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Can I make a living off the farm

  • 10-03-2023 4:50pm
    Registered Users Posts: 1 chreeko84

    Hi all

    Getting sick of my day job(I'm 36) and just wondering would I make a living off weanling/store to beef system.I have 100 acres and usually finish 70 cattle a plan would be up to up that to finish 100 per year.

    Only taken over the farm myself 4 years ago so still trying to figure out true net margins for each it very optimistic to give a net margin of 200 euro per animal and therefore 200euro x 100 animals = 20000 + sfp +acres =35000 euro per year annual income

    No debt on farm and no building/infrastructure needed,with only small mortgage repayments

    Would I be mad to pack in a good job with pension and go farming a system like that full time.

    Better half is fully supportive,no kids yet




  • Registered Users Posts: 2,256 ✭✭✭Jb1989

    35000 minus tax is around 27000 at the lower rate nevermind if your on higher rate.

    Some years you'll only break even on the animals so will only have 15000 of subs minus tax.

    Depends how them income figures match with your off farm wage.

  • Registered Users Posts: 18,291 ✭✭✭✭_Brian

    Jez I think the way cost of living is going your leaving yourself a light income.

    bit it depends of herself works or indents to keep working if ye have kids.

    maybe a change of job might reinvigorate your interest and farm alongside it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,446 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    What about setting up a petting zoo? might be more money in it than farming?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,618 ✭✭✭cute geoge

    Thinking out loud you probably aint big enough to be kept busy but if kids come yer way,i expect youd take up the responsibility for childcare which should make it work.Childcare would be costing E200+/week for a toddler and thats only the start of it so i would hang on to job there or another bit.

    Could you increase the rate o turn over of cattle on the otherhand like keep extra cattle but for a shorter period and have the same proit/head

  • Registered Users Posts: 62 ✭✭Mr..

    If your getting sick of your job leave, maybe work part time, find a job you like, if the farm needs investment it will be hard to farm full time and "live" too.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 541 ✭✭✭Morris Moss

    Rent it out tax free for 15 years, the way lads are gone mad for land I'd be looking for 500 an acre along with the sfp back, that's dependant on where you are in the country of course, but it's an option, other than that would you consider doing relief milking a few times a week, could help top-up wages.

  • Registered Users Posts: 790 ✭✭✭Sugarbowl

    You could do an AI course and supplement your farm income with that. Or relief milking as suggested above. Would give you the middle of the day off to get jobs done at home.

  • Allotments might be a runner if near a big town or a city but a petting zoo would be a dead loss.

    You could make a margin on cattle of say 200 a head but it would be highly dependent on costs control and demand/prices staying high. If things change you might only break even. Organics wouldn’t be a runner unless you bred your own stock. I think you would need diversity on the farm to guarantee income.

    Organics might be a good option to purely draw the money and encourage cost control. You could say keep 20 Angus cows and have a very short winter as they would be out most of the year.

    Would you consider taking a month off to try it? Maybe a 3 day week would be a runner?

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  • Registered Users Posts: 877 ✭✭✭Packrat

    There's a living to be made out of almost any 100 acres unless it's bog and rock if you're willing to put in the work and make savings on spending.

    The problem is that whilst you might be happy with that living, your other half and any potential children may not.

    There's good advice above in this thread, - a handy job that works around childrearing and the farm, maybe your other half has a 40 plus job, horticulture on a couple of acres, glamping pods, there's endless possibilities.

    Talk to your accountant, - if you both work out rather than one doing it all the tax bands are higher.

    If you're finishing 80 cattle at present, your land and sheds should be good enough for more than the figures you're quoting here.

    “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command”

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,093 ✭✭✭screamer

    Rent it out tax free and get a job you enjoy even if it’s lower paid. You’d be nuts to consider dry stock over renting it if you own it outright.

  • Registered Users Posts: 774 ✭✭✭Aravo

    I would be careful on leaving job to go full time farming. With no children that would be easier cost wise. With children, full time farming is unlikely to pay the bills. Maybe going part time would work. No point doing a job you don't like. You are not alone, many facing same decision. Best of luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,446 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    Why do you think a petting zoo would be a dead loss? If they are somewhere there isn't one it could do really well, parents are always looking for places to bring their kids. They could set one up on say 20 acres and farm the rest. quad biking might be another thing they can set up.

  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 12,464 Mod ✭✭✭✭blue5000

    Anyone doing glamping here already? What would it cost to setup?

    If the seat's wet, sit on yer hat, a cool head is better than a wet ar5e.

  • Registered Users Posts: 261 ✭✭Rusheseverywhere

    Petting zoos none runner, impossible to get insurance for them; all the niche insurance from thatched buildings to petting zoos were UK based and they no longer have an interest in the Irish market. Same for quads be a non runner. Saw couple bike parks had to close as uninsurable.

  • Registered Users Posts: 261 ✭✭Rusheseverywhere

    I am a full time farmer and to the OP will say very very difficult to support a family from farming. My farm over twice your size and I can just about support myself the dog and the cat. Capital costs killer in farming; hedge cutting, fencing,sheds, machinery vet etc. Horticulture might be an option if close to a decent size town and use HelpX or similar for labour. TB etc can be a disaster so as posters have said the only sure income is the direct payments; the 15k in your case.

