With winter unfortunately just around the corner, many farmers are considering their housing requirements for the winter period.

The cost of renting a shed depends on a number of variables including fodder, labour, machinery running costs with local supply and demand levels also playing a role, according to Teagasc.

Putting a guideline daily charge per head fed depends on:

  • The type of animal being housed?
  • The forage being provided?
  • Is the forage grass silage or maize silage?
  • What quantity of meal is being fed?
  • Is straw bedding included?
  • Are labour and machinery costs included?

Prices will differ depending on the size of the animal, the larger the animal the more spaces it will need and the greater the amount of forage it will consume, if that is provided, Teagasc says.

Shed Rental Costs

The current average cost, including interest costs on the net capital investment, to construct a finishing steer housing space (600–700kgLW), using a combination of indoor and out-wintering-pad costs €800/head, according to Teagasc.

Spreading this cost over 20 years equates to an annual cost of €40, while also adding 10% for annual maintenance cost and a 10% margin for renting the shed, leaves the total at €48/head, figures show.

Based on this, Teagasc guideline shed rental charges per head per day, spread across a 150-day winter, are:

Guideline Shed Rental Charges Source: Teagasc

Guideline Shed Rental Charges Source: Teagasc (* based on 150-day wintering period)

Forage costs depend on the type of forage, grass silage or maize silage, being fed together with the quantity of meal being given, Teagasc says.

Meanwhile, straw can be charged by the bale or on a per head/day basis. If using the per head/day charge the the cost depends on the type of animal being housed and the cost of straw in any particular year, according to Teagasc.

Labour and Machinery Running Charges

A charge must also be included, Teagasc says, where the owner of the shed also provides the labour and the machinery to feed the cattle.

Assuming all of the cattle are housed on slats, and using standard man days to calculate the amount of time involved with feeding, a charge per head/day can be worked out for labour, says Teagasc.

The cost per head/day varies depending on the different hourly rates, with a cost per head/day also included for daily machinery running costs.

These figures are based on the machinery running costs taken from eProfit Monitors on beef farms with a 15% margin also built in, according to Teagasc.

Guideline Labour and Machinery Running Charges Source: Teagasc

Guideline Labour and Machinery Running Charges Source: Teagasc