Newbie in the dreaming stages

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10 years 5 months ago #30302 by meremaiden
Hi all
I'm starting the process of thinking about what I want in a LB, and have realised that as much as I like our current place, we probably can't have what we want here given the limited space 900m2. Right now we have heaps of fruiting trees/bushes (30 in fact) and a veg patch, some chooks.
In our furture LB, we'd love some goats, maybe a few sheep for the occasional lamb, more chickens and possibly for meat as well, and an orchard of lots of different types of fruit. I'd like to be able to grow heaps of fruit and veg and be self-sufficient in that regard (especially the subtropical stuff, so it might mean a move up from Windy Welly)! I'd also like to be able to create our own electricity with wind or solar.
I'm not really looking to farm per se, that is, I wouldn't need to sell what we grow, but of course, I would if we had a huge surplus.

How big a property would you recommend for that? Do most members on here support themselves through their LB, have a day job, are retired, or a mix of all the above?

Thanks !

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10 years 5 months ago #409107 by max2
Replied by max2 on topic Newbie in the dreaming stages
hello and welcome you have come to a great website. Heaps of research for you to do here via the search function...

How best to answer your question though. it seems to me people from all walks of life and income are here. Some are self sufficient as much as they can be, some would like to be and are aiming well for it, and some are still scheming and dreaming as I once was.....

How much land is best? well thats tricky to answer and it depends on what you want to do with it, where you want to be and the climatic zones for that area, is it going to provide what you need whether it be enough water to drive a mini hydro for your electricity or even enough to water your grass and provide for your troughs? Are you going to rely only on tank water (never enough) or have a stream, spring or bore?

Water. Water. Water tis the answer.....

I live near Port Waikato in the North Island and we have about 100 acres and lease another 2 LSB's neighbouring properties. Is it enough? Nah, but its on its way.
Am I self sufficient, definitely not but we are eating our own beef (after being here 2 years but owning the property for far longer), milk our own cows, can usually make enough butter to last a year.

Our vege patch is failing in this mixed weather and we have ''lost'' two locked up paddocks set aside for hay. Last year we produced a bumper crop of tomatoes.... but I am making heaps of plum jam right now!

We have neighbours who moved in about 1 1/2 year ago and i said to them at the time that 3 acres wouldn't be enough for them, they so totally agree now. but its personal, it depends on what you want to do, and what impacts on the region where you want to do it.

Read and research on..... so much to take on board. So many experiences here....

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10 years 5 months ago #409120 by Aria
Replied by Aria on topic Newbie in the dreaming stages
We've got 90 acres - 20 in grazing paddocks - 50 in radiata pine and the balance in bush and stream. We're looking at grid tie hydro but can do wind as an alternate if need be.

We had much the same aspirations you have when we saw the place - and the potential for an income from selling firewood (hard work!), grazing leases for grass in excess of our own homekill stock need (easy work!) and selling possum fur (medium work!) might just get us to that ideal when we can give up the day job.

Meantime though - the expenses associated with equipment and vehicle purchases, property upgrade and maintenance, animal husbandry... and so on (and on...) costs lots!!!!

So, my recommendation - buy near salary-paid employment opportunities for your first LSB because you most certainly will underestimate what initial set up costs are to get to the stage where what the property produces becomes true "self-sufficiency".

Go for it, though, as we love it.

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10 years 5 months ago #409122 by LongRidge
We planted an orchard as soon as we arrived. We have since found that the reason there are not many fruit trees in the close neighbourhood is that the fruit that we planted don't grow well here. The fruit that does grow well in the region is much cheaper to buy than trying to grow our own.
The vege garden is a huge mixed blessing. I can almost grow enough broad beans and artichokes (we don't eat them) and pumpkins. But again, the soil was wrong so after 20 years is starting to come right for veges different than the commercial guys grow. And the veges that I grow all come at the same time. Because The Manager does not do the garden, I often find that she has bought some veges when we have heaps of alternatives ready :-(
The problem with growing meat is that it is absolutely illegal to sell homekilled anything. So if you grow and kill an animal, you have to know how to deal with every part of it, otherwise homekill becomes more expensivethen buying from the butcher/supermarket. Homekilled cattle cost upwards of $6 per kg after you have calculated all the costs, so if you don't know what to do with the chuck, the tail, the offal, and/or the tongue then you have "lost" about 10kg = $60.
We farm 80 acres and have 50 acres of tiger country. Our life "style" costs us about $12000 per year to maintain.

