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Sick of my job, I'm going to grow potatoes instead.

  • 01-08-2023 1:30pm
    Registered Users Posts: 27

    Sorry in advance but this will be a bit long.

    Ok so first off, I know I might get some people saying I'm mad and that it won't work, but I'm going to say it here anyway 😃😃😃

    I'm a qualified stainless steel fabricator, been working at it for the past 7 years and apart from it being bad for the health, I'm sick of it. It's becoming a struggle to get out of bed in the morning and face into the day.

    I'm 31 years old and not getting any younger. I did my green cert in 2010 with the intention of doing something like this in the future.

    I don't own any land but have the option of renting land from two uncles of mine, 140 acres to choose from in total.

    I was always considering growing a few acres of potatoes on their land, possibly 5 or 6 acres and sell straight to shops or where ever I could manage to sell them.

    I have access to a shed to store machinery but nothing that could store potatoes long term. So I'm going to have to rely on storing them in the ground and digging them when I require them. I know this would be weather permitting but it's the only option.

    Regards machinery, I've got the use of a 100hp tractor, fertiliser spreader, 3 sod reversible plough, 12 ton grain trailer.

    Id have to purchase:

    - 130-150 hp Tractor (possibly rent)

    - Ridger

    - Destoner

    - Planter

    - Sprayer

    - Harvester

    - Bale Trailer

    - Grader

    - Bagger

    - Potato Boxes

    There is lots of second hand potato equipment on done deal as I'm obviously not going to finance new machinery.

    My plan would be to still work as a fabricator part time whenever I can as I don't think the growing of 5-6 acres of potatoes would be a full time job. Selling them might be a different story 😂😂

    I've got some savings that I'm willing to put up along with getting a loan of money from the bank.

    Thanks for reading this, please reply and tell me I'm mad and bring me back to reality 😀😀



  • Registered Users Posts: 8,980 ✭✭✭893bet

    It’s a long list of machinery needed……

    You are mad. But aslong as you don’t bankrupt yourself…..

  • Registered Users Posts: 11,213 ✭✭✭✭Furze99

    Sure, you may as well give it a go and see how it works out, give it 2-3 years though. Maybe you'll be able to borrow some machinery from neighbours when starting out and keep costs down.

  • Registered Users Posts: 10,477 ✭✭✭✭tom1ie

    So you seem to know how to plant them and what machinery is required etc, but where are ya gonna make money off them?

    Who are you selling to?

    How much will you get per potato and will that pay for your time, tax, fuel, maintenance of machinery, new seed, paying rent for the land?

  • Registered Users Posts: 834 ✭✭✭Sugarbowl

    Is it good soil?

    have heavy wet land here and does not grow nice potatoes

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,781 ✭✭✭mr.stonewall

    Start small with an acre. There is a lot of older vintage gear that would get you over the line for small money. This will give you a chance to feel your way into the market and see will it work.

    The biggest thing in this idea is having an outlet that will leave margin for the spuds. This would involve you having to sell at farmer's markets etc. Are you prepared for that.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 19,612 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    You are about 40 years too late to be arsing about with 5-6 acres of potatoes.

    Your list of machinery is also a bit too much.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27 bigned

    You could say that about any farming enterprise!

  • Registered Users Posts: 19,612 ✭✭✭✭Donald Trump

    I wouldn't be talking about buying a 130-150HP tractor for 5-6 acres of spuds that you are going to be taking out in small amounts. Or be bothering with a destoner.

    Buy an MF135 and an old Ransomes potato digger and pick them by hand and come back to us in a year to let us know if you still prefer it to the 9-5 😉

    We still had small acerage of spuds here 25-30 years ago and were an anomaly even at that time. And there was hassle getting a market for them back then. There might be some logic to you putting in small acres if you are otherwise doing veg anyway full time. But not as a standalone hobby

    Your money though and you'd be free to prove us wrong

  • Registered Users Posts: 5,556 ✭✭✭roosterman71

    Start small, and forget the machinery list. Initially you'll need to be able to get from seed to shop with the least expense possible. Ploughing money into all that machinery for 5/6 acres is crazy talk.

