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Farmers

Discussion in 'Small Business' started by Tillie, 19th Jun, 2015.

  1. Tillie

    Tillie Well-Known Member

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    Any hobby or part time farmers here? I would be interested to hear your experiences... Also if you are running any other businesses in your farm e.g. B&B please share your story...

    Currently planning for retirement and we always have had a dream to retire to acreage in a countryside, so all information and advise is more than welcome :oops:
     
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  2. Pistonbroke

    Pistonbroke Well-Known Member

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    I know some bods who run a hydroponics operation out of their rental. Massive solar installation on the roof and yard.

    Is that farming?
     
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  3. Tillie

    Tillie Well-Known Member

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    It's called 'pot plant farming',. I am pretty sure that they will fit primary producer category in income tax purpose. Have done their research about market and profits etc. :D
     
    aussieB likes this.
  4. Pursefattener

    Pursefattener Well-Known Member

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    Full time farmer here currently planning to retire from farming before long ha ha .

    We are owner operators of a dairy with about a 3M turnover . Pretty average size operation the way it is these days . Located near Camperdown in Victoria's South West .
     
  5. Tillie

    Tillie Well-Known Member

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    Hi Pursefatter,

    Sorry already in advance about all the stupid questions... How many acres do you have and how many cows does it sustain? I am not brave enough to have dairy farm, but was thinking more to have grazing property...
     
  6. Bayview

    Bayview Well-Known Member

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    We ran a B&B for a couple of years.

    Ours was the full-cooked-breakfast type.
    At the end of the day; lots of work and not much income...we had loans to pay, so it was a dud for us from that point of view.

    In hindsight; better to run those self-contained cabins with all the supplies for breakfast for the guests to do themselves. That way, the clean-up time is waaay less after.

    If you are retired, have no debt, and are looking at it as a bit of extra pin money and something to do; go for it.

    Many TAFE facilities run/ran B&B courses...recommend doing one, and get onto your local Council to find out what hoops you need to jump through to get it set up.
     
  7. 4point5million

    4point5million Well-Known Member

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  8. Vacant

    Vacant Well-Known Member

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    I'm an oyster farmer in Port Stephens. Been absolutely hammered over the last few years with unexplained mortalities and that big east coast low we had in April. Still the best office I've ever worked in, it can't all be beer and skittles.

    Have done a few small sidelines selling oysters at winery's and various other one offs. Not big money spinners but generally a good time and some bartering on the side.
     
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  9. Tillie

    Tillie Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for all the stories. Keep them coming.

    Self contained cabins might be way to go as Bayview suggested. Cooked breakfast offer with my cooking skills might be complete failure. We all have to recognise our capability limits :D

    Personally I love eating oysters. The best cooked with champagne sauce and a little bit of smoked salmon. Yum! Or alternatively just natural way with the hint of lemon juice.

    Being also thinking about being yabby farmer. They can be grown in the dams. Less risky than going out to the sea with the boat all the time. Have to investigate this further.
     
  10. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    Okay ... so I couldn't stay away.

    In regards to Tillie's question ... we do both ... a small 27 acre (10hec) farm on which we run a few horses and dogs - and grow wine grapes (unprofitably) and organic garlic (very profitably). I'm also growing fennel and small single serve pumpkins for the local restaurants ... and looking into turmeric/Jerusalem artichokes this year. Did seriously consider saffron but decided "I ain't getting up before dawn to pick no damn flowers."

    We also bought recently - thru our SMSF - a property with 6 self contained cottages and run by an offsite (but only 10 minutes away) manager. Once we stop spending on much needed renovations on the property - which is why we were able to buy it so cheap last year - the income will easily replace hubby's mining wage and he then has the option to retire now that he turned 55 last month. The advantage is that the renovation costs are paid out of the current income, so we're not putting anything in ourselves ... and they should finally be finished in around 3 weeks ... and then we don't have to do anything. A few people suggested B&B but again - "I ain't getting up before dawn to cook breakfast for no damn person." Self contained is great.

    I also run my own business making (and selling) a range of wine based condiments that has taken off both locally and interstate.

    The secret to all of the above is location and product selection.

    If you're entering a hobby farm, and want to make some money, then you need to produce something that is unique ... don't do what everyone else is doing as it will be a hard sell and the returns to low - which is why we pulled out half our vineyard and gave olives a wide berth. The same with the condiments and cottages businesses - we are in a high demand tourist area, new people coming in each week year round, which means constant turnover of both.

    Don't know how I had time to go out to work really.

    I used to own a yabby farm with my ex many years ago ... a lot of work and expense putting in dams ... and then high ongoing costs with netting, harvesting, purifying, processing, cold storage, limited shelf life ... and then you have to find a market to sell to. We ended up selling to the bait industry ...
     
