2015 Annual Farm Summary.
FEED: This covers all the chicken food, sheep grain and hay. We purchased no hay this year, we were able to trade our grain hay for alfalfa labor to bring hay in from the field ($350) protein supplement for cows ($433), (animals $472, chickens $554): $1809
GENERAL: This covers the general supplies, gloves, safety gear, nails, clips, hardware for gates, locks for gates, hinges, chicken coop improvements ($58) supplies ($ 789): $847
EQUIPMENT: This covers pickup repair ($300) and upkeep and DMV fee, trailer upkeep, farm dump trailer ($200), new tractor sprayer ($722): $1308
VET: This covers Zeke and Mouse ($97) and their tick medicine and dog food ($247): $344
TRACTOR/SPRAYER: This covers the tractor maintenance($202), tractor repair ($262), and fuel, sprayer repair and upkeep and herbicide (milestone $250, 2-4-D $250)(tractor fuel 30 gallons $138), weed eater fuel ($18): $1120
BUSINESS EXPENSE: This is for a license renewal, farm insurance we are required to keep now due to number of animals and buildings: $895
BARN IMPROVEMENTS: This is for repairing the barn and any improvements. We lined the horse area with tin to prevent cribbing and cleaned out all the recycled lumber from the hay rooms so we could store hay. We also extended the overhead walkway in the sheep side of the barn. Supplies ($415), Labor cost of $740): Total $1155
FENCING: This needed its own category. We have been improving the fencing all over the farm and cross fencing to control our over grazing by the animals. This covers the posts, wire, railroad ties, gates and labor. We replaced several gates and I purchased wire whenever I found it for a cost of ($3032), labor ($650): $3682
CORRAL: We knew a new corral was needed and this was our large summer project. We have a 45 foot chute with three separate corral areas coming off the chute and two internal chute gates. This was a huge project and it works even better than we expected. supplies ($3185), labor ($1250): $4435
IRRIGATION: This covers labor to dig the ditch, equipment rental to dig ditch, pump improvements, sprinkler heads, pump repair. We dug the entire ditch, created a suction pond and installed a new pump platform this year. Supplies ($240), backhoe rental ($250), labor ($695): $1185
ALPACA: This was a learning curve year for us. To shear and cut teeth and cut hooves would cost us $50+/animal/year so this year it would have been $450. We opted to buy the equipment ourselves and teach ourselves how to shear. It was painful for all involved parties but we spent less money. I will get the shear blades resharpened and we should be good. I do plan on building a shearing table. I think it can be done for less than $350. We had to purchase shear blades, tarp, rope, repair the shearer for a total cost: $432
[Total Alpaca lifetime expense is $857]
Expense total: $17,312 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 this year were the fencing and corral. I had a big speech from last year about how I was cutting expenses. Honestly we are getting there. One person can now sort the sheep, one person can sort the cows, one person can feed the animals, one person can take care of the chickens. This has been our goal all along. This year we will get the old tractor up and running so I can get hay from the field with it and just need help loading it into the barn.
We did use two rubber bands on castration and had no accidental rams last year. We killed our ram and will be buying a new one this spring. We have about 13 spring whethers for sale and another 30 lambs this fall. I will be raising the price of lambs to $75/each. The butcher raised his cut/kill/wrap price also but this is still a really good deal on lamb.
We are now feeding eight cows and have two newborn calves less than a month old. We will be getting three more babies in April. Our damn bull got in with the heifers early last year so we are off on our times. One of the babies is the bull’s granddaughter so he CANNOT breed her. We may even sell her at six months for someone else to raise up. I have not checked the gender on the second baby. Its only a few days old. We will be selling two cows this fall (we may eat one!) so that will help also.
I want to do some more work on the platform in the barn, keep extending it. I definitely need to raise the two remaining jug walls another two feet. I said I would do that last year and did not. We wanted to use one of them and the ewe was over the side no sooner than I had the door shut. It needs to happen this year.
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 did not get done last year and I would like to this year. The corral project chewed up a lot of time. The corral turned out amazing and is everything we wanted plus some more we didn’t know we needed. We used one of the pens last month for a newborn calf and her momma for a week and it was great! I did get the front fence up and done last year. This year the big things are to raise and level the old house (shop), then create a single main room and reskirt the building. I also want to create a rock wall along the barn to retain the dirt so it doesn’t wash away. I need to fence off the lower pasture down by the irrigation pump so I can replant that field. My upper prime pasture is looking good. All this spring rain is doing it good. It should be ready by mid summer for the animals to graze on. I need to be careful to not let them over graze it this year. I also want to split the back hillside in two places. Once right behind our house and another down by the apple tree. This would allow me to get some separation from the bull so he would have to go through multiple fences to get to a heifer. This should work to keep him in check.
I have five gates and about 15 railroad ties with all the needed T posts and fencing supplies. I may need to purchase T post fence clips.
It’s going to be an interesting year.