    Seeing as you have a plough, plough a bit of ground. Maybe a 2nd hand rotovator or something to fine the seed bed (a new 2m one could be bought for around 3k). Pick stones by hand. Find an old drill maker on donedeal or somewhere to make drills. Same for an old seeder and get someone to help you sow them. you have the gear for fertiliser. Get someone in to spray, or borrow a sprayer. And the kicker here is the harvest. That might be a manual job and only harvest what you need for your customers as you go.

  • Registered Users Posts: 156 ✭✭massey 265

    Great to see a bit of enterprise but i doubt potatoes would be the answer.Imo leave the large acerage to the big lads and rent a couple of acres for horticulture eg.salad leaves are ideal for small enterprises as they are easily grown,a large market and good profit too.May need a tunnell but no big outlay needed for of luck

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  • Moderators, Society & Culture Moderators Posts: 3,792 Mod ✭✭✭✭Siamsa Sessions

    Was just going to suggest similar - seems to be a few success stories of people selling lettuce and other veg locally to supermarkets, restaurants, and at farmers markets.

    How much work would be involved in getting 2-3 acres of veg drills set up? You could plant spuds in the same area. Sow that much, harvest it, and sell it.

    You'll know a lot more after that much was done.

    Trading as Sullivan’s Farm on YouTube

  • Registered Users Posts: 318 ✭✭ThreeGreens

    31 is definitely not too young to restart your career. Plenty of people only start their career around then.

    But you don't want to get it wrong this time and be attempting to restart it again as you approach 40. So give it some serious thought.

    I'd be surprised if there was much money to be made from 5/6 acres of potatoes. I've see to see anyone make lots of money from a small farm.

    So I'd suggest that you do give serious thought to getting into a career / business that you do like or have some prospect of liking. But this might not be the best of choice if you are financially motivated.

  • Registered Users Posts: 13,826 ✭✭✭✭Danzy

    Lad in North Cork selling spinach, think he is making a fair go of it.

    I think a 100 acres is now small with spuds.

    You might be on to something but a different type of veg.

    Ask a fancy chef what he has trouble getting or is dear.

    Curtain's haggart, rockchapel is the spinach man.

  • Registered Users Posts: 27 bigned

    Replying to massey265.

    Ive thought about strawberries before as it's a crop I know a lot about my grandfather grew strawberries for jam years ago and I've worked on the biggest strawberry farm in Wexford from when I was 16 up until I started welding, even through college when I could. Problem with them is they are a logistical nightmare for a small grower and a lot of set up cost initially. Very good profit in a good year however.

    Regarding the vegetables, I know nothing about them so I've not considered them. I've considered doing a horticultural course in the past however.

  • Registered Users Posts: 9,274 ✭✭✭pgj2015

    This guy is doing well, saw him on tv lately. he said he gets 1000 euro from 1 pig as its biodynamic.

    As a previous poster said, sell something that is expensive and sought after.

    I left a job I hated a few years ago, set up a business, phone hardly rang at the start but if you work hard you will succeed, its great working at something you enjoy and for yourself.

  • Registered Users Posts: 4,920 ✭✭✭enricoh

    A fella locally grows spuds n sells them on the side of the road 12 to 6 around 5 days a week, does well with earlies. I'd be bored sitting there but he has built up a good trade. Sells timber , turf , eggs etc.

  • Registered Users Posts: 6,776 ✭✭✭SouthWesterly

    There's someone near ardfert in north Kerry who started off with a veg garden and now sells mainly salad leaves to supermarkets and restaurants in the area. You'll find her on FB Leagh Farm

    Eves Leaves in cahersiveen makes relishes and has a thriving business run from 5 tunnels on a bed of rock.

    Thing is to find the niche. I sell new potatoes at my gate. The novelty soon runs off for people . Got about half my cost of seed potato covered this year. Planted 50kg of potatoes, early and late and was fighting blight

    Ended up with 15kg of green tomato as they got blight in the tunnel and I lost half the crop

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,786 ✭✭✭DownByTheGarden

    I thought the same as you about work at 30. Never did anything about it. Here i am the guts of 2 decades later and im finishing up on Friday.

