2014 Annual Farm Summary.
FEED: This covers all the chicken food, sheep grain and hay. We purchased 2.5 ton of hay last winter for $500 and bought 1 ton this summer(hay $605)(animals $990, chickens $390). $1380
GENERAL: This covers the fencing supplies, gloves, safety gear, nails, clips, hardware for gates, locks for gates, hinges (labor $ 1475). $4082
EQUIPMENT: This covers pickup repair and upkeep, trailer upkeep, and a new sheep sorting chute system($2791) $3532
VET: This covers Zeke only and his tick medicine. $118
TRACTOR/SPRAYER: This covers the tractor maintenance and fuel, quick hitch for tractor, mule fuel and sprayer repair and upkeep and herbicide (tractor fuel 60 gallons $237, spray $0). $910
BUSINESS EXPENSE: This is for a license renewal, farm insurance we are required to keep now due to number of animals and buildings. $1901
BARN IMPROVEMENTS: This is for repairing the barn. We finished the tin roofing, added the second cupola, I changed the orientation of the milking addition door and started working on the overhead walkway inside in the animal area. I added a window to one of the hay rooms. It is a frosted bathroom window, it lets in lots of light but no focused light so fire is not a problem in the hay areas. (labor cost of $1100) Total $2014
Expense total: $14,197 for the entire year.
That is a pretty accurate number as I was very good about keeping receipts again this year for everything. I may be off a couple of hundred dollars for lost receipts but overall I keep a good filing system and try to get my receipts corralled before they get lost. Our major expenses are starting to dwindle. I do need to purchase a couple units of lumber this year and we need to buy posts and gates for the cow sorting chute system but every year we are getting closer to self sustaining. 2014 was the most money we have made off the farm since we moved. In five years, I see our expenses dropping to around $4000/yr and our income jumping to around $8000/yr. Who knows, maybe the price of eggs will be so high we put in another 125 pullets in the old chicken coop, some solar power to open and close a chicken door and collect 7-10 dozen eggs/day for sale. Time will tell. The old chicken coop would only require a little work and it is almost empty, just a little lumber stored and a little junk to sort. There are always options.
We had to cull one ram due to his rubberband castration not working. Now everyone gets TWO rubberbands to prevent this complication. A coworker came and took him home to the freezer. We did not eat any last year for personal consumption. Depending on how this year goes we may still have some in the freezer this fall. We are now feeding six cows and will be getting three more babies in April. At that time, we will turn the bull in with our two yearling heifers. We would like to get to 10 heifers. The cows eat more than I am calculating so we will have to buy hay to get through the winter. We butchered three cows, ate two for family and sold one for $2.50/lb hanging weight. Their carcass weights were 330#, 342# and 335#. I got the barn roof done! This was a huge undertaking and I am glad it is over. I have one leak on the backside I will crawl up on the roof and investigate after spring and before it is 100 degrees outside.
I want to do some more work on the platform in the barn and pull out four of the jugs. That will leave us with two jugs that I will raise the sides another two feet so no matter how wild the mother there will be no jumping out! This will let me put feeders on the wall where the jugs used to be. This will be needed as we want to jump the sheep up to at least 50 ewes.
Fencing has again become a priority. It never changes. I want to subdivide the lower pasture next to the back creek. I want to replant that 2-3 acre field in Sainfoin. I would like to see how it will grow and it will only cost about $200 for seed. I need to run a fence up the back hillside to add more grazing ground and I would like to divide the back hillside at the apple tree up the hill also. This would allow me to run the bull and cows in the lower pasture and still have to two fences between him and any young heifers. He is a pain in the butt when it comes to finding ways to get to the heifers! This year we want to redo the cow sorting chute system, narrowing the chute and adding two more sorting areas with 8 more gates. It will be a lot nicer. We also want to put a fence across the front hillside by the cars so the cows won’t come down the hillside to the creek. This will also let us tear out the front chain link fence. I will have to do some work on the irrigation pump and retracting sprinkler. Those are the big projects for 2015.