2020 Annual Farm Summary

I am unsure where to begin, 2020 was a very different year when you include Covid 19 and 100+ year flood levels on the farm. We had horrible spring flooding that ended up tearing up every single cross fence on the entire farm. It destroyed the sorting areas we had set up in the barn lot and tore out entire sections of fence, washed away two bridges and tore out two culverts. This was a huge blow to our annual summer plans, it washed away the first cutting of hay and left mud and debris all along the entire bottom fields making them not usable for hay. All the hay equipment won’t do any good if there is no hay to cut. Most of our expenses were for gates and fencing to repair the flood damage. As always the IRS is dictating our categories:

INCOME: $10,061

Sheep sold 70 lambs & 28 cull ewes for $5600

Eggs sold $425

Cows sold 8 cows (2/3 of profit) $4036

EXPENSES: $32,565

Truck = $0

Chemicals = $1492 with the wet spring we had to just keep spraying to try and control all the weeds

Conservation = $0

Custom Hire = $0

Depreciation = $0

Animals = $954

Feed = $5800 = cats $171, dogs $545, Chickens $677, Sheep $383, cows $3945

Fertilizer = $0

Freight/trucking = $0

Gasoline/Oil/Fuel = $569, tractor fuel cost $388 using 166 gallons and I only use 5 gallon cans!

Interest on Loan Equip = $0

Insurance = $1947

Rent/Lease vehicles machinery/equip = $0

Repairs & Maintenance = $5420, Tractor $1766, sprayer $400, truck $1574, side by side $ 153, water pump $1400

Seeds/plants = $936, flood washed away most of the seed

Supplies = $14,578, gloves $220, lavender water $798, 10 yds gravel $195

Taxes = $0

Utilities = $50

Vet/Breeding/Medicine = $818

Purchased Animals = $0

Total for 2020 was a loss of $22,503. The flooding cost us about $15,000. It is not covered under our insurance and it needed to be fixed so we can move the animals. We built in break points along the front spring so if it floods again we only have to replace a few posts and nothing else. It would have been a great year without the flooding.

2019 Annual Farm Summary

One of the things I told myself I would do when I started the blog was to be honest about the things that happen on a small farm and why both my wife and I have full time jobs. This year we decided to take the plunge and purchase haying equipment. The real problem with this decision is we have a small tractor and needed micro hay equipment. This is not manufactured in our country, we ended up purchasing equipment made in Italy. I wanted something new thinking that this would cut down my maintenance needs and expenses, time will tell on this decision. I will be sticking with the IRS categories for a farm as that is how my lovely bride uses the categories when she does the taxes.

INCOME total: $7600 from the sale of sheep and cows

EXPENSE total: $64,159

Animals cost $0

Truck & Expenses cost $0

Chemicals cost $0. We did not spray any weeds in 2019.

Custom Hire cost $0

Depreciation cost $0

Fertilizer cost $0

Freight and trucking cost $1916

Equipment cost $33,963

Conservation Expense cost $260

Insurance cost $1655

Vet/Breeding/Medicine cost $332

Purchased Animals cost $0. We did not buy any sheep.

Taxes cost $799

Utilities cost $0

Seeds/Plants cost $702

Gasoline/Fuel/Oil cost $400

Supplies cost $13,367

Feed cost $7306

Rent/Lease cost $924

Repairs/Maintenance cost $2535

Total Income was a loss of $56,559 for 2019. We knew we were going to have to bear a financial burden for the equipment but are hopeful that in four years we will have the equipment paid off and our expenses will drop dramatically for feed.

2020 Chicken financial summary

Finally, I am back in the black! I have made a profit on the chickens for the second or third time since we have had chickens. It has not been easy and our chickens have been especially productive in 2020. We only lost 6 chickens this year which is not very many. I usually lose around a dozen to the predators.

