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15-11-2011, 22:13   #1
kk09
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How many acres to make a living

What would you guys reckon is the min acers required to make a living? Assuming all good land suitable for any type of farming. Maybe suggest the what you would suggest for business - Dairy, Cattle, Forestry, etc. Thanks. - Also suggest what you would consider a reasonable living?
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16-11-2011, 10:44   #2
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[MOD] PHEW!
Some off-topic stuff split off to a new thread of its own; you guys post quicker than I can shift stuff around! [/MOD]

Last edited by Rovi; 16-11-2011 at 11:42. Reason: Tidying up
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16-11-2011, 10:45   #3
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Regarding the original post - it is impossible to say how few acres to make a living as it depends on the standard of living required and on the farming enterprise and on the quality of the land

I know people living off 30 acres with 30 cows - i know their neighbours with 150 cows and a few hundred acres and they are in financial trouble. Financial management is key

If you were to assume a living was 25k net profit then @800 a cow you'd need 30 odd cows so 30 acres (minimal borrowings and decent milk price).

On a calf to year and half cattle system you should be making a minimum of 300-350 an animal - so to get to 25k you'd probably need to sell 70 cattle a year so 60 acres plus (this is ignoring SFP etc, no borrowings)

Can't comment for tillage or sucklers
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16-11-2011, 11:24   #4
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Regarding the original post - it is impossible to say how few acres to make a living as it depends on the standard of living required and on the farming enterprise and on the quality of the land

I know people living off 30 acres with 30 cows - i know their neighbours with 150 cows and a few hundred acres and they are in financial trouble. Financial management is key

If you were to assume a living was 25k net profit then @800 a cow you'd need 30 odd cows so 30 acres (minimal borrowings and decent milk price).

On a calf to year and half cattle system you should be making a minimum of 300-350 an animal - so to get to 25k you'd probably need to sell 70 cattle a year so 60 acres plus (this is ignoring SFP etc, no borrowings)

Can't comment for tillage or sucklers
Thanks tipp man, you seem to be making a good case for the dairy here, at €833/acre profit. Understand there is alot more work involved. And help may be needed regularly for say more than 30 cows??? which would be an outlay.

The calf to year ........ - at €416/acre, but alot less labout intensive would suggest?? Not sure I understand what you are saying here fully.
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16-11-2011, 11:38   #5
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Thanks tipp man, you seem to be making a good case for the dairy here, at €833/acre profit. Understand there is alot more work involved. And help may be needed regularly for say more than 30 cows??? which would be an outlay.

The calf to year ........ - at €416/acre, but alot less labout intensive would suggest?? Not sure I understand what you are saying here fully.
you would not need any help with 30 cows - a fella should be able to manage 100 cows with ease and probably 150 with a decent set up. Also with 30 cows you couldn't afford help

there could be plenty of work in the spring rearing 70 calves - especially if you get a scour or the like, calves can be a right pain. But for majority of year it would be very easy.

You would need to factor in your time and the opportunity cost of it. With 30 cows it would be difficult to have a job with it - it would be much easier to have a job with cattle. If you are talking about just farming then dairy is far more profitable than cattle - but if you take total income into account then cattle with a job can be hard to beat
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16-11-2011, 12:58   #6
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(this is ignoring SFP etc, no borrowings)
I would ignore any payments and grant assisted schemes because if the business cant stand on its own feet without supplementary payments then it just isnt viable.

Gloom & doom moment......If the euro goes which looks highly possible at present, then there will be no supplementary payments ever.......sorry.
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16-11-2011, 13:05   #7
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Yea, I'm sure on it's own two feet are the best. How might the Euro going affect forrestry do we think?? Anyone suggest what money is to be made from forrestry?
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16-11-2011, 13:10   #8
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Yea, I'm sure on it's own two feet are the best. How might the Euro going affect forrestry do we think?? Anyone suggest what money is to be made from forrestry?
Forrestry or coppicing will be a big thing from now on even in its least form which is firewood because it is linked to fuel prices whose only way is up.
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16-11-2011, 13:19   #9
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Unfortunately the size of your SFP (and DAS, REPS etc..) is far more important than the number of acres at the moment although it may not always be so. The guy with 100 acres and a 30k SFP is in a better position than his neighbour with 200 acres and 0k SFP.