    Not growing potatoes though. Just going on the dole for a year and traveling. Dont think i'll bother going back to work ever. I think i'll just travel when the fancy takes me. The hardest part was figuring out how to hide money and get the dole. Not planning on drawing my pension for another 10 years, so i'll live on my taxes til then.

    So my advise is just do it, because you'll just be stuck in the job and hate it more every day. If you hate it now, wait til you see yourself n another 10 years. I say go for it.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,969 ✭✭✭yosemitesam1

    That as a plan wouldn't be great. The whole market has changed so much now that finding a market for those potatoes where you will actually make a reasonable return is near impossible.

    A more diversified setup could potentially work. Multiple vegetables and or multiple fruits, especially if you went to a big farmers market in Dublin/cork every week.

    What part of the country are you in?

    What is the soil type like on farm?

    Is it reasonably sheltered?

    What sort of budget could you throw at it?

    Do you have any big commitment ls, family, mortgage etc?

    Would working long hours on your own be something you're used too?

    Have you any accommodation to put up a student for additional help?

    Also time is ticking, can you potentially hit the ground running next year or do you have to actually figure out how to grow stuff first?

    Also maybe going back to education with a view to just getting a job related to ag/Hort might be an option?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,745 ✭✭✭Jjameson

    rent the 140 acres. Consider milking cows. Mind your uncles well. Forget the spuds.

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  • Registered Users Posts: 6,148 ✭✭✭screamer

    Microveg, fancy mushrooms, nettles, salad leaves and snails. All things I’ve heard people farming and making a go of it. Good luck, much as I’d love to change career, I’ve small mouths to feed and just couldn’t.

  • Registered Users Posts: 21,429 ✭✭✭✭Water John

    Looking at the multi veg option is good. Consider instead if you rented 10/15 acres from the uncles. Research guys who are doing this.

    Do a course with Klaus Laitenberger;

    or Jim Cronin;

    Not saying it should be organic but they have been there, done that.

  • Registered Users Posts: 8,223 ✭✭✭funkey_monkey

    You considered doing a Clarkson and opening a farm shop or going to the markets selling beef, eggs, veggies and spuds? Maybe a pick your own or do boxes like Phil.

    It would be a lot of plates spinning but all your eggs wouldn't be in one basket in regards to crop.

    What about opening a clay pigeon shoot on some of the land?

    A natural burial area where folk get to be buried or scattered in a natural setting.

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭ruwithme

    Fair play to you op for admitting your sick of the day's refreshing honesty. Undoubtedly your not alone in that.I've no advice on the spuds.

    Good luck

  • Registered Users Posts: 1,186 ✭✭✭ruwithme

    Was there not lads, saying they were quitting the milk after the "wettest July " since Adam & eve?

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,745 ✭✭✭Jjameson

    Mammoth grass growth, pucks of atmospheric nitrogen in that rain. The house never loses!

  • Registered Users Posts: 7,708 ✭✭✭StupidLikeAFox

    Grow the spuds and turn them into artisan crisps. Probably a whole host of other issues to manufacture and get the product in shops but you might get a few grants and at least the yields would be good for a small site (you'd get 2 or 3 bags of crisps out of a single potato)

  • Registered Users Posts: 279 ✭✭Feets

    You wuld be surprised by some land owners supporting you, try it out and ask as many people as you can you farm their land for free, you may get someone interested. Not all landowners are farmers and just want their land tended to.

  • Registered Users Posts: 2,607 ✭✭✭MacDanger

    Would be worth going to a few farmers' markets (maybe not too locally) and talking to a few potato farmers about what they'd advise.

    One thing you could consider would be growing things people can't generally get in the shop e.g. purple potatoes, red/yellow/purple carrots, purple broccoli, etc. maybe talk to some good local restaurants and see if there'd be any interest in those types of niche offerings.

    One thing to consider is pest control - you could easily come out some morning to have your entire crop decimated by blight, carrot fly, etc. It's a balls when you have a vegetable patch but if it was your livelihood, it'd be a disaster

    Good luck with it

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  • Registered Users Posts: 735 ✭✭✭techman1

    Did revenue ever buy any potatoes from him on the side of the road?