Farming question

14 posts

Member for

7 years 11 months
Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Farming question

Hi I have 35 acres in central victoria and I was wanting to start farming I have never farmed before so I'm after some advice. I was thinking about running goats on the property and was wanting to know how much is involved in doing so and if it is worth it profit wise. I also thought about cropping it as well but I'm not to sure can someone suggest what I could do with the property to at least get me started. Thank you 

Forums
Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

Nath,

Welcome to the site.

Now for barage of questions. Before we can start answering your question we need some more info:

  • What is the average rainfall?
  • What type of soils do you have? 
  • What is the fencing like? Is the property subdivided into smaller paddocks?
  • What water supplies do you have?
  • Is it native grasses, scrubby, improved pastures or a combination of these?
  • Has the area been cropped previously?
  • What cropping equipment do you have access to?
  • Do you know a local friendly farmer who could be your mentor?

Over to you.
Rob.

Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Hi Rob,

Thanks for your reply. I've listed my answers below.

  • What is the average rainfall? 500mm Annually (Maldon Vic)
  • What type of soils do you have?  It's Granite soil
  • What is the fencing like? Average - sheep adjisted currently
  • Is the property subdivided into smaller paddocks? No, not currently
  • What water supplies do you have? 2 damns, small - med size
  • Is it native grasses, scrubby, improved pastures or a combination of these? Native grasses with patersons curse as well.
  • Has the area been cropped previously? No
  • What cropping equipment do you have access to? None at the moment.
  • Do you know a local friendly farmer who could be your mentor? Father in law lives on property and he knows local farmers I could speak to.

Im leaning towards livestock at the moment as I've been told cropping involves more money and time. I also have an earthmoving company I run.

 

thanks again,

 

Nathan. 

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

OK Nath. I would forget the cropping bit, the overheads to get going would just not be worth it on 35 acres.

In my opinion you need to subdivide your place into a series of smaller paddocks so you can move whatever stock you have around the place and let the grazed areas recover. You are set grazing at the moment and that means the stock eat their favourite things and leave the stuff they like least. Cell grazing makes them eat most of the feed more evenly and gives the favourite species time to recover between grazing sessions.

Some pretty simple electric fencing is very practical and easy to set up. It also lets you change the configuration of your fences as the seasons and your pastures change. A couple of points:

  • never let the stock eat the place down to dirt., try to keep a ground cover at all times to reduce erosion and allow the plants to recover quicker.
  • size your paddocks so the stock eat the food quickly, about a week. This stops them giving their favourite things a hammering which weakens the plants and forces them to eat the other stuff.

I would look at setting up a few simple troughs as watering points that run out of the dams (we ffence off our dams) so you and make the smaller cells the configuration needed not what is imposed by the water points.

You will find the curse will go away, or be greatly reduced, after a while with this grazing pattern. If there are some thick places and you have access to a slasher then run over it. This will recycle the nutrients from the curse into your soil and help the other plants take over.

For the time being I would start this using the existing sheep to get the pastures going again. Have a look at http://www.pasturepicker.com.au/ for some ideas on what species could be broadcast to improve your existing pastures but don't be in too much of a hurry as you may well be surprised what comes back with the cell grazing.

Cheers
Rob.

Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Thanks for that infomation Rob. What would you recommend in a way of live stock I was thinking Goats but not to sure I want something that doesn't need 24/7 care and also can make a good return is this possible. Thankyou

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

Nath,

If you have sheep on there at present then they would be my choice for a start. In your area, fairly dry with native pasture, I would consider one of the shedding breeds (Dorper or Wiltipoll) so you don't have to worry about shearing or flies. They also make good returns at the saleyards.

For a start though I would continue with the agisted sheep if possible and get the paddocks and water points set up. You can then use these sheep to start the transformation of your pastures without any outlay (money actually coming in) as setting up even a small mob will be a bit pricey.

One bit of advice though is to stock on the light side and aim for complete ground cover at all times if possible. Move them through the paddocks quickly and keep your grass in the vegetative state (green and growing) as this has the most food value. Occasionally you will have to let a couple of paddocks go to seed to renew the pasture but that will come with practice. If you end up with too much food (nice problem to have) you could cut some for pasture hay or just slash it as a green manure to improve the soil.

Do a Google search on cell grazing for more info on this type of pasture management. It will be worth it.

Cheers
Rob.

Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Hi Rob,

Thanks. Your info has been very helpful!! Ill probably be firing questions at you for the next few weeks..

