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Thread: Why?

  1. #1
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    Why?

    We recently had an enquiry to sell a field, it would be used for horses.
    The price would have been very substantial.It made me think somewhat, comparing the return we might expect to get with grain prices as they are nowadays.
    WHY do we farmers keep on farming? Far better, with land prices as they are, to sell up and move to the Bahamas or wherever.
    Especially since we are all classified as subsidised fat cats.
    WHY do we carry on?
    jack caley

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    Re: Why?

    I got told by someone that it is pure greed. Power hungry greed as in this is mine and you can't have it. Mind you it was a person who wanted my field to walk their untrained dogs in.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    WHY do we carry on?
    jack caley
    You know why we carry on Jack. A few days ago I had my quarterly appointment with my dental hygienist. Would you really want any kind of job like that ? Staring into people's mouths all day and then going back home to a house up some street somewhere ? She's private so probably on 40k and I've never taken that kind of money out of my business but I know who's had the better working life.

    I once knew a bloke who bolted wheels on Land Rovers as they went down the track at Solihull. Would you really want a job like that ? All day - all week ? Drive round any town. Would you really want to live there ? And you and I understand and appreciate the seasons. We can smell a charlie when he's made a run through a hedge. We know how to lamb ewes and calve cows. How to set a plough and a combine up. I know how to lay a hedge and know that maple is a big no no in that job and that it's very unlucky to burn elder.

    And my answer to anyone who trots out the sort of comment that Barney had to endure is that 55 years ago I was a farm worker. And by starting contracting on my own with a hard-saved 350 and by working my private parts off I have managed to get on. Firstly by renting a farm, then buying it, then selling it and buying a bigger one, and now with a small one to end my days on. If anyone really wants free reign to walk their dog then get and buy a field of their own. Nowadays most people who see something they fancy automatically think they are freely enitled to it.

    As I get older I realise how extraordinarily lucky I have been. I have seen the best days.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    You know why we carry on Jack. A few days ago I had my quarterly appointment with my dental hygienist. Would you really want any kind of job like that ? Staring into people's mouths all day and then going back home to a house up some street somewhere ? She's private so probably on 40k and I've never taken that kind of money out of my business but I know who's had the better working life.

    I once knew a bloke who bolted wheels on Land Rovers as they went down the track at Solihull. Would you really want a job like that ? All day - all week ? Drive round any town. Would you really want to live there ? And you and I understand and appreciate the seasons. We can smell a charlie when he's made a run through a hedge. We know how to lamb ewes and calve cows. How to set a plough and a combine up. I know how to lay a hedge and know that maple is a big no no in that job and that it's very unlucky to burn elder.

    And my answer to anyone who trots out the sort of comment that Barney had to endure is that 55 years ago I was a farm worker. And by starting contracting on my own with a hard-saved 350 and by working my private parts off I have managed to get on. Firstly by renting a farm, then buying it, then selling it and buying a bigger one, and now with a small one to end my days on. If anyone really wants free reign to walk their dog then get and buy a field of their own. Nowadays most people who see something they fancy automatically think they are freely enitled to it.

    As I get older I realise how extraordinarily lucky I have been. I have seen the best days.
    Wish there was a like button !
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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Exfarmer View Post
    Wish there was a like button !
    Me too.

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    Re: Why?

    Thank you Gentlemen. That is very kind of you both.

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    Re: Why?

    A very good question Jack.

    I wonder if it is because farmers (as a breed) are not sociopaths. Seems to me that many "successful" businessmen are.

    JV
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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    A very good question Jack.

    I wonder if it is because farmers (as a breed) are not sociopaths. Seems to me that many "successful" businessmen are.

    JV
    interesting take - very very interesting

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    You know why we carry on Jack. A few days ago I had my quarterly appointment with my dental hygienist. Would you really want any kind of job like that ? Staring into people's mouths all day and then going back home to a house up some street somewhere ? She's private so probably on 40k and I've never taken that kind of money out of my business but I know who's had the better working life.