    If you have family in future farming work well as easy to fit it around minding children I think. That be massive saving in childcare costs

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,948 ✭✭✭tanko

    Not to mention insurance, how many of these type of well established businesses have had to close because of extortionate insurance quotes in recent years. I think the OP needs a good lie down, he might come to his senses then.

  • Number one reason would be insurance. Also, it costs a fortune to keep exotic animals with feed and vets bulls etc.

    You might be busy a few weeks in the year but idle then during the bad weather.

    Quad biking is interesting but again insurance and I think you’d need hundreds of acres.

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  • If you dislike the job then you are right to leave it and at a good age

  • Registered Users Posts: 20,593 ✭✭✭✭Water John

    Look at all the direct payments you might be able to avail of, incl Organic which in your case is €9K plus, Acres €7K and BISS, total €20K. Can you keep that and not have to spend any of it on the farm? That would be a good start. If you land is fairly good, you could grow organic oats or other crops which pay fairly well on part. Growing a mixed arable crop or red clover silage would provide a finishing diet for beef cattle. Definitely has potential to work alongside possibly future child rearing duties.

    I wouldn't lease just because of the money being offered ATM. Some who leased before found it given back to them when pressure came on milk price.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,057 ✭✭✭wildwillow

    If you mean to be a full time farmer then you will be prepared to put in the hours. Growing salad veg and micro greens, free range pigs for exceptional bacon etc, sheep with fleece which is in demand by felt makers, weavers and spinners. Flowers for cutting. There are many niche areas begging for development.

    The trend is sustainability and organic and will become the norm for the future.

    You could probably still have some dry stock.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,473 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    If you go into organics you need to go into Sucklers, sheep or grain. It's going to be interesting over the next few years as lads realise that.

    @chreeko84 it not really about numbers it's about a system that works for you. Short-term cattle may be the most profitable, however you need serious capital to back up such a system. If you opt for a 70-100 day system you will need to be buying buying 8-10 cattle every week.

    Even a six month system will require you to buy 150-180 cattle a year. Any short term system will probably require 30-50k more money tied cattle than a long-term system

    300 euro per head of a net margin is achievable on 12 month system. 5-700 in a calf to beef system but your numbers will be well back.

    It would be hard to get to 100. 70-80 might be optimal in a yearling/store to beef system calf to beef gives you a system that is relatively low cost to buy into to variable costs will be high

    My own inclination would be ''keep the day job'' as the expression goes.

    Post edited by Bass Reeves on

    Slava Ukrainii

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,516 ✭✭✭amacca

    I never looked into it but often wondered about the leasing myself

    How sure are you of being able to A) get the money and B) not have the place made a total balls far can you go vetting possible tenants and what sort of safeguards do you have against deliberate pricks?

    Is it tax free if you have other income (is it a side pot that you get tax free regardless of other income, if you are already on the high rate etc etc) and is it likely you lose out on possible future payments etc as you won't fit the definition of an active farmer because you are renting it etc

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,473 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    It is tax free however you pay PRSI and USC on it. This is usually in the 10-12% range. The catch is even if the tenant dose not pay your rent you are still obliged to pay the PRSI and USC

    Slava Ukrainii

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,864 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    The relief is on an amount up to the limit for the duration of your lease. You are taxed on the portion above the limit if you are over it.

    (The only other income that comes into play is if you have a loss from other rentals which reduces your overall Case V profit to that below what you got for your land. In that case the relief is maxed out at that lower amount)

    The OP could let his land for 10 years for up to 30k (profit on lease) and have that free of PAYE. Likely nearly as good as an extra 60k in their day job.

    What he could do, especially if a high earner, is keep back enough to be an active farmer and avail of grants. And run that at a loss to build up the place for later on. Reduce his tax further. Although I think there are limits to this in terms of trying to do it continuously.

  • People are upping the benefits of a 9 to 5 which there are. However, there are some downsides, the work can be dull and if you are earning decentish money you see a lot of your money blown away on tax.

    The sweet spot for a part time farmer might be a 3 day week in a job on a decent rate.

  • Registered Users Posts: 17,473 ✭✭✭✭Bass Reeves

    The problem is jobs pay a decent rate for 3 day week are usually only job share in the public service. If you work for a private sector employer they be trying to squeeze four days work out of you. I know very few jobs that pay a decent rate part time except maybe nursing.

    A job that allows you WFH may be a better option. They are becoming more common.

    On tax which is better 565/week or 780week. In the first case you earn 35k/ and give revenue 5.7k/year in the second the figures are 55k and 14.5k

    Slava Ukrainii

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  • Registered Users Posts: 877 ✭✭✭Packrat

    I agree with Bass here, even though I suggested it above, those 3 to 4 day jobs which pay anything decent are few and far between unless you have a qualification in a specific area which makes you in high demand.

    None of the alternative diversification projects are easy either but if one suited and you had the interest in it maybe.

    As others said - a house with a couple of kids and any sort of mortgage needs maybe 60 or more net of tax to function these days.

    Your other halfs job and how possible it would be to continue that/any cut in income there resulting from having kids would be a big factor in your decision.

    Best of luck, it's not easy, I've been in this situation twice over the last 8 years and it's still not fully resolved.

    “The Party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command”