We fed on average 186# feed/month at a cost of $51/month. The real winner here is that the chickens converted only 0.56# food into a single egg at the cost of $0.15/egg. We used 2240# of food to feed 32 chickens that dropped to 26 by the end of the year. We collected 3983 eggs for the year at a cost of $1.83/doz approximately 332 dozen eggs. This resulted in a profit of $425 for 2020.

The 2020 supply expenses were $608, income for eggs sold was $1034 for a profit of $425! The chickens really liked 2020. The real reason for this profit was a friend of mine who gave me a bunch of free unsexed chicks and by the end of the year they started really laying a lot of eggs. I had to thin out the roosters but the mongrel chickens are the best egg producers I have ever had, thanks Scott.

Chicken Financials 2019, finally

Yes, I do realize that this report is a little late. I had plans to post these last year and then just did not do it. I lost money in 2018 on the chickens and was hopeful that I would at least break even. This was not going to happen, we spent $100 on new chicks and they were purchased late so they were not productive this year. If you subtracted the cost of the chicks then we would only have lost $46.85, for a grand total of $146.85 loss for 2019.

We started the year with 20 hens laying and ended up with only 9 laying eggs at the end of the year for a loss of 11 hens. Our productivity was horrible, 32% for the year. We averaged feeding 137#/month of chicken pellets. For a total of 1810 eggs collected for the year, about 150 dozen. My feed costs were $436.85 for the year. This is always raising and feed is the single driving force for cost of chickens. When you add in total costs the average cost of a dozen eggs is $3.58. I sell them for $4/doz so you would think we would make a profit. Unfortunately, we eat a lot of eggs! I still don’t give us financial credit for eggs sold unless they actually leave the farm and are sold. The difference is our consumption. Again, farm fresh eggs are the BEST!

Our chickens converted 0.91# feed/egg laid. The average cost of an egg is $0.24/egg. My hope is that when the babies grow up and start laying next year there will be a profit made! If I can avoid having to purchase chicks that will also help.

Our total expenses for 2019 were $536, with an egg sale profit of $390, for the loss of $146. That pretty much sums it up, another year in the red, but we ate a lot of incredible eggs.

Alpaca self thinned

I had to go out again this morning and run the tractor over the driveway. The snow just keeps coming down, there is over 18” on the ground. I even went down to the pregnant cows and drug a path through the snow to the water and flattened a spot under a tree. They had already knocked down the snow all around the feeder. I went up to check on the upper feeder cows and had to drag a path out to them. They had about 1/3 of a bale so I went out and broke up a bale and scooped it up a few large flakes at a time. I then drove those out to them and tossed them over the fence. When I was cutting open the large bale I discovered that one of the white alpaca had died last night. It was not even frozen or stiff yet, it was curled up sheltered between two large bales. The alpaca are old and we are going to have to look for a few more this summer. So if you know of someone within 120 miles that wants to get rid of their male alpaca we are willing to pick them up and give them a forever home. Unfortunately, we can only take males as we do not want any cria, no baby alpaca! The snow is so deep I was unable to move the body up to the boneyard. I could not even get it out of the field, the snow was just too deep. So I blocked the gate with the body so I will be able to find it when the snow goes away.

I spent the rest of the day trying to get the bathroom wired with our final choices. I installed all of the push button switches and started in on the outlets. I got the lights in but initially had the sconces turned upward. Annmarie came up and looked at it and stated that we had talked about it before and wanted the scones turned downward. So I went back and fixed them and turned them all downwards. They look better turned downwards! I still have three outlets to wire up before I am done in the bathroom. I do need to install a closet light still.

We have had three more lambs born this week. I will have to update the data soon. We tagged the twins, both girls, and turned them loose into the main herd tonight. Annmarie had told me on Friday that I needed to bring the gloves and come to the barn. The Gloves are shoulder length OB vinyl gloves used to be able to reach up inside the sheep and pull out babies. This is never a good sign. Luckily the mother was not in distress so I did not have to intervene. I dread having to use my nursing skills on the sheep.