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10 years 5 months ago #409255 by greenfingers
We've got 9.5 acres and are eyeing up the 10 acres next door that's coming up for lease in May. We're putting in more water storage (only got 25,000L tank at the mo, it is no where enough for us and animals!), stockproofing the fencing and putting in stock handing facilities and repairing the barn. OH works full-time and I'm at home full-time with 2 small children, but we aim to both work part time in the future, but at the moment, doing what we have to, to get to our dream goal of self-sufficiency (we're early 30's).

My vege garden is approx 10m2 and I'm currently extending it. My grandmother frequently told me that the family vege garden in Ireland, to support 10 people (6 kids, 2 parents and 2 grandparents) was 2 acres alone, not counting their Orchard!
Our orchard is 180m long x 40m wide and doubles as the chook run.

So, I guess it all depends on what sort of property you buy - one with all the bells and whistles, so you don't have to do any major work, or like us, buy something somewhat rundown because we know how and what needs to be done to bring it up to a reasonable standard.

9.5 acres with 300-odd pines and lots of wobbly fences [:D]

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10 years 5 months ago #409476 by meremaiden
Wow, great responses everyone, thank you. Certainly has got me thinking, much appreciated!

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10 years 5 months ago #409478 by reggit
We have three acres in the Waikato, grows a heap of grass and animals :D - can certainly do a lot with that space when there is a good water supply from the heavens :rolleyes:

Take a break...while I take care of your home, your block, your pets, your stock! [;)] PM me...

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10 years 5 months ago #409479 by Little Bo Peep
Hi there, we have 2.5 acres of pasture and a pond which we dug when we got here because we had a natural swampy bit and a spring going into it. Something to look for when you are on the hunt for land? On Little House on the Prairie when they are looking for a place to set up home Pa says "I'll bet there's water in them there hills!" I now know what he meant. Ponds give a great micro-climate for growing trees, so that's where the orchard is. Also we had a neighbour's lamb drown in our pond so that is now fenced off from sheep anyway and they'd eat the trees too. Then you're left with a heap of mowing, so we got some geese to eat the grass in there. One thing I thought I'd share is that I now would first check a property for buttercup and carrot weed before buying. Carrot weed in particular takes a very toxic spray to get rid of and I don't spray because I'm organic so I have been digging it out and going round with a propane weed burner, weed whacking before it sets seed. It's a whole lot of work! Oh, and budget for sheep yards up front as you'll quickly need sheep to eat the grass and then you'll have some fun times trying to catch them to do their feet and drench etc if you don't have yards. Hope that helps. My sized land is a good intro size I reckon.

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10 years 5 months ago #409533 by igor
Replied by igor on topic Newbie in the dreaming stages
We, like Bo Peep, started off with 2.5 acres. The property was very rundown as the elderly couple we bought it from could not keep it up. The internal fences were all shagged and the boundary fences marginal. That said, if it had not been so rundown we could not have afforded to buy it. That was almost four years ago. Now I have fenced the place to such a standard that I can put stock in a paddock and expect them to stay there and we have purchased an additional 7/8 acre that almost adjoins our main block. With about 3 acres effective grazing plus the house, vege garden, barns, etc. we are semi self-sufficient in meat, milk, eggs, and vegetables. We milk a cow and three goats, and make our own butter and cheese. We breed a few pigs and sheep to have for meat along with the calves from the house cow and any surplus billy goats (wethered).
I have fulltime salaried employment and my wife is fulltime at home taking care of the house, gardens, and four school aged children. I think she works a lot harder than many people with paid jobs.

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10 years 5 months ago #409616 by greenfingers

Little Bo Peep;405620 wrote: Oh, and budget for sheep yards up front as you'll quickly need sheep to eat the grass and then you'll have some fun times trying to catch them to do their feet and drench etc if you don't have yards.


If you're putting in sheep yards, why not go the whole hog and make them capable of handling cattle too, just in case you want to venture down that avenue later? No point in having to build 2 seperate facilities if you don't have to nor if you don't have the land available to have 2 facilities...

If you don't want to do cattle, think about the resale value of having stock-capable handling facilities, if/when you decide that your place is too small and want to upsize? A potential buyer might think twice about buying your property if it doesn't have facilities for cattle even though it ticks all the other right boxes. They don't need to be big facilities, our minimal one has a smal holding pen (holds 2 cattle comfortably, 3 at a squeeze), a crush and a loading ramp.

9.5 acres with 300-odd pines and lots of wobbly fences [:D]

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