Monday, June 30, 2014

Reducing costs in beef sector

Practical solutions to cost problems in beef sector

On today's BBC Farming Today programme (Monday, June 30, 2014), presenter Charlotte Smith talks to Professor Liam Sinclair from Harper Adams who makes some interesting points:

1. There's a wide gap in efficiency between the top third and the bottom third of beef and sheep producers

2. Capital costs are very variable between farms

3. Some beef and sheep farmers weigh stock infrequently. "If you can't measure it you can't manage it"

Some effective solutions built in the farm workshop 

Specialist equipment can add significantly to the costs of production for low margin enterprises such as beef and sheep. Some farmers get the penny and the bun by making long-lasting, durable equipment in their own workshops.  

A. Mobile handling with incorporated weigh crush. 

Driving cattle from grazing land to the handling facilities in the yard is takes time and effort. Yet a
mobile system set up in the field is expensive. It's yet another new piece of kit which adds to costs and the farmer has done without up to now. It's a luxury he often can't afford. Issue 20-4 and others

Why not make your own? We have featured a number of projects. One is built on the chassis of a rotted-out Rotaspreader, another on a trailer in similar condition, and a further one, which will hopefully be in the next issue of Practical Farm Ideas, made using the frame of a HiSpec feeder. They workk in different ways and so the construction costs vary, but are typically a tenth of the cost of a new one. 

B. A mobile in-field calving pen. 

This simply built pen stays in the grazing field with the cows. It enables the farmer to isolate, secure and treat an individual cow without handling the herd. Very useful for calving, as the calf can be pulled in good time. This saves the lives of both calves and cows because they get attention while they are still on their feet. Use it to treat other problems like the odd eye infection, foot problem etc.   

C.  Sheep lambing rack. 

Tie the ewe which is having problems lambing to this frame which tilts her, and you can more easily manipulate the lambs. Saves emergency trips to the vets, saves lambs and ewes...  made in the workshop in an evening or two. 

Practical Farm Ideas - 'The Keep-it-Simple Guide to Profitable Farming'
Built on a stretched rotaspreader chassis the mobile crush cost less than £1,000 to build. 

LIVESTOCK EVENT. I will be going, hopefully on Wednesday, but don't have a stand.  If you want to meet, please call/txt mobile 07778 877514. 

Mike Donovan
editor, Practical Farm Ideas
11 St Mary's St, Whitland, Carmarthenshire, SA34 0PY  T: 01994 240978
28 Brampton St, Ross on Wye, Herefordshire HR9 7EQ   T: 01989 218268

T:  01994 240978       M: 07778 877514   Twitter: @farmideas    

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