Are you able to tell me roughly how many sheep per acre? My father in law said the adjisting farmer has 1 sheep per acre roughly - does this sound right?

Also, in the summer months in this area the grass is rarely green, does this change what you have said about cell grazing?

Can you give me a rough idea of how much per head the sheep cost? And how long do they need to graze for before being sold and how much roughly do they sell for?

Sorry about all of the stupid questions!! As I'm new to it all. Are you based in Vic as well?

Thanks,

Nathan..

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

Nathan,

You are starting to ask me piece of string questions now :)

If the local farmers run a sheep per acre then that would be a good place to start. How many do you have on your place now? Is it handling this many or are they knocking down the feed faster than it can grow - good data to use.

Its normal for native grasses to hay off in summer. If you look at the base of the tufts most will have green shoots in there ready to go again when conditions are suitable. When the grass hays off it is not so digestible, the sheep don't like it so much and get picker and the protein content lowers but that is life with native grasses. Have a look at http://www.namoi.cma.nsw.gov.au/plant_id_book_small_2.pdf for some ideas of native grass management. You should have the equivalent of the CMA in Victoria which would be good to find and read.

As for cost of sheep you first need to decide on the breed you want to run then look around for local suppliers. If you want to run stud stock be prepared to part with some serious cash. Flock ewes would be fine for most setups with a good ram. If you want to just sell fat lambs think about hybrid vigour by cross breeding, we run Dorper ewes with Wiltipoll rams. As for how long to keep them, you can sell them as young as 12 weeks if you have to but these sucker lambs need to be running on really good pasture with their mum to get this output. Heavier lambs are a good idea if you have the feed to run them, we aim to get ours off at about 7 months, so its important not to overstock.

With your setup I would keep the existing agisted sheep there till you get the fencing and water set up and the grazing pattern established. This grazing pattern helps with worm control so its far more than just pasture management. Use them to get the place how you want it then start adding a few stores (young sheep for you to grow out) if you can get them to fatten and sell. Get into breeeding later after you have a bit more experience as it saves you running rams (expensive and useless for most of the year) and having to handle the lambing season. Save that joy till later.

One thing I would consider earlier is to get some legume into your pasture. Only aim at about 20% but it will make a huge difference to the productivity of your pastures.

As you may gather I am not from Victoria, north west NSW but the basic problems are the same. Just remember you are not a sheep farmer, you are a water and carbon manager :)

Cheers
Rob.

Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Hi Rob Happy New Year hope you had a good one thanks for all the infomation it's been very helpful 

Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Hi again Rob one quick question you said I could put a few young sheep on the property to grow out and sell Is there a market for adult sheep? or is the meat market only for lambs. I've probable misunderstood what you mean by grow out. Thanks 

Last seen: 03/08/2018 - 21:05
Joined: 10/22/2012 - 11:13

Nathan,

I meant to get some young lambs that are not ready for slaughter yet and fatten them to sell for slaughter before they are a year old and still classified as lambs.

To do this though you will need good pastures to push them through in time. As I have said before, I would hold off on this till you have your pastures set up and the grazing pattern established.

Cheers
Rob.

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi there,

Just a short note. To keep goats you would need very secure fencing. Goats are escape artists as the next paddock is always greener and they like to go off on adventures also. If you are already running sheep, that's what I would go for to be honest. I have been running goats for many years  and the price of fat lambs is usually much better than it is for goats. Unless you had a large number of goats it's unlikely that you make much money out of them. The book shop on this website has my book Farming Meat Goats which would tell you everything you need to know about raising and selling them. Unlike goats, sheep are also a lot easier to keep in your paddock and not the next door neighbours.

I have to keep a constant eye on my electric fences, running at 9,800 v,  as if they are down for even five minutes the goats will realise it and be off on another of their little adventures. Even so, I do love the little blighters.

cheers and all the best for 2014,

Barb

Last seen: 12/25/2014 - 21:25
Joined: 12/29/2013 - 16:01

Thanks for your advice barb hope you had a good new year. If I bought lambs fattened them and sold them how many do you think I'd need to make a supplementary income. The sheep on the property at the moment are adjisted by a local farmer my father inlaw knows if I left them on the property and put my own on there probley a different breed could this cause dramas. Thanks Nathan

Last seen: 09/17/2019 - 18:07
Joined: 11/23/2011 - 09:38

Hi Nathan,

yep, had a good new year- but very hot here 41 c. In answer to your question, there are a lot of things to take into consideration before you can work out how many you would need to make a supplementary income.

