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Contract milking?

Started by rotary50

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  • #1007726

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    I would appreciate anyone’s opinion of contract milking i have entered into an agreement 9 months ago and things seem to be going horribly wrong,my worst nightmare!!!!is any one successfully managing to enjoy whilst on this type of agreement?????

    #1007727

     
    Farmer Dan 6465
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     Could you elaborate on the arrangement, and what is going wrong

    Dan

  • #1007728

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    Well i’m paid per litre but have no control over feeding and was basically told when i entered into it that the cows were fed 8kg as fresh cows weaning down gradually to being 200+days in calf out on grass being fed 3kg at the least but now am being told that because of feed costs they are to rely on grass then as far as fertility goes i started last august and was told there was 12 cows empty out of 230 which i thought wasn’t bad but as i got settled in the number rose to 43 and they were carried into this season so between everything i am losing money big style on a 365 day contract and struggling to pay a relief to come in and cover any time off.I have also struggled with conception rates all winter with it sitting on average 23% so trying to keep the cows from slipping on any further has been a hell of a struggle but it looks like i will have managed to pull the bulk back a month and finished serving 3 weeks earlier than the previous year being the only plus at the moment surely there must be something i can do because technically they are breaking the current agreement.

    #1007729

     
    Farmer Dan 6465
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     Seems to be completely unfeasible to pay you per litre, but not allow you to feed the cows.

    This appears to be a poorly thought out agreement from the start, and it seems that without being able to feed for it, the only way you could increase yields would be to tighten the calving interval, but this can often take years to properly sort out, so 365 seems to be too short – is it a rolling contract?  Granted there are many factors that affect fertility, but the main ones seem to be out of your control – breeding, feeding etc, so I suppose you can only really focus on getting the cows into the best possible condition to keep them able to express genetic potential – simple things like feet.

    How much control do you have over the cows, are you actually just milking them, or are you managing them?

    Also, what Service system are you using – Stock bull, DIY AI, Tecnician, RMS?

    Dan

    #1007730

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    I am supposed to have full control i was brought in to fully manage the cows and the unit really but yet i am being held back on the feeding which to me is the most important factor,we use a technician i do all the tail painting,heat detection and choose the bulls so that side of things is fine and i can guarantee you that i am not only in the game for the money all i want is a fair wage for my efforts,i also manage the grazing platform and i am cuurently weaning them off cake completely but still managing to 22 litres of a kg of cake and the cows are holding their condition but am afraid if weather changes for the worst and when the quality in the grass starts to fall thats when the shit will hit the fan as far as milk in the tank goes,fertility for the coming season and condition of the cows.

    #1007731

     
    Farmer Dan 6465
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     I must be honest, I don’t like the system of paying staff based on litres in the tank, it encourages staff to push the cows hard to produce marginal litres, which is unlikely to be in the best interests of anyone, and I feel that you are stuck in an agreement that may have been destined to fail.

    Looks to me as if it may be the right time to have a chat with the farmer about the direction of the herd.  Try to find out the targets that the owner has for his cows, be it high production, long life, high constituents, good fertility – as you well know, these can drastically change how cows are managed and bred.

    You appear to be in a typical employer/employee situation, with the employer wanting to put measures in place to ensure you don’t mess up, but possibly basing some of these on factors outside your control.  But dairying has so many influencing factors that payment based on performance is challenging to make work in any situation.

    Am I right in thinking there are only 3 months left on the contract? Maybe try and discuss a different method of payment for after the end, Salary, with bonuses for acheiving pre-determined targets?

    I never thought you were in the game solely for the money, if you were you wouldn’t be in farming.

    Dan

    #1007732

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    yes your right only three months left but unfortunately being employed is the only other option because of the new rules with being self employed and working for one employer and farmers don’t like having to pay holiday pay or the contribution as far as national insurance goed all i want is a fair deal because i really enjoy the cows just looking for a fair package to go with it you know.

    #1007733

     
    Farmer Dan 6465
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     Is employment such a bad option?  Surely if you have done a good job over the last 9 months the farmer will want to keep you, farmers round here will bend over backwards to retain a good herdsman.

    The biggest factor in decideing whether you are self employed is risk, and the possibility of ending up with nothing if something goes wrong.

    You appear to want stability, so is self employment really the best option?

    Dan

    #1007745

     
    Rob Drumayrshirebull
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    i fully understand why you want to remain self employed, many owners are looking for an easy option to avoid NI tax complications and holiday pay and it gives you the sense of remaining your own boss and all the power to you.

    the problem i see is that this contract is purely a ppl basis and i doubt if this is a viable long term option, is the owner open to paying an hourly/weekly/monthly rate variable to reflect peak and troughs in work load, and you providing some machinery thus avoiding the ‘employment’ issue. only talking about maybe the quad and trailer, a little electric fencing equip, a quad fert spreader, fairly cheap everyday stuff. what ever route u choose chat to your accountant about your own and the owner’s tax implications.

    #1007734

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    I have 3 offers of other self employed positions but my accountant tells me it is actually looked upon as fraud by hmrc now if you work for the same full time you either have to contract milk and employ your own relief or be employed but the guy i milk for share farms with someone else here and he is 71 so he says employing someone at is age would create too much extra paper work for one as much as he wants me to stay it isn’t an option,and you can have stability being self employed i worked for the same farm for 6 years when mum and dad packed the milking up and was very happy there but they retired and thought i would try my hand at the contract milking but got a very unfair contract in my eyes so wanting stability is the problem at all.

    Matt.

    #1007746

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    I do already run the bike i.e petrol and servicing,and i have supplied my own whoppa foot crush and all tools,so i feel i am doing everything i can but aren’t getting a fair deal in the changes they seem free to make regarding feed rate and milking empty cows for a whole season then trying to get them in calf early in the next season loses me a massive amount of milk it seems unfair to me because if they were replaced with either heifers which we are short of or freshly calved bought in cows then the package would be alot more attractive.

    #1007747

     
    Farmer Dan 6465
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     Do you intend to stay on at the current farm on a different agreement, or leave and go somewhere new?

    #1007735

     
    All I ever wanted was a decent employer!All I ever wanted was a decent employer!
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    If youre not happy there and still want to be self employed, try applying for a position with LKL- Im a herd manager, self employed, LKL, no problems with HMRC, all above board and theres a few hundred doing the same.

    #1007748

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    well i’d like to stay on here but it depends really on what happens in the forth coming months,they are good people but i suppose with them being in a share agreement as well they are on a tighter margin than most

    #1007736

     
    rotary50rotary50
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    ah right yes i have heard of them i have met up with a guy from there called trevor jolley a couple of years ago,the only thing most say about agencies like that and i don’t mean to offend is that they charge the farmer lets say 32,000 for a 300 cow herd but the herdsman may only see 27,000 or less what do you actually get from lkl for that say 5,000 not alot from what i have heard makes you wander if you’d be better off dealing direct with the farm.I don’t have any personal experience with them so thats only what i’ve heard.

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