Reap the lifestyle farm­ing re­wards

Im­por­tant facts to en­sure a suc­cess­ful start for a small farm

Real Estate Outlook - - Lifestyle Feature -

So you’ve de­cided to in­vest in a lifestyle sec­tion. There are less cars, less pol­lu­tion, bet­ter eggs and bet­ter meat. You can take time out to watch lambs or calves ca­reer­ing up and down the pad­dock at sun­set. You will get the sat­is­fac­tion of im­prov­ing a piece of land or your herd or flock. Th­ese things take time and ef­fort. Here are tips to make your lifestyle eas­ier: An­i­mals: They de­pend on you for food, health, and safety. It’s im­por­tant to learn about each an­i­mal’s needs. Proper food, shel­ter, and wa­ter are vi­tal and they need to be kept stress­free. Trees are good for shel­ter from sum­mer heat and win­ter’s rain and wind. Binoc­u­lars are handy to check on stock from the com­fort of the house. If you wish to make money by breed­ing and sell­ing stock the per­fect an­i­mal is fer­tile and healthy. Sheep, goats, cat­tle and deer are herd, or flock an­i­mals. Sheep are rea­son­ably easy care but they’re go­ing to need shear­ing, crutch­ing, drench­ing and dock­ing. To farm goats, a sense of hu­mour, the abil­ity to for­give, are a must. Cows need to be milked daily and can be too heavy for soils that are prone to pug­ging. Minia­ture cat­tle are a pop­u­lar choice for small farms. Steers are easy to man­age. Chick­ens lay eggs with rich yel­low yolks, pro­vid­ing break­fast or lunch for the fam­ily. Chick­ens are re­lax­ing to watch as they me­an­der through the yard fos­sick­ing for in­sects. Trans­port around the sec­tion: You can move about rapidly on a mo­tor­bike. Many farm im­ple­ments, such as trail­ers, are de­signed to be towed by a quad­bike. Bike spread­ers are handy for ap­ply­ing urea. You may be able to hire a spreader when nec­es­sary. Trac­tors can be ex­pen­sive and for some jobs, such as hay­mak­ing, you can em­ploy a con­trac­tor. A trac­tor with a front- end loader can be use­ful. Make the most of the dig­ger: While the dig­ger is clear­ing dirt for the sep­tic tank, get the op­er­a­tor to also work on the drive, and farm tracks. Neigh­bours: Get to know them and ex­change phone num­bers. Be a good neigh­bour and be ob­ser­vant. Neigh­bours are like a cross be­tween friends and fam­ily. They are like fam­ily in that you can­not pick them, but like friends in that the only way to have good ones is to be one. So many things could hap­pen that are out­side your field of ex­per­tise. For­tu­nately, there are neigh­bours and lo­cal farm­ers to get ad­vice from, so you are not go­ing it alone. Be­ing will­ing to learn is im­por­tant when adapt­ing to a new lifestyle. At the start there is a steep learn­ing curve. Perser­vere, and reap the re­wards of a won­der­ful lifestyle.

Here are a few tips for buy­ers look­ing for a lifestyle sec­tion. Get all the facts be­fore you buy, and ask for ad­vice. Con­sider your re­quire­ments ob­jec­tively, and be hard-nosed about whether the prop­erty meets them. You should be very clear what you’re look­ing for in terms of lo­ca­tion, price, size, flex­i­bil­ity for the fu­ture and lifestyle. You need to keep the broad pic­ture up­per­most in your mind, and not be swayed by things such as lo­ca­tion or fea­tures that are not ul­ti­mately im­por­tant to achiev­ing your goals. When emo­tion over­rules ra­tio­nal­ity, buy­ers make mis­takes. You don’t want to find out later that your wa­ter sup­ply is re­stricted, or your plans are sub­ject to re­source con­sent. Lifestyle block ser­vices are of­ten avail­able to help you with the big jobs or ad­vice, talk to your agent or neigh­bours to find out if this is avail­able in the area. In some dis­tricts ex-farm­ers spe­cialise in work­ing for the small scale farms. Check the lo­cal coun­cil for de­tails on any prospec­tive prop­erty. Check the con­di­tion and lay­out of fences sep­a­rat­ing ar­eas of land. This will help you man­age your stock ef­fec­tively. Bound­ary fences need to be sound. Sheep, pigs and goats will soon learn which wires are loose. Deer are great ath­letes, and all fences on deer farms need to be deer fenced, and deer gated. Hun­gry an­i­mals can get them­selves into all sorts of trou­ble. Dan­ger­ous ar­eas need to be fenced off. This in­cludes steep banks, and deep muddy ar­eas. If you buy an ex­ist­ing farm then the hard and ex­pen­sive work will be done. This is a com­pletely dif­fer­ent story when you buy bare land. You’ll need to bud­get care­fully and take your time to work out the lay­out of your new farm.

Wa­ter is a pri­or­ity and you’ll need a re­li­able source which is clean and co­pi­ous be­cause of the ex­tra de­mand from the an­i­mals. You will have to en­sure there’s enough wa­ter sup­ply dur­ing the dri­est of sum­mers. Make sure you let your real es­tate agent know what you’re look­ing for. Give them a ba­sic idea of your price range. They will be able to show you prop­erty bound­aries – the ex­act area of land for sale, the gov­ern­ment val­u­a­tion, the rates, knowl­edge of the land, and house wa­ter sup­ply. If you have chil­dren, ask about the lo­cal schools, check the school bus route and other points of in­ter­est. Ask lots of ques­tions and study the pas­ture. An­other great sug­ges­tion is to take your cam­era and shoot lots of pho­tos of ev­ery as­pect. When you’re at home you can look at the pho­tos to re­mind you what you liked and what you may need to think about.

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