castlemilk moorit  and north ronaldsay sheep, pygmy goats, steinbacher geese, muscovy ducks, various hens, lots of visiting mallards, a naughty border collie, a puss and a couple of guinea pigs

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #9 on: December 17, 2012, 01:50:45 pm »
Re: the sheep man - 20/ac /yr is what Id pay for fenced land. If he's offering over the odds, might be worth finding out why...and Id offer considerably less on 10 ac.
You wouldn't get much land around here, Steve!


I hear that a lot - supply and demand, I guess. Lots of people round here don't want to look after sheep for whatever reason - land is on HLS (in which case they will practically pay you to put sheep on) or they are mostly arable and don't want an extra enterprise or, quite often they don't like sheep. I have one or two who like the idea of helping someone on the farming ladder and aren't too worried about anything other than a peppercorn rent - they are close to 'retirement' age (Although with farmers, I concede retirement and death are often one and the same). I hear rents are higher in sheep country, but the OP is not in a particularly 'sheepy' place. Having said, that even in a sheepy place, could you command top rent for a parcel that size?


What I actually pay on my 'proper' rented ground is 20p/head/week.

ScotsGirl

  • Joined Dec 2009
  • Wiltshire
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #10 on: December 27, 2012, 05:35:42 pm »
Well if you just bought on a whim and keeping for an investment/enjoyment I would find someone keen to work it and graze it. I would bite someone's arm off for the chance to use that sort of ground for my sheep. Many like me can't afford to buy but need reassurance of regular grazing.


I am just about to lose a similar field now transformed due to relationship breakdown. I wouldn't let horses on unless on short let as they will poach ground and over graze but I am sure a smallholder with sheep and/or pigs will have great fun clearing it for you at no cost. Our pigs did a brill job although now needs power harrowing and re-seeding!

fifixx

  • Joined Mar 2010
  • Shillingstone, Dorset
    • Bere Marsh Farm
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2012, 11:02:30 am »
Is there an Agricultural College nearby? - perhaps they could use it as a teaching tool for a while and from then you may be able to find a good young person who would rent and run it well, giving you access too when you want it.

zwartbles

  • Joined Sep 2011
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2012, 04:37:11 pm »
Easton College maybe ?? Just up the road from you.

edessex

  • Joined Jan 2013
  • Nr. Stansted Airport, Essex/Herts
    • Horticultural Services
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #13 on: January 02, 2013, 05:23:46 pm »
I've been speaking to a farmer down this way (Essex), and he rents a 1 acre fenced field for 50 per month for grazing cattle, he says it is a good price, depending on where abouts in Norfolk you are, 30 per acre could be about right.

Personally I'd avoid people with horses... especially those who have just bought one for their daughter!  Among other things, if the land has been unused there could be a large number of plants poisonous to horses, which a newbie horse owner might not be aware of, or able to identify.
A sheep farmer, however, probably knows his stuff and has a quick look over the land before making you an offer.  Plus sheep can pretty much eat anything!

SteveHants

  • Joined Aug 2011
Re: Unloved 10 acres - what to do
« Reply #14 on: January 07, 2013, 07:34:30 pm »
Almost all the small parcels I have are ex-horse places.


The landowners get so fed up with poaching, bale string mess, gateways being chewed up by 4 x 4s towing boxes,  heaps of horse crap not being picked up, muckheaps in the corner etc etc that they will let me graze it for a lamb in the freezer and the promise of no hassle.  :innocent:

 

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