Well managed dairy is profitable at current prices and tillage on owned land will probably make a small margin.
Teagasc figures show that with a few exceptions beef is essentially an unprofitable business.
Anyone who read the article on the Kepack fattening enterprise in the Journal a couple of weeks ago will realise this. A bit shocking really when you understand the advantages of scale and (apparent) efficiency that this business would have.
Beef farmers can always trumpet a pretend profit by ignoring a number of costs that should be included in the calculation. I've done it myself on occasion to make myself feel better.
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16-11-2011, 13:32   #10
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Unfortunately the size of your SFP (and DAS, REPS etc..) is far more important than the number of acres at the moment although it may not always be so. The guy with 100 acres and a 30k SFP is in a better position than his neighbour with 200 acres and 0k SFP.

Well managed dairy is profitable at current prices and tillage on owned land will probably make a small margin.
Teagasc figures show that with a few exceptions beef is essentially an unprofitable business.
Anyone who read the article on the Kepack fattening enterprise in the Journal a couple of weeks ago will realise this. A bit shocking really when you understand the advantages of scale and (apparent) efficiency that this business would have.
Beef farmers can always trumpet a pretend profit by ignoring a number of costs that should be included in the calculation. I've done it myself on occasion to make myself feel better.

Lets keep the tread to standing on it's own two feet, even if the competition dosen't. Am i right, is farming a competition in Ireland. Does SFP and SCWS for one farmer affect the price another farmer can get for his stock??
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16-11-2011, 13:56   #11
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What would you guys reckon is the min acers required to make a living? Assuming all good land suitable for any type of farming. Maybe suggest the what you would suggest for business - Dairy, Cattle, Forestry, etc. Thanks. - Also suggest what you would consider a reasonable living?
OP whats a living, is it the average industrial wage?

Or is it just enough to put groceries on the table, diesel in the 10 yr old car and most of the bills paid?

I suppose if you were hrh prince charlie you'd probably need 30,000 acres
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16-11-2011, 14:02   #12
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OP whats a living, is it the average industrial wage?

Or is it just enough to put groceries on the table, diesel in the 10 yr old car and most of the bills paid?

I suppose if you were hrh prince charlie you'd probably need 30,000 acres
Since suggested already, lets work with 25K. Reasonable for small family, where other parent works.
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16-11-2011, 14:53   #13
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I would ignore any payments and grant assisted schemes because if the business cant stand on its own feet without supplementary payments then it just isnt viable.

Gloom & doom moment......If the euro goes which looks highly possible at present, then there will be no supplementary payments ever.......sorry.
I personally don't think the EUR will go bang - whether Ireland is in it or not is another question. I think the EU will continue in the medium term also. Its important to note the difference between the EUR and the EU - people often use them interchangably

If the EUR survives and Ireland is not in it - this may actually be beneficial for Irish farmers as we would receive our SFP in EUR which would be very valuable against the Punt. This would also make our dairy and beef exports cheap. Of course fuel and fertiliser would be dear

Swings and roundabouts

However i would not be getting any borrowings and counting on the SFP to pay them back
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16-11-2011, 14:57   #14
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Yea, I'm sure on it's own two feet are the best. How might the Euro going affect forrestry do we think?? Anyone suggest what money is to be made from forrestry?
hard to know what money is to be made from it when its grant aided aswell, i would be more worried about having land planted and grants falling to a pittance and no way of changing system, think faster growing crops for biofuel could be a safer bet in years to come,

as for the how many acres required to make a living depends on the system i would say it must be coming near 50 - 100 if its anything other than dairy, but i think its going to become more how much can you push out of each acre now as regards stocking rates, also on how little inputs you use, 30- 50 dairy cows crossed to a beefy bull and selling the calves as weanlings i think would be a nice system, beef and tillage from experience are low margin enough, but still making the same or more than our forestry premium for the bit we have planted
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16-11-2011, 15:06   #15
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Talking to a lad there in the mart on my lunch break.

He was teaching, farming parttime. He's now gone farming full time. Now he would have good land, big sheep flock and a few dry stock. Not ure exactly what acreage he'd have. With the job and the farming, he was up on higher tax bracket and running around like a blue ar*ed fly.

Reckons if a lad can't make a living now from it, there's no hope! I think he's mad!! I didn't tell him that though!!
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