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Money-saving ideas for life on the farm

Mar 23 2012

High costs remain a worry on many farms, despite improved market returns for livestock.

With that in mind, Welsh red meat promotion agency Hybu Cig Cymru has put together a number of money-saving ideas to help farmers reduce the costs burden.

The ever-increasing costs of fuel, feed and fertiliser are putting a strain on farm budgets and are undermining the positive signals from the market, said John Richards, HCC's Industry Information Officer.

Statistics show that the average Welsh sheep farm covers 99 per cent of their costs. That's why we have put together a list of suggestions on our website to show farmers how they can reduce their overall costs for the benefit of their business.

Many of the suggestions would mean spending some time and money now, but the long term benefits of doing this outweighs the short term costs, said Mr Richards.

Among the ideas are:

  • Replace bagged clover with white clover as a source of nitrogen. Many beef and sheep farms are extensively stocked and may only use 50 - 100 kg N/ha or less. Good white clover content of 20 - 30% can provide 100 - 150 kg N/ha.
  • 20 spent on a soil test may save much more in fertiliser costs or it may identify a deficiency that needs correcting which means that current fertiliser applications may not be effective.
  • When taking on rented grass look at the distance and time it takes to look at stock, etc. Paying a bit more for ground that is more convenient or better equipped may actually be better value than cheaper or poorly equipped land that is further away.
  • Invest in weighing equipment so that liveweight gain can be monitored and provide accurate rationing.
  • Forage analysis costing 20 can save hundreds of pounds in feed costs - or tell you that you need to feed more to get the required performance.
  • Consider rotational grazing of cattle and sheep. Having larger groups of stock that are moved weekly means fewer groups to check, fewer gates to open and gives better grass utilisation and production.
  • Look for bulls with EBVs to give easy calving, especially in first calving heifers.

Further details on these and many other money-saving farm tips can be found in the Hot Topics section of the HCC website - www.hccmpw.org.uk

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