Is a small scale dairy startup viable

Discussion in 'Talking Point' started by deere6320, May 17, 2020.

  1. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    hi lads, is there any chance that I could convert a suckler farm to a dairying , I farm 85 acres ,30 of which is very heavy and would need draining and is also under a heavy crop of rushes and the rest is well fenced and free draining ,there is a 4 bay double lean 2 slatted shed ,calf house and silage pit in place , could I justify the investment
     
  2. Green Grass

    Green Grass Well-Known Member

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    What type of investment are you talking about,is it just 10k for a 10 unit parlour self build or is it a €140k robot .The thing about milking cows it is a full time job so would it pay to give up a job to go milking is another question .Plenty of lads have made a go of it on little or no land but it is getting harder every year .For instance this years tripple whammy of poor calf and cull cow price as well as probably 5 cent reduction in milk price will it make pretty grim for anyone repaying loans
     
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  3. marco

    marco Well-Known Member

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    There's two ways of doing everything I suppose. Lots of lads going top spec cubicles and milking parlours and getting as much grant as they can. But I see a few guys getting second hand parlours for very handy money and putting in basic spec shed for extra accommodation for cows. Between selling their dry stock as they invest they have got in for handy money and got to 60-80 cows. I think that's the way to do it.
     
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  4. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    but to make the most out of land near the parlour I would probably have to lease around 30 acres of silage ground long term ,it would be hard to justify putting in 150-200k to milk 50 cows when 75 is possible
     
  5. Neat

    Neat Well-Known Member

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    If a load of farmers are running towards something, turn around and run in the opposite direction
     
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  6. Neat

    Neat Well-Known Member

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    Milk is going the same way as beef. Keep your money in your pocket. All these big investments will be paid back but you won’t be paid for your time and labour
     
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  7. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    Farming is my passion so idk I can’t do nothing
     
  8. AYF

    AYF Well-Known Member

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    Have a look at used parlours.
    A friend of mine bought a very high spec quick exit parlour 16 each side (I think) for about £4k. Now he was dismantling it himself in that price.
    Did what he could himself. And was able to fit it into an existing shed.
    His holding yard was old gates and baler twine to begin with.
    Kept cows on straw the first year.
    Built cubicles his second year. Hasn't gone to stupid money for anything.
    His existing stock converted money wise into cows.
    It can be done cheaply is what I'm saying.
     
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  9. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    Interesting, before I was thinking everything had to be done to grant spec but I guess I could do something similar to that, I would like to be running a respectable operation though ,I wouldn’t mind borrowing a bit to get things right but it’s the wet land that worries me
     
  10. CORK

    CORK Well-Known Member

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    You could put in a lot of work and it could be very satisfying to be your own boss but if the land is particularly wet, a wet summer like 08,09 or 12 could be hellish.
     
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  11. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    Thanks lads
     
  12. jcb411abuser

    jcb411abuser Well-Known Member

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    You'll not necessarily need to be grant spec but you'll need to pass QA and the current method of passing I.e making it look good for the day of inspection, won't be possible forever I'd say we'll start seeing random inspections in the next 5 years. With that in mind I think you'll find a robot easier in the long term. 60 cows would be perfect for it and suit your land. Put the young stock on the wet 30 acres, zero graze or silage the rest and keep the cows in.
     
  13. Blue Power

    Blue Power Well-Known Member

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    When I was doing costing to go dairying I was looking at it from the point of view of drawing down the grants with tams. I was getting quotes of up on 90k for new milking parlour. It is crazy money to get started with. Good deals to be got on second hand parlour. It's very easy to get carried away with shiny new equipment and the sales talk of 40% back on a grant.

    It's the small changes around the farmyard costing really small money that can save you more time than a 90k parlour.
     
  14. Kieran97

    Kieran97 Well-Known Member

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    What County are you in @deere6320

    Was just wondering about what the ground was like.
     
  15. 6600

    6600 Well-Known Member

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    Put a second hand parlour in a new shed here. Worked out well. Got the grant on the tank, feeders, troughs and the bin. At the time a new 14 unit with feeders was 85k and you still had the shed, collecting yard and bulk tank to buy.
    For me a robot doesn't have the return on investment to justify spending that much to milk 60. The machine itself is over 2k a cow and you still need to pay for somewhere to put it, the milk and the cows.
     
  16. Mf240

    Mf240 Well-Known Member

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    I'm convinced that the whole hole is going to fall out of milk.
     
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  17. slurryboy

    slurryboy Well-Known Member

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    Get the right cows and youd only need 45-50 milking. Since we have moved cows into the new building and put the robots in the herd average has gone up from 28ish to around 41. With the 3 robots aim to be around 150-155 milking as when there gets any more the milk yield is held back as machines are pretty much aat capacity
     
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  18. Joseph 88

    Joseph 88 Member

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    Based on?
     
  19. Mf240

    Mf240 Well-Known Member

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    The continued expansion, the willingness of farmers to send milk for whatever they get. The dependence of cheap powders and bargain basement products to "use up" milk.
    The worldwide recession thats coming down the tracks , the vegan agenda, the erosion of farm income by inflation while milk price stagnates.
    Also the simple reality that every other farm product had fallen to the stage that only the very big operations can make a living. Quota prevented that in dairying, but that's gone now and we are racing to the bottom with milk to join to other products.
     
  20. Kieran97

    Kieran97 Well-Known Member

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    Supply and demand. He's right, but the question is when.

    I had a graph of this for a college project, I can't find the graph atm but in the late 1980s there was 1.6 million suckler cow's in Ireland and 1.2 million dairy cow's. In 2015 I think it was, the numbers had basically reversed. The number of dairy cow's has increased since then.

    The beef industry suffers from oversupply. If every lad goes into dairy, and every existing dairy farmer expands, you'll vastly increase the supply of milk. The demand for milk is actually going down thanks to veganism.

    If the number of dairy cow's just kept expanding, eventually there would be an oversupply of milk, and as Mf240 says, the arse will go out of it like it pretty much has done with beef.
     
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  21. Mf240

    Mf240 Well-Known Member

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    The whole hole
     
  22. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    North county cork
     
  23. deere6320

    deere6320 Member

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    Is it actually possible to keep the cows in all year round and zero graze, I was thinking of zero grazing the leased silage ground in early spring and late in the year when my own land would be too wet
     
  24. scoffcruddle

    scoffcruddle Well-Known Member

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    Taken me 18 years to get to 300 high output cows,I’ve only ever borrowed money for land,I would never borrow for buildings do them as and when you can afford,my 32/64 parlour cost me less than £50k but I did do everything myself.

    A new lad who milks 3 mornings a week for me has set up on his own with a new robot and 32 fleck cows,not bad going when he’s not even from a farming background,he did build his slatted tank and shed at weekends himself,where there’s a will there’s a way.

    He did ask me a few weeks back if I thought he was mad.:lol:
     
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  25. AYF

    AYF Well-Known Member

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    Don't worry about veganism.
    50% of the ones claiming to be it will be lying to impress people.
    Most of the others won't make it past a year or two.
    Pretty soon we are unfortunately going to see a rise in health problems like brittle bones in 20 yr olds and a lot of fertility issues.
    Doctors will be on our side soon enough.
     
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