Profitably per ewe

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NCSU
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Profitably per ewe

Postby NCSU » Sun Feb 12, 2017 3:07 pm

I know there are many variables between farming operations and prices fluctuate, but what is the average NET income per ewe for your operation? Also, what type of sheep do you raise?

Snuffy
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby Snuffy » Mon Feb 13, 2017 6:39 pm

Good question. I would be interested it that also.

NCSU
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby NCSU » Tue Feb 14, 2017 5:54 pm

We may never know with all this board activity :)

Linda Poole
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby Linda Poole » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:17 pm

Yep, you might not get a lot of buzz on this subject, though over 60 people have read the thread at the time I'm posting this response. My guess is that:

1) Some people might not calculate this figure.

2) Some people might not want to share the number they come up with.

3) Some people might wonder why this number is of interest to you, especially if there's not an explanation of why you asked the question.

4) Some people might consider the question rude.

Though I bet more than a few people would, like Snuffy, you and I, be interested in the answers you'd get.

NCSU
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby NCSU » Tue Feb 14, 2017 6:46 pm

I'm a credit manager at a bank, so I'm a numbers guy. My reason for asking is I am starting a sheep herd and I was curious as to the return folks are able to get. I understand folks not knowing, wanting to share, etc., but figure most would have an idea of their profitability.

Blackshire
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby Blackshire » Tue Feb 14, 2017 11:18 pm

Ok, I'll bite.

*disclaimer* this is theoretical as I have not measured this.

Sourcing the ewe.
I keep my own ewe lambs for breeding stock and only mother raised. I buy in a new ram each 1-3 years for my small operation of 20 ewes max. But, I sell my ram and recover 2/3 cost approx. (this season I bought for $575 and sold for $350. That $225 ram cost can then be averaged across the 2 seasons of lambs I got from him. Maybe 70 lambs so $3-4/lamb. The rest of the cost from sourcing them comes from my existing ewe stock... not sure how to value that so I'll park it there.

Breeding the ewe.
Assuming a well grown healthy ewe lamb above 40kg at tupping, they will be put to the ram their first year.
I aim for a healthy single the first year, and twins each year thereafter. I rarely run them past 7 years of age but may cull earlier if there's issues or if I want to bring new stock in so they make way. Average across my group would probably be 5 lambings. Law of averages has 9 live lambs to sell.

Potential Income
I aim to sell all lambs at 4-6 months of age apart from my keepers and the odd meat animal for my freezer.
Top ewe lambs sell for $180
Top ram lambs sell for $150
Meat lambs are valued at $100

Potential average of the 9 lambs $1420 across 5 breeding seasons. Obviously, some of those ewe lambs will be kept as replacements for my flock as well.

Costs of farming.
Do you own/lease the farm? I live on my property, so I don't factor in mortgage or lease costs.
Do you have to build infrastructure for them? I only require yards, no shelter due to my climate. Yards were existing on the property.
Pasture improvement costs? For me, lime and fertilizer every 2-3 years at a cost of $200/year.
Vets/sheep health costs. Nominal $500/year for my entire flock so $25/ewe/year.
Now factor in Murphy's law on lambing and lambs as you'll invariably loose some.
Do you have to factor in travel, trucking, your time etc?
Do you have a dog specifically for working/protecting the sheep - health and food costs?

Quick rough ball value for me on my farm... each ewe has an average income potential of $1000

If I was to scale up, I could double my operation of my fixed costs and the income per ewe would increase.

John

Hope that may give you some ideas. Like you say, everyone will be different
8.5 acres. 18-20 breeding ewes and 2 rams.
Running Wiltshire sheep of a high caliber and trying to achieve a fully black equivalent without shedding/feet/worm resistance compromise.

NCSU
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby NCSU » Wed Feb 15, 2017 5:34 am

Thank you for your response!

OogieM
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby OogieM » Thu Feb 16, 2017 7:29 am

I calculate it on a profit per acre basis because sheep are replacing other potential "crops". This year we lost money. We bought a bobcat skid steer and that used up all profits plus some of the retained earnings. Profit per ewe is very hard to calculate because we raise all the butcher stock and keep a very large ram bunch compared to the size of the ewe flock for genetic diversity. Plus all my culls are also my prime meat animals. So I go by lumped figures and acres.
Oogie McGuire
Black Sheep Shepherdess

high plainsman
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby high plainsman » Sun Feb 19, 2017 3:51 pm

The answer to your question is a little bit like asking what is the temperature outside. It depends on where you are, time of year etc. In other words it depends.

Perhaps a better way to get the answer you are seeking, is to do a cash flow and balance sheet projection for your own circumstances. A good place to start is use the work books that are available from the Maryland Small Ruminate website. Click on the resources tab and it will take you
to excel spreadsheets that will help you project feed needs and costs, (which in many operations are the largest single annual expense). There is several business model spreadsheets to help you project or plug in actual costs including feed cost, capital improvements, vet costs, dog expense, labor (be sure to account for both hired and your own labor as an opportunity cost) death loss, sales etc.

While this can give you profit per ewe, I believe it would better serve you to look at whole farm profit. The reason being, you could have an actual large profit per ewe, but you may better off to have a smaller profit per ewe, but more ewes.

Remember that just looking at one year of numbers can be very distorted. For example last year I was paying close to $200 a ton for excellent hay. This year I was paying $90 to $125 per ton. So it can vary a great deal from one year to the next.

WayneG
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby WayneG » Mon Feb 20, 2017 7:35 pm

Depends on how far you take the situation, depreciation on fence, building, machinery, capitol improvements, labor expense ($10 hr to $20 hr), personal property tax, real estate taxes, work clothes, trucking, shearing, vet, wool sales. When I figure everything I think of- it is a loss. If you look at cash flow, ignore a lot of the stuff I listed, I have lost a few dollars to clearing a small profit, less than $100 a ewe. Now you factor in a 125% lamb crop instead of your normal 180%, things go south in a big hurry. This year will not cash flow any way you cut it.
Wayne G
The Lord is my Shepard, I shall not want.

Snuffy
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Location: Moulton,Alabama

Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby Snuffy » Wed Feb 22, 2017 9:41 am

I really enjoy working with livestock BUT the bottom line is if I can't make money then I might as well rent my pasture land. I don't count barn, fences, equipment or taxes and insurance. I need that just to maintain my farm sheep or no sheep. I count the cost of buying sheep, feed, hay, vet cost, fuel cost, and any maintenance and improvements that are directly related to the sheep. I do count labor mine and any hired help. In my opinion you can't operate a farm just for the tax break or you will always lose money. You have to run your farm like a business to be profitable.

NDCurt
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby NDCurt » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:27 pm

A couple ASI resource items dealing with costs etc

https://d1cqrq366w3ike.cloudfront.net/h ... %20Low.pdf
Cost of Production Worksheet.xls

NDCurt
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Re: Profitably per ewe

Postby NDCurt » Thu Feb 23, 2017 12:30 pm

Worksheet didn't copy the file but is available on the following page.

http://sheepusa.org/ResearchEducation_O ... ctionStudy


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