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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 05:45 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Damian wrote:
Farmers lose crops. It just happens sometimes,

It does happen, it doesn't just happen. Like I said if you lose a crop something has gone seriously wrong. Sometimes it may be something you can't control and couldn't have fixed even in hindsight but often in AQ, HP and AP it is something that the farmer should have done better. Not always, but often.

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If your product is more cost efective you will find a buyer and contracts are about reliability not size, good people stick to contract once it doesn't kill them. That's just the way it is.

That may be the way it is in Barbados it is not the way it is in Australia. There are many incidents where farmers have been told they need to renegotiate their contracts when prices fall but they are not allowed such lee way when prices rise.

In Australia insurance is becoming a much better risk management tool than supply contracts.

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Automating the fish side is not impossible, but best done after you work out how much fish you will be producing.

What do you mean by automation?

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Which brings me to the next step. How do you size the upgrade of the system? Seems like the guy that planned ahead and built the backyard system in such a way that expanding was easy would be better of. But most may have to completely rebuild. Lots of options for your start point for sizeing.

1 plant output.
2 fish output.
3 cost of system and running cost.
4 available land.
5 available labor.


You need to know a lot more about system design and operation before you can have a useful discussion about upgrade and expansion. How can you sensibly discuss how to upgrade a system when you haven't done some of the basic research on how to design a system?

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 07:58 
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Thanks for the Great Reading Guys. I guess we all have our own opinions in this field and it is all about the experiences we learn and the failure points of other peoples ideas plans that we hear about on here, unfortunate but needed if we are to learn and enjoy more of what we do...
I agree most people don't start up thinking about making money out of a system they just want to see if what they are hearing about AP is correct and to see if they can produce food for themselves or their clan.. (Human survival Gene)
This thread was started to discuss the Economics of making a business and Money out of your interest..
""Find A Job You Love Doing & You'll Never WORK A Day For The Rest Of Your Life..""
I think for people that Start in AP then want to expand or they want to make a Heap of Money is to have a Module System... a Small system that can be Copied and Pasted Next to each other and Joined up to each other as either you want to grow or business needs to expand... This being said you would also a safety/backup system of having different systems In case of a failure/disease, etc (Justin comes in handy). Each system could comprise of 3-4 Modules..
So in my findings a System Cost approx. Wholesale Pricing
Fish Costing $0.05-.50 per litre depending on fish Heating/cooling conditions needed
Capital Cost - $1 per Litre (includes Tanks, Plumbing, Pumps, Clay Balls) 30,000 Litres = 30,000 Dollars This has a 25-30 Life Span so Only $1000 per year + Replacement Pumps/piping
Electrical costs would vary due to Size of System... ie my larger system of 30,000 ltrs used roughly 150 watts p/Hr
150x24= 3600watts total p/d 3.6Kw @26cents-33cents p/Kw = 90 cents to 1.20 per day to run & oxygenate
"So if you went off grid with the system that would also be under what you pay just to have the power connected normally"
Instant Water would also cost differing amounts but not really a great deal in the scheme of things
Covering your System would be the other big expense of your System, This You would have to have for a much Better Return in Cropping/bug/disease protection. @ roughly $5-7 p/sq.mtr (including Posts, Wire & Cloth/Plastic)
My 30,000 ltr module covers approx. 14mtrs long/wide x 7 wide/long = 14x7= approx. 100sq. mtrs...
So once my New system is up and Running I am doing a running total of Costs/expenditure and I know I will be able to make some money out of it as well as supplement our food needs...
as you have read I call my 30,000 ltrs a module as I have plans to expand at a later stage once income allows.. Stay Posted...
As is in Real Life Commercial/Small Business start off Small and Grow when you can - Also 80% of small businesses die in the first year :( not enough researching :)

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 08:18 
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Seriously, this cant be healthy.
Seriously, this cant be healthy.
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Double Decker wrote:
I think for people that Start in AP then want to expand or they want to make a Heap of Money is to have a Module System... a Small system that can be Copied and Pasted Next to each other and Joined up to each other as either you want to grow or business needs to expand... This being said you would also a safety/backup system of having different systems In case of a failure/disease, etc (Justin comes in handy). Each system could comprise of 3-4 Modules..

This strategy has been tried over and over and over again and no one has found a way to make it work.
Building small modular systems exposes every aspect of your build to seriously large adverse economies of scale.

I think your costings for a commercial system are more than a little off. For starters you have not taken any account of scale. I can buy a pump capable of 20L/s for ~$3500 I can buy one that can do $60L/s for about $3900. A control system required to safely monitor and control a sytem capable of producning 6t of fish per annum costs almost exactly the same as one capable of producing 60t per annum.

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Covering your System would be the other big expense of your System, This You would have to have for a much Better Return in Cropping/bug/disease protection. @ roughly $5-7 p/sq.mtr (including Posts, Wire & Cloth/Plastic)

Your market may be different but in Australia the commercial cost of covering a poly house is about $15/m2, materials and labour. You need to factor that the covers will need to be changed once every couple of years. That is just the covers. Factor in the depreciation of the frame plus any climate control components. Not cheap.

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As is in Real Life Commercial/Small Business start off Small and Grow when you can - Also 80% of small businesses die in the first year :( not enough researching :)

Starting small is one of the most risky strategies to establish a business. Particularly in AQ, HP and AP every where you turn there are economies of scale that are just waiting to stomp on you.

This might not be a problem in Barbados but it seems to be a big problem in the US and here but small scale farmers in addition to all the physical economies of scale have a proportionally massive burden of regulation. The compliance costs for a small operation basically exactly the same as a large operation.

