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rio666uk

Advice Please re. Farming Isaan Land

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Hi all, Im brand spanking new to this forum and have been reading with great interest about farming Isan land.

My wifes family are currently planting rice but have asked if we would like to do something with 30 rai that is currently unused.

They originally asked for us to finance a Eucalyptus Plantation, they favoured this as most of the villagers that grew Euc's before have now turned to Rubber Trees - thus creating a fresh demand for Euc's. After reading previous strings on this forum it seems clear that Euc's have some definate impact on the immediate land. The land is, apparently too high, to hold sufficient water for rice crops.

Can anyone give me a clue as what may be the way forward to use this land, Euc's, Rubber, other crops or even something such as livestock or fish farming.

Any ideas gladly welcome. Regards

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Well it all depends on if you want to invest in the land. Just growing crops will give you a samll profit pre anum. If you want to increase the potential profit you really have to do some investment .. water supply, fish pond, buildings for livestock ect.

Eucalyptus is really bad for the soil as it sucks all the nutrients out, and the return is not that good either, I think it was about 3000 bhat a ton around here and you would still have to wait a long time for your money. The advantage of it is that it takes virtually no looking after which makes it popular with "absentie landlords". Usually the easier it is to grow and look after the lower the profit.

Sugar cain might be ok- low mantainance, not that sensitive to rainfall, and once you plant it it lasts for about 4 years- about 3-4000 a rai profit a year..

We are doing penuts this year, I've been told the profit is very good upto 7000 bhat a rai for 100 days, you can grow all year if you have irrigation, wey season the profit is lower as anyone can grow it.

Maize about 2-3000 bhat/rai profit 3 months growing but you can only get one crop in, you have to plant something like sunflower or sorghram after as it needs less water but only gives you about 1000 bht/rai profit. People do cotton and soya around here as well but I dont really know much about that.

Fish can be good if you know what your doing and have the ponds dug for free (you have to give them the earth). If you have to buy fish food it can be expensive and its difficult to do on a large scale.

Beef cattle are steady with quite good returns and minimul capital investment for buildings (when compared with chicken,pork or dairy). There are a few threads talking about charolaise in thailand. You have to know the market though, how much to buy for how long to keep them and how much to sell, I deal with cows all the time but still am not that good when it comes to costing beef.

Chicken is problamatic due to the outbreaks of chicken flu, but the banks still love them as they see their money as being safe as it is spent on buildings rather than livestock. Most people doing chickens are tied into the big aggro companies Cp, Sara farms, Betago. They have their own vets, will help with loans ect. You dont buy the chickens but just keep them for 45 days, they weight them into you and then you weigh them at the factory when you send them back and you get paid for the weigh increase. You dont really have to know much about chicken farming to start on as the companies provide advice on everything which you HAVE to follow.

Pigs are taking off in a big way around here with the banks throwing money at prospective pig farms. There are two types one you just raise baby pigs, the other fatten them for meat. The big pig farms are run along the same as the chicken farms and controlled by the big agro companies.

Dairy is good but takes a fair bit of investment if you want to do it, the banks dont like giving money to help you out as most of the cost is in the livestock. You can probably build a small (10 stall) milking palour, barn, feeding station with machinry for around 300,000 that would do you for up to 20-30 cows.

You can expect about 2000 bhat profit (after feed costs) per milking cow. You have to "dry" the cows off 2 months before giving birth so you can expect around 20% not to be milking. Then you have staff costs electricity ect but the food is the bulk of the expence.

A decent milker will set you back about 30-45,000 bhat a head and you have to bear in mind that nobody sells their "good" cows without a good reason. A milker here will be good for about 10-12 babies and can be sold after for meat (15-20,000 depending on the size)

It takes anything from 2-3 years for breed a decent milker and you end up paying out a fair bit to feed all the calfs as your heard will increase by about 50% per year, its just you have to wait 2-3 years before you see any return off them, when they start coming through its good, next year I should be getting about 3 new milkers a month just from the calfs maturing, giving me the option of selling off some every month or increasing the size of my heard.

A bit brief on every thing but hope this helps, I'm not in Issan by the way but the info should still be relitive

Cheers RC

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Thanks, thats a lot of help, I will go away and think about these options. Im not even in Thailand at the moment which is why your comments are very much appreciated.

peanuts eh.....