    I once knew a bloke who bolted wheels on Land Rovers as they went down the track at Solihull. Would you really want a job like that ? All day - all week ? Drive round any town. Would you really want to live there ? And you and I understand and appreciate the seasons. We can smell a charlie when he's made a run through a hedge. We know how to lamb ewes and calve cows. How to set a plough and a combine up. I know how to lay a hedge and know that maple is a big no no in that job and that it's very unlucky to burn elder.

    And my answer to anyone who trots out the sort of comment that Barney had to endure is that 55 years ago I was a farm worker. And by starting contracting on my own with a hard-saved 350 and by working my private parts off I have managed to get on. Firstly by renting a farm, then buying it, then selling it and buying a bigger one, and now with a small one to end my days on. If anyone really wants free reign to walk their dog then get and buy a field of their own. Nowadays most people who see something they fancy automatically think they are freely enitled to it.

    As I get older I realise how extraordinarily lucky I have been. I have seen the best days.
    Thank you for that comment, it gave a lot of good answers to the question why.
    I could have given many of the answers myself, as I so agree with you.
    There are so many people in this world who never have the satisfaction of seeing an obvious result from their work, like for instance this spring when you look at a crop in a field which this year is exceptional, or in the days when I kept cows, and delivered a beautiful live calf.
    Also the fact that I woke up this morning to see a deer run across our quiet peaceful paddock. It is a privilege to live here, in the farmhouse.
    Maybe that is why!
    jack caley

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    You know why we carry on Jack. A few days ago I had my quarterly appointment with my dental hygienist. Would you really want any kind of job like that ? Staring into people's mouths all day and then going back home to a house up some street somewhere ? She's private so probably on 40k and I've never taken that kind of money out of my business but I know who's had the better working life.

    I once knew a bloke who bolted wheels on Land Rovers as they went down the track at Solihull. Would you really want a job like that ? All day - all week ? Drive round any town. Would you really want to live there ? And you and I understand and appreciate the seasons. We can smell a charlie when he's made a run through a hedge. We know how to lamb ewes and calve cows. How to set a plough and a combine up. I know how to lay a hedge and know that maple is a big no no in that job and that it's very unlucky to burn elder.

    And my answer to anyone who trots out the sort of comment that Barney had to endure is that 55 years ago I was a farm worker. And by starting contracting on my own with a hard-saved 350 and by working my private parts off I have managed to get on. Firstly by renting a farm, then buying it, then selling it and buying a bigger one, and now with a small one to end my days on. If anyone really wants free reign to walk their dog then get and buy a field of their own. Nowadays most people who see something they fancy automatically think they are freely enitled to it.

    As I get older I realise how extraordinarily lucky I have been. I have seen the best days.
    Brilliant answer zaza - thank you

    WH
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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by WoodenHead View Post
    Brilliant answer zaza - thank you

    WH
    Thank you WH. Didn't really know what kind of reaction I would get from that post. Just went off on one a bit.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    Thank you WH. Didn't really know what kind of reaction I would get from that post. Just went off on one a bit.
    When I posted that, I was hoping to provoke discussion, you provided it, thank you. Of course you did not go off on on one, it was brilliant, your comments.
    There are some days when things are difficult, you wonder why, especially when you read about subsidised farmers.Other times, like a good harvest day, with the sun shining, and the moisture content at 15 per cent, then you know why.
    jack caley

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    When I posted that, I was hoping to provoke discussion, you provided it, thank you. Of course you did not go off on on one, it was brilliant, your comments.
    There are some days when things are difficult, you wonder why, especially when you read about subsidised farmers.Other times, like a good harvest day, with the sun shining, and the moisture content at 15 per cent, then you know why.
    jack caley
    Thank you Jack but we do disagree about one thing. In my view farmers are not subsidised, it is the food that is subsidised. The old "Guaranteed Payments" put a floor in the market and worked reasonably well for those commodities that were affected. Then we joined the Common Market and for a while things worked well, again for those producers who were affected. But now it is total bribery. "Don't cut your hedges and we'll give you some money" "Leave a strip round your fields and we'll give you some more money" In the meantime most of the family farms have gone and they were the bedrock of rural life. Full of all sorts of characters and certainly not what we see today if we live anywhere near a conurbation.