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 08:28 
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I have a 5000 litre tank , it costs me money frequently on my system when I plant an modify it, I never started small I brought this tank an setup straight away.
I do aquaponics because I love fish and enjoy gardening an it's an awsome hobbie..

So the theory isn't correct I guess.
And I'm happy with what I'm doin

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 16:32 
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Damian

The reason I have not seriously contributed to this is as I have said before 'I couldn't sell cheap cold beer on a hot day in WA' ie I have not a commercial mindset and don't give a rats ass about profit (That's RAAP rather than ROI).
Stuart's etc commercial opinions are based on a very large country with shitloads of growing space and a market dominated by an almost monopoly on food and controlled by a very few companies. The advice they give you is for the most part good (but coloured by their perceptions of life).
This is getting too iffy; but if I was in Barbados and wanted to make serious money out of agriculture (I know this is not you :) ) I would be growing tobacco. :drunken:

Stuart

Double Decker is from NSW.


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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 17:04 
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Covering your System would be the other big expense of your System, This You would have to have for a much Better Return in Cropping/bug/disease protection. @ roughly $5-7 p/sq.mtr (including Posts, Wire & Cloth/Plastic)

Your market may be different but in Australia the commercial cost of covering a poly house is about $15/m2, materials and labour. You need to factor that the covers will need to be changed once every couple of years. That is just the covers. Factor in the depreciation of the frame plus any climate control components. Not cheap.

I Made a complete 20 mtr x 7mtr Hothouse with commercial poly and plastic lined floor then weedmat over top for a total of $1300 everything was Brandnew
I Buy Wholesale Shade cloth with a 10 year Commercial guarantee etc. for $3.00 p/m when Bunnings/Hardware sell it for $15-17 and doesn't have that life span, so it is worth the $300 to start a business name over here to get everything half price or less, as for the labour, I don't pay anyone to do the work I have the ounce and oomph that needs doing. I will be happy in life to make a profit just to pay the bills/ mortgage and stay at home with the kids if I wanted to make serious Dollars I would go back to driving cranes/Rigging and earning over $100k p year for not a great deal of effort.... But I love being with the Kids Gardening and the fish So that means I have a successful business if my family/work life balance is how I want it but enough of hijacking your thread sorry but I will post all expenses & income plus kg of food produced Hopefully I remember to post regulary ;)

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 17:26 
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Sleepe wrote:
Stuart's etc commercial opinions are based on a very large country with shitloads of growing space and a market dominated by an almost monopoly on food and controlled by a very few companies. The advice they give you is for the most part good (but coloured by their perceptions of life).

You have to know your own market. Even within Australia there are some pretty significant price differences between the cost of building materials, supplies and the prices you can get for produce. I've always advised Damian to know his market way back when he first started talking about building systems form shipping containers.

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Double Decker is from NSW.

Opps, but in that case his costings are way off.

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 19:29 
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A couple questions...

Damian- What do you think is an acceptable amount of income per year in your area?

Everyone else: how much does a "commercial operation" need to make per year to be considered commercial? 50,000? 100,000? 1million? What's the magic number?

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 20:47 
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30k us ent bad for a small farmer. Its more about a steady income rather than lump sums though. In tress on credit can eat up all your earnings if not paid on time.

Commercial means that all the labour involved in the operation is paid for by the said operation. Total sales are not a good indicator.


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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 21:07 
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I'm talking yearly profits Damian, not sales.

How much do Tilapia sell for over there? How much do you pay per pound for fish feed?


The reason I ask is because a typical US Tilapia farmer needs to produce near 1 million pounds annually to earn an income of 50k-75k per year. Less than that and you can't compete on a wholesale market and have to sell "locally". You can only move so much locally but being on an island may present you with a unique opportunity.

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PostPosted: Aug 27th, '15, 21:16 
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And when you say 30k ain't bad for a small farmer, do small farmers live comfortably? Take farming out of the equation, what's the number to have a comfortable living where you're at for the rest of your life?

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PostPosted: Aug 28th, '15, 13:34 
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Here a small farmer at his most productive and no crops stolen can make a descent living. As in upper middle class. Most islanders get by with around $200us a week.

Knowing your market is the hard way out, I say get unit price lower than the other guy with same or better quality and be dependable. That's the way home.


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PostPosted: Aug 28th, '15, 20:06 
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Hey Damian, I post this as an indication of how the establishment see things in Australia. It is the official 'test' for commercial versus hobby under Australian Law (as determined by the Australian Tax Office) and quoted as the basis for many regulations (including whether AP is hobby or commercial for what its worth).

It has some lovely bureaucratic touches but the odd pearl of common sense as well. Maybe you put something like this on a scale of 1 to 10 with each item heading at either end.


Attachment:
Defn-Hobby-CommercialActivity.GIF
Defn-Hobby-CommercialActivity.GIF [ 48.23 KiB | Viewed 2311 times ]

[disclaimer: it comes from the DAFWA guidelines for primary producer status, which ultimately underpin some sections of the Fisheries Act in WA. I moved some text from bottom to top to make it fit ' "When is a small farm considered a business?" www.agric.wa.gov.au]

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PostPosted: Aug 29th, '15, 02:59 
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Why are you not doing this for a living then D? That seems like an EXTREMELY EASY number to obtain?

You need to focus on high end restaurants, hotels, etc not the neighborhood. Change your strategy... Produce something impeccable and better than everyone else... And charge more.

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PostPosted: Aug 29th, '15, 03:01 
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How much of the countries vegetables are imported? I'll bet the hotels import 95% or better... You need to seriously reevaluate your market and where the money is. I have a customer I used to work with in Barbados and know just from those discussions that you can do much better than what you currently are

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