  11. Fielding

    Fielding Well-Known Member

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    I wouldn't look at a working farm for retirement. Farms are hard work. My parents own a beef cattle stud and he is retired but he loves the work and spends every day on the farm. There is always something to do lol. If you want something for retirment i would just do it as a hobby and not look for profits. You run cattle think about fencing and when it doesn't rain and you have to buy feed. Try doing 2km of barbed wire fence lol. I love the country life and loved growing up where i did had the horses and motor bikes but farming is not fun at all lol.
     
  12. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    But - Fielding - it comes down to the product you choose to grow and the size of your plot ... I love garlic because you prepare the soil by tilling, adding nutrients and green manure in Jan/Feb - plant in March/April and mulch well - set up irrigation if required - harvest in November ... for 8 months of the year you simply watch it grow and do some spot weeding (unless you "under" mulch like hubby did this year and I have lots of weeding) ... I wouldn't do stock asides from my daughters' horses - or a couple of Dorper (no shearing) sheep to keep the grass down and some personal meat supplies ... the sheep not the horses.

    I wouldn't go any larger than the 25 acres - and even then we rarely use the bottom 10 acre paddock.

    We don't have to continually fertilise as we're on volcanic clay, so an initial till and addition of lime, chook manure, copper and boron - dug in with the green cover crop of cow peas - is more than enough to sustain the crop until harvest ... and most of the prep, planting, mulching and harvest work is done by tractor.

    It takes us around 2-3 days all up to prep (over a month) - then 2-3 days to break the seed stock up, plant and mulch - a day to harvest each variety - and 2-3 days to process each variety.

    An idea of costs - this year it cost me around $2,000 for mulch and the nutrient additions (including cow pea seed) ... we also spent $1,000 on a implement to roll out the mulch but we'll have that for every year hereafter ... all things going well we should harvest just under 1 ton of garlic over a 6 week period (3 varieties that mature 2 weeks apart) ... takes me a few weeks to process by ourselves and into storage (in an existing airy shed in 100 bread crates that cost me $2 each) ... then when ready the product is sold online and at a local market at $30/kg ... total income (after cost of boxes, wood wool, labels etc) is approximately $20,000.

    Not bad for a couple of weeks work, spread over a year, and a couple of months of part time marketing. And if all goes badly then I'm only out the initial $2,000.

    Many garlic farmers will go away for a couple of months over winter when nothing is happening.

    Unlike the vineyard ... costs this year last was around $15,000 for skilled labour and machinery hire ... plus 2-300 hours of our time in unskilled manual labour ... and when the crop failed due to to much rain at the wrong time we had to dump the entire 10 ton on the ground for no return.

    As I said - it's all about crop selection - and location ... and I guess most importantly ... market selection - know where are, and to whom, you going to sell your product before you plant!
     
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  13. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    As an aside ... a great book to read is "How to Farm" by Joel Salatin ... one of his main considerations is proximity to your market.

    This was made clear to me just in our garlic. A colleague grows garlic on the North Coast. His nearest major town is 90 minutes away ... so for him to sell at a market, he had to travel 3 hours. My nearest major town (and post office for online sales) is 4 minutes (pop 25,000) with a huge tourist influx every week ... my market, in the grounds of a local winery, is in 5 minutes away ...
     
    Last edited: 9th Jul, 2015
  14. Fielding

    Fielding Well-Known Member

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    Lizzie I guess it depends on the income your after as well as the land size.
     
  15. catsteve

    catsteve Active Member

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    great reply Lizzy. thanks for sharing your experience.
     
  16. Fielding

    Fielding Well-Known Member

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    Lizzie are you up near Lismore by any chance?
     
  17. WattleIdo

    WattleIdo renovating Premium Member

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    I'm so jealous!
     
  18. legallyblonde

    legallyblonde Well-Known Member

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    I LOVE Dorpers!!! They are adorable!

    My farming retirement plans are largely about self sufficiency BUT if I can draw an income from business in retirement it will mean retirement can be a lot earlier than budgeted for!
     
    Fielding likes this.
  19. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    True - but the actual size of the garlic crop is only half an acre. I like 25 acres because we have horses and it came with a vineyard that takes up 10 acres ... but a 5 acre property for a specilised crop would be perfect.

    One major major consideration if you're small cropping is water ... either a permanent water source, town water (gasp - expensive) or large tanks ... as you need to be able to water your crop during short drought period (assuming you're in an area that might not rain for a few months at a time). We're lucky as we're on a private irrigation licence, so can fill our large storage dam from the Hunter River ... and we have tanks totally 190,000 litres
     
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  20. Lizzie

    Lizzie Well-Known Member

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    Nope - Pokolbin ... prime wine country :D