    Most of the people who live around me in this village haven't got a clue about the environment in which they live. Do they know what sort of call a charlie makes, can they tell which owl makes what call ? If you told most of them about when the local keeper would give you 2d for a pair of magpie wings they would throw their arms up in disbelief. And you daren't set a necklace for a charlie anymore because chances are that you would catch someone's dog. Just imagine if, as sometimes happened, you caught a billy instead and he had ripped a big hole in the hedge as they did and someone saw it. Your feet wouldn't touch the ground.

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    Re: Why?

    I have been having the same thoughts. Why do we do it? for such little reward and to be the butt of all and sundry.
    I did a back of a fag packet calculation and was shocked that if I were to let out the farm for seasonal grazing (assuming a rent of 50 quid an acre) adding a telemast rent, keeping the SFP (until it expires) and various other bits and bobs of rent I would have between 30K - 40K pa without getting out my bed in the morning. As they say the rest of the day would be mine.
    Makes you think why do we work 60 plus hours a week for SFA.
    I didn't add the income that would accrue from investing the cash from selling my stock. I think that may have been too depressing.
    We as farmers are under rewarded and taken for granted.
    A guy who lives along the road is in IT he couldn't hit a nail into a piece of wood but will be on 100K pa. I would bet that in a couple of days I could make a reasonable go of his job however he would die if he were to try and do mine yet in conversation he will openly be disparaging about my work and intellect.
    Perhaps our reward will come in heaven?

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    Re: Why?

    I do sympathise Lalans but our reward is the here and now but when I was in the thick of it I just didn't realise it. When you've smashed a drum on a combine (twice!!) because you were grovelling about picking up laid corn for people who didn't bother to pick up lumps of concrete that came out of the muck spreader or they have amalgamated two fields but not bothered to pick the duck stones up out of the gateway you get a bit mad and the job is all crap. But then, compared to now, is still infinitely better. People are shooting and stabbing each other somewhere nearly every day now. I am certain that I have never seen any kind of narcotic in my life, they must be a Hell of a thing to resist when you are young or if older and hooked on them. There is little commitment to marriage anymore, more children born out of wedlock than in and that does not not give the stability that is required. Someone has to pick up the pieces when parents split up and if it isn't done when children are involved is it any wonder that they have a greater chance of going off the rails ?

    I am aware that all the above doesn't pay the bills but all I can say is that when I look back I realise how incredibly lucky I have been, I just didn't appreciate it at the time though.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    I do sympathise Lalans but our reward is the here and now but when I was in the thick of it I just didn't realise it. When you've smashed a drum on a combine (twice!!) because you were grovelling about picking up laid corn for people who didn't bother to pick up lumps of concrete that came out of the muck spreader or they have amalgamated two fields but not bothered to pick the duck stones up out of the gateway you get a bit mad and the job is all crap. But then, compared to now, is still infinitely better. People are shooting and stabbing each other somewhere nearly every day now. I am certain that I have never seen any kind of narcotic in my life, they must be a Hell of a thing to resist when you are young or if older and hooked on them. There is little commitment to marriage anymore, more children born out of wedlock than in and that does not not give the stability that is required. Someone has to pick up the pieces when parents split up and if it isn't done when children are involved is it any wonder that they have a greater chance of going off the rails ?

    I am aware that all the above doesn't pay the bills but all I can say is that when I look back I realise how incredibly lucky I have been, I just didn't appreciate it at the time though.
    I agree with every word and would despair were I to be in such a position. However part of the problem is a lack of personal responsibility and personal discipline. Its always some one elses problem/fault/action.
    However it still doesn't detract from the thought that we (average) farmers are taken for granted, over worked and under paid.
    It is said that if you do something you love you will never have done a days work in your life.
    That's how I look at it but just the same I would appreciate a wee bit more cake.

