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Eryl Vet Profile
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Ex97
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


Lies, damned lies and statistics...

24 votes now, of which, to simplify:

42% are positive (very,moderately confident, wish were back in)
33% uncertain
24% negative

The poll seems to have swung towards the more positive responses ... albeit when you consider that most of the respondents (i.e. cowtalkers) will be true dairy enthusiasts ...then a 57% level of negativity/uncertainty among such a subset looks depressingly negative.

Its good to see there is some positive thinking going on out there nonetheless !!

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4/1/2009, 23:00 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
FiringOnAllFour Profile
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


quote:

bauldy wrote:


I agree with you eryl vet, uncertainly seems to be popular ,but, there are positive signs for the agricultural industry as a whole. The news headlines are very negative just now and it is not fashionable to be optomistic but during the last 3 UK recessions interest rates were sky high 1975,1980,1990(but not now) inflation occured at each recessionary period (but not now) . The pound is low against the euro so we should be able to export,also our SFP payment will be bigger (if the pound stays low) More unemployed people should mean more labour available at economic prices. Buildings and improvements should be more competatively prices because the construction industry needs the work.
Its easy to be negative and I could list a few negatives but I won,t cos i'm an eternal optomist. I'm a farmer !!



I agree about interest rates. We are going to have relatively little interest payments to throw against the profit that we won't be making. It isn't actually tangible either, as far as we're concerned. Its just shortening the repayment period. Monthly payments remain the same. Still, better than high, nonetheless.

Construction labour might be cheaper, but materials not noticeably so.

There will be more unskilled (dairy unskilled, that is) labour available; not necessarily anyone who knows what a dairy cow is.

The exchange rate is indeed in our favour for exporting, and you well know what value exports are returning right now if you look at the udf auctions. I suppose what you mean is, isn't it a good job the auction isn't 13p? Count your blessings, eh? It could be worse.

As for SFP, at lot of water will have passed under the bridge by september.

When we get through this year, we may face a gradual descent into chaos as the quotas increase across the EU.

I see a very small glimmer, and it comes in the form of EU intervention in march. Apparently worth 18ppl.










Last edited by FiringOnAllFour, 5/1/2009, 1:02
5/1/2009, 0:59 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
Eryl Vet Profile
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


quote:

FiringOnAllFour wrote:

There will be more unskilled (dairy unskilled, that is) labour available; not necessarily anyone who knows what a dairy cow is.




In my opinion labour will be a major factor on many dairy farms. After a decade (1997-2007) of dairying being in the doldrums, there is now a real shortage of decent skilled labour. many of the Eastern European workers that came over unskilled and have gained experience on british farms are now going home because of the weak pound. Most of the unemployed would rather take dole money than work the unsociable hours of a dairy farm. Those unskilled that do try their hand are often more of a liability than a help and require constant supervision.

The skilled labour that is out there can cherry pick the best positions in terms of pay and accomodation. I would guess that many of the more confident farms would be those with either plenty of family labour, or with stable, longterm employees.



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5/1/2009, 13:00 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
ExpectingRain Profile
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


quote:

Eryl Vet wrote

The skilled labour that is out there can cherry pick the best positions in terms of pay and accomodation. I would guess that many of the more confident farms would be those with either plenty of family labour, or with stable, longterm employees.




I voted for Option 6 in a fit of pique at 5.30am on Saturday morning after working Christmas Day, Boxing Day and New Year's Day for over 15 years on the trot, the last 8 completely on my own. I am lucky enough to have a very stable, very longterm (32 years and counting) employee, but he only milks cows under sufferance and certainly not on Christmas Day. Looking around here I think that labour is going to become a huge issue on family farms because the generation below me (I am 43) are just not prepared to put in the hours required by dairying, and I would be the last person to hold that against them.



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5/1/2009, 22:36 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


When my father was going full tilt, and I was not yet on the scene, he employed two men - one for machinery and fixing etc, one for milking and stock.