1. buy in price

2. transport costs to bring them in and to take them to the meat works or the sale yards.

3. cost of drenching if needed

4. how many you can run on your property- available feed and water.

5. the cost of supplementary feed if needed- currently I'm paying $498.50 per tonne of feed lot mix.

6. slaughter fees and payment of levies. Also the cost of the NLIS tags 

7. selling price and finally, how much supplementary income you need

In answer to your second question: different breeds of sheep can graze along quite happily together. Even goats, cattle and horses can graze happily with sheep. In fact, mixing cattle or horses with sheep can help to keep the worm burdens down as they do not host the same worms. So cross grazing with other unrelated species can be very useful. Doesn't work with goats though as they host the same species of internal parasites as sheep. Finally, be careful that you don't overstock.

Cheers,

Barb

 

Active forum topics

Topic Replies Last post Forum
3226 Multi-species Pasture Cropping
byTallanalla on Thu, 08/03/2017 - 19:20
2
by notill_paul
Tue, 10/19/2021 - 12:17
Farming Help
7230 How do you fix heavy wooden fences
byanasttin on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 17:23
1
by admin
Tue, 10/12/2021 - 17:00
Fencing
7224 Newbie Alpaca farmer question
byAlpacaPacino on Thu, 07/01/2021 - 16:55
1
by admin
Sat, 07/03/2021 - 12:13
Alpacas
7213 "Chicken Tractors"
byPadwah on Mon, 05/10/2021 - 11:11
1
by admin
Mon, 05/10/2021 - 11:41
Poultry
7205 Vaccinating a small number of lambs
byhilltophouse on Tue, 04/13/2021 - 14:26
1
by admin
Sun, 04/18/2021 - 21:28
Sheep
7204 Ducks keep dying
bySteves Ducks on Sun, 04/11/2021 - 21:42
1
by admin
Wed, 04/14/2021 - 16:16
Poultry
7170 Orphan Lambs and Foxes
byhlcrouch on Thu, 10/01/2020 - 20:10
4
by GreenAcresFarm
Tue, 04/06/2021 - 19:28
Sheep
7189 On farm home butchering
byDreamChasers on Tue, 03/09/2021 - 21:48
2
by Casey
Sun, 04/04/2021 - 16:53
General Forum
7187 Tractor information
byzoob on Mon, 03/01/2021 - 21:28
2
by Casey
Sun, 04/04/2021 - 16:42
General Forum
6613 Hello everyone
byGordon on Tue, 09/08/2020 - 14:32
3
by Casey
Sun, 04/04/2021 - 16:34
Fencing
7184 Looking at purchasing in Scenic Rim area.
byFordGT18 on Sun, 01/31/2021 - 14:21
1
by admin
Wed, 03/03/2021 - 12:18
General Forum
7183 Starting a wagyu farm
byaussie3105 on Sun, 01/24/2021 - 20:50
1
by admin
Thu, 01/28/2021 - 11:26
Farm planning
6282 Farm security
byweekenders on Mon, 06/22/2020 - 12:51
9
by OWilson87
Tue, 01/19/2021 - 21:00
7182 ivermectin and yabbies
byOzSledge on Sun, 01/17/2021 - 14:02
2
by OWilson87
Tue, 01/19/2021 - 20:58
932 Tractors
bygaz on Fri, 07/13/2012 - 13:53
15
by admin
Sun, 01/10/2021 - 14:45
General Forum
6966 Agistment
bymarieoc on Sun, 09/27/2020 - 19:52
3
by admin
Fri, 10/02/2020 - 17:53
Livestock
6699 Should I till, use harrows or just let it be?
byTheOldChurchEstate on Thu, 09/10/2020 - 18:40
1
by admin
Thu, 09/17/2020 - 17:03
Farming Help
6573 Do I need to fence off my dam with cows?
bymawan on Fri, 09/04/2020 - 13:57
1
by admin
Wed, 09/09/2020 - 10:12
Farming Help
6568 Kiwi wanting to sheep farm in Australia
byNikita on Thu, 09/03/2020 - 09:40
1
by admin
Mon, 09/07/2020 - 11:23
Sheep
6565 New sheep about to lamb, not vaccinated or wormed. What do I do please?
bySarah B on Mon, 08/31/2020 - 14:57
2
by Sarah B
Wed, 09/02/2020 - 16:34
Sheep

Our Sponsors

Our Partners

  •  Rivendell finance