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    Re: Why?

    Yes, what you say is all very true and I agree with it. And when I was in the thick of it I always wanted (and needed !) more cake. And I am aware that just being able to smell the flowers doesn't pay the bills. But for me the alternative was bolting wheels on Land Rovers all day, every day, and I would have gone off the rails in double quick time if I had resorted to that. But I am certain that it is more difficult to make a living out of farming now. I knew quite a few family farms that milked 30 cows but managed to give their children a private education. There just seems so many noughts on the end of everything now. My first new tractor, 55hp, was 1002-19/- (One thousand and two pounds nineteen shillings) or 1002.95p in this new fangled money.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    ... But I am certain that it is more difficult to make a living out of farming now. I knew quite a few family farms that milked 30 cows but managed to give their children a private education. There just seems so many noughts on the end of everything now. My first new tractor, 55hp, was 1002-19/- (One thousand and two pounds nineteen shillings) or 1002.95p in this new fangled money.
    How many fat lambs, cattle or tons of wheat did it take to pay that?

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Paw View Post
    How many fat lambs, cattle or tons of wheat did it take to pay that?
    I am not sure because that was the year I had started contracting and I hadn't progressed to farming, but I think wheat may have been 20/ton but that sounds quite a lot and I stand to be corrected. If I'm correct with that figure it means 50tn to pay for the tractor. 50tns of feed wheat today @ 160/tn = 8000. Of course a 2.5tn/acre crop was a very good crop in those days. But as long as it was 18% moisture it was saleable.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    I am not sure because that was the year I had started contracting and I hadn't progressed to farming, but I think wheat may have been 20/ton but that sounds quite a lot and I stand to be corrected. If I'm correct with that figure it means 50tn to pay for the tractor. 50tns of feed wheat today @ 160/tn = 8000. Of course a 2.5tn/acre crop was a very good crop in those days. But as long as it was 18% moisture it was saleable.
    We bought a Ford 5000 for 1000 which was between 25 and 30 tonnes of wheat, now 100hp tractor would be 300 to 400 tonnes.
    jack caley

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    We bought a Ford 5000 for 1000 which was between 25 and 30 tonnes of wheat, now 100hp tractor would be 300 to 400 tonnes.
    jack caley
    It just doesn't add up does it Jack. Let's say that your wheat yielded 2tns/acre so you needed to grow 28 tns-ish to buy the 5000. That's 14 acres. Let's say that those 14 acres today would yield 56 tns (14x4tns). If you got 160/tn for that wheat you would get a cheque for 8,960. That's nowhere near enough to even buy you a 18hp Kubota mini tractor. And you will have spent a lot more to get that 4tn/ac than you would have done to get 2tns/acre.

    I knew someone who swapped his combine every year for 11 years and it cost him around 100 to get back to new each year. It started with a MH21, then progressed to a couple of 726s, then a few MH and MF 780s, and then some 780 Specials. He said it was the last straw when he had to fork out 350 to swap from his last 780 Special for a MF400 !

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    Re: Why?

    Thank you both. Puts things into perspective when you compare relative values of things. Now, are the products we sell under-valued or the machines and other inputs over-priced? Discuss.

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    Re: Why?

    In my view it's a bit of both. It is in any Government's interest to keep the price of food as low as possible. Imagine how the baying mob would behave on the streets of London if, Heaven forbid, they had to sacrifice some of their luxuries in order to be able to buy food. Look at some of the recent surveys, a lot of them don't know where beef, pork, etc. even comes from.