He only had two machinery men - 20 years and 17 years each, I think.

He had a new dairy man, almost without exception, every two years. The hours were long, including milking every other weekend. Some were ambitious, going to manage herds in Saudi. Others went home to the family farm. I think all probably felt the pressure of his relentless attention to detail.

But thats the only way to make cows pay. Lets face it, theres an easier life than being responsible for milk cows.

This trend could well be irreversible. The skill pool is just going to keep shrinking.



5/1/2009, 23:14 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
Eryl Vet Profile
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


quote:

FiringOnAllFour wrote:

He had a new dairy man, almost without exception, every two years. The hours were long, including milking every other weekend. Some were ambitious, going to manage herds in Saudi. Others went home to the family farm. I think all probably felt the pressure of his relentless attention to detail.

But thats the only way to make cows pay. Lets face it, theres an easier life than being responsible for milk cows.

This trend could well be irreversible. The skill pool is just going to keep shrinking.






The average herdsman only lasts four years in the UK, but I know many farms where the turnover is much greater than that. Once the longstanding herdsperson retires or leaves it is increasingly difficult to get good stable longterm replacements. One farm had 20 herdspeople in 2 years, then sold up. People management is critical to getting the standards you need - badger an unskilled, unmotivated employee to perform better and they just walk out...

Like ER I find Christmas and the New Year frustrating ... we have just had our sixth year without decent labour over this period. Add in the option of an alternative professional career (return to full time veterinary work) and it becomes even more difficult to remain positive about dairying with uncertainty returning to the industry.



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6/1/2009, 3:24 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
FiringOnAllFour Profile
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Ex97
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


quote:

Eryl Vet wrote:
People management is critical to getting the standards you need - badger an unskilled, unmotivated employee to perform better and they just walk out...



Good motivation skills are vital indeed. However, when they still fall short of your standards, you may be left with no choice but to drop your standards or let them go. So, compromise, or do it all yourself. Those of us who employ one full time person are in a vulnerable position, because if he goes, he takes 50% of the workforce with him. Not many businesses can operate with 50% labour.

6/1/2009, 11:11 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
Eryl Vet Profile
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Ex97
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


quote:

FiringOnAllFour wrote:

quote:

Eryl Vet wrote:
People management is critical to getting the standards you need - badger an unskilled, unmotivated employee to perform better and they just walk out...



Good motivation skills are vital indeed. However, when they still fall short of your standards, you may be left with no choice but to drop your standards or let them go. So, compromise, or do it all yourself. Those of us who employ one full time person are in a vulnerable position, because if he goes, he takes 50% of the workforce with him. Not many businesses can operate with 50% labour.




I know just how vulnerable it is to be in that position ... and one has to make the choice whether to grit one's teeth and cope with a less than adequate employee, or manage with 50% labour which can be even more of a disaster.

Andrew R quotes a British farmer in this month's HI ' we can't even hire bad lour around here'



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6/1/2009, 12:25 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
Hen Harrier Profile
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


I advertised for night milkers last september in our local paper. I got 25 replies of which only 4 had milked before. However i ended up employing 2 guys one of whom grew up on a dairy farm but whose carreer had followed a different path until he was made reduntant. The other is a chef looking for a carreer change. He had never seen a cow before but was milking alone within 2 weeks. There are intelligent people out there with mortgages to pay and willing to try anything, don't write them off just because they haven't milked before. Our 2 guys are excellent so don't give up all hope.
6/1/2009, 16:39 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 
bauldy Profile
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Re: Poll: Dairying plans for 2009


That is a good point HH . If you employ an enthusiastic reasonably intellegent person who knows very little about dairy cows you can at least get someone with no bad habits in the parlour. Although, saying that the person must be reliable and that can be a problem ! Will they turn up for work every morning at 4.30 am !
 I suppose it depends on how badly they need the money!
It just may be the case that in a recession people may need that money quite badly !!
6/1/2009, 18:28 Link to this post PM via Email   PM via Forum
 


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