    With regard to the cost of farming inputs I have a good friend who has just purchased 2 large trailers. Tri-axle, huge great things, 18tn I think. Greedy boards, silage sides, the lot. 60,000 each !!! He farms in a big way round central and Southern Warwickshire but 60k for a trailer !! It isn't as if they've even got an engine ! And it's the same with fert. & chemicals. Prices are geared to what the producers think the market will stand. Remember when Monsanto still had the patent rights to glyphosate. It was very expensive at about 60 for 3 litres if I remember correctly. As soon as the patents came off all the World and his dog were producing it for a fraction of the price. I know that Monsanto will have had huge development costs but they were taking the proverbial initially. I had one customer who insisted that I mix Nitram in the sprayer because there was a story doing the rounds that you could cut the rate if you did that. Ever tried mixing Nitram and water ? Boy, was I glad when the patents lapsed.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by zaza View Post
    In my view it's a bit of both. It is in any Government's interest to keep the price of food as low as possible. Imagine how the baying mob would behave on the streets of London if, Heaven forbid, they had to sacrifice some of their luxuries in order to be able to buy food. Look at some of the recent surveys, a lot of them don't know where beef, pork, etc. even comes from.

    With regard to the cost of farming inputs I have a good friend who has just purchased 2 large trailers. Tri-axle, huge great things, 18tn I think. Greedy boards, silage sides, the lot. 60,000 each !!! He farms in a big way round central and Southern Warwickshire but 60k for a trailer !! It isn't as if they've even got an engine ! And it's the same with fert. & chemicals. Prices are geared to what the producers think the market will stand. Remember when Monsanto still had the patent rights to glyphosate. It was very expensive at about 60 for 3 litres if I remember correctly. As soon as the patents came off all the World and his dog were producing it for a fraction of the price. I know that Monsanto will have had huge development costs but they were taking the proverbial initially. I had one customer who insisted that I mix Nitram in the sprayer because there was a story doing the rounds that you could cut the rate if you did that. Ever tried mixing Nitram and water ? Boy, was I glad when the patents lapsed.
    I was at a conference recently when it was said that the average spend on food, about9 per cent is the same as is spent on telephone and tv.
    jack caley

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by Jack_Caley View Post
    I was at a conference recently when it was said that the average spend on food, about9 per cent is the same as is spent on telephone and tv.
    jack caley
    That's the figure for the US (I posted it recently on another thread) and I expect it would be pretty much the same for everywhere in the western world. Vastly different to the figure of a century ago, I would expect.

    JV
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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by john maddock View Post
    That's the figure for the US (I posted it recently on another thread) and I expect it would be pretty much the same for everywhere in the western world. Vastly different to the figure of a century ago, I would expect.

    JV
    A century ago, the cost of food was about 40 per cent.
    jack caley

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    Re: Why?

    Dear Jack
    I'm afraid to say that your conference speakers data is out of date the latest figures say that food spend is now 7% of the weekly income making it less that the spend on 'entertainment and phones/gadgets'. A sad sad situation. Food is a taken for granted and has no value to the consumer because they now think it is so cheap.
    Actually in reality I think 99% of folk couldn't care less how/why/or where their food comes from. Just look at the proliferation of ads for home delivery of carry outs.

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    Re: Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by LALANS View Post
    Dear Jack
    I'm afraid to say that your conference speakers data is out of date the latest figures say that food spend is now 7% of the weekly income making it less that the spend on 'entertainment and phones/gadgets'. A sad sad situation. Food is a taken for granted and has no value to the consumer because they now think it is so cheap.
    Actually in reality I think 99% of folk couldn't care less how/why/or where their food comes from. Just look at the proliferation of ads for home delivery of carry outs.
    I agree with LALANS; if I remember correctly, a survey some time ago by R. Murdoch's News Corp. found that (provided the food is considered safe) the majority of shoppers will buy on price.
    Agtronix - the home of the Weedswiper

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    Re: Why?

    The Aus. experience of food prices not keeping up with the Consumer Price Index is shown in this graph of milk prices over the last 30 years:

    https://www.farmtender.com.au/primea...ething-changed

    I think I mentioned on another thread the effect that the #2 supermarket, Coles, had on the industry when it introduced a retail price of $1/L milk, but since I don't remember which year it was, I can't say if it corresponds with the sudden drop shown in the graph.

    JV
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