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I dont think I'll be anywhere near the 7000 bhat I mentioned profit/rai for peanuts as the guy who told me this only has about 4 rai, irrigated so he can sell out of season, they do everything them selfs so dont have labour costs and he keeps some peanuts back for re-seeding so he does'nt have to buy seed. It's still supposed to be pretty good though and tthe left over plant is excelent food for the cows... I'll let you know in about 2 months

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Brilliant stuff by RC above - please put it on your blog - which i'll bookmark.

It's like The Archers !

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Pigs are taking off in a big way around here

gosh !!

pigs really can fly then ??

must be some serious profit there !

Edited by taxexile

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Eucalyptus is really bad for the soil as it sucks all the nutrients out, and the return is not that good either, I think it was about 3000 bhat a ton around here and you would still have to wait a long time for your money. The advantage of it is that it takes virtually no looking after which makes it popular with "absentie landlords". Usually the easier it is to grow and look after the lower the profit.

Another post suggested that eucalyptus went for about 800 baht per ton. What do you think?

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Eucalyptus is really bad for the soil as it sucks all the nutrients out, and the return is not that good either, I think it was about 3000 bhat a ton around here and you would still have to wait a long time for your money. The advantage of it is that it takes virtually no looking after which makes it popular with "absentie landlords". Usually the easier it is to grow and look after the lower the profit.

Another post suggested that eucalyptus went for about 800 baht per ton. What do you think?

Your right it should of read 300 bhat a ton, but that was a while ago. I'll find out tomorrow as the co-op that buys my milk buys eucalyptus as well.

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My wife has been doing a business plan for the last 2 months. She wants to turn under 100 Rai of rice and do Cattle. At the moment, I can't see much of a problem. But I also have experience with Cattle.

Also consider what you have experience with and what you can do, you must retain some control.

Eucalyptus is really bad for the soil as it sucks all the nutrients out

Just like where it grows naturally ?

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Pigs are taking off in a big way around here

gosh !!

pigs really can fly then ??

must be some serious profit there !

pork-on-the-wing.jpg

Sorry... couldn't help myself! :o

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Hi all, Im brand spanking new to this forum and have been reading with great interest about farming Isan land.

My wifes family are currently planting rice but have asked if we would like to do something with 30 rai that is currently unused. 

They originally asked for us to finance a Eucalyptus Plantation, they favoured this as most of the villagers that grew Euc's before have now turned to Rubber Trees - thus creating a fresh demand for Euc's.  After reading previous strings on this forum it seems clear that Euc's have some definate impact on the immediate land.  The land is, apparently too high, to hold sufficient water for rice crops.

Can anyone give me a clue as what may be the way forward to use this land, Euc's, Rubber, other crops or even something such as livestock or fish farming.

Any ideas gladly welcome.  Regards

First thing I would do is find out about the water available. Rain, irrigation canal, ground water.

If you have an irrigation canal find out where the water is coming from. Find out what months it will come and which it will not. Find out if the water source is suffering from slow salt buildup....it is my understanding that some reservoirs in Isaan are gradually becoming salty. Also evaluate where you are on the canal to see if you will have trouble getting water....if you are at the end you may have to fight for it and it might be a loosing battle.

Check out the soil. If it has high sand content then you will need a very consistent source of water and lots of it...if it has high clay content then it will hold water longer.....ponds dug in clay will hold water longer...if dug in sand then forget it. Don't just look at the soil on the surface....dig some holes....dig some deep ones....if you want a pond to be 2 meters deep then you need to see what the soil is on the bottom...of course you can alway spend more money and build pond liners but its good to know what you've got. Also do soil analysis to find out about fertility and micronutrients.....sample wherever you can find evidence that it may be different....if some land is flat and some is sloped then you need to sample both...if in some places the weeds look big and in other places they look small and sparse then you need to sample both places...go around and dig abit in the top 15 cm and if it looks or feels different in different places then you need to sample both. Where I live soil analysis is free so why not?

Check out the ground water. Ask everyone how deep is their well....ask them how deep they went before they hit the water and how high the water rose up into the well. Ask them if its a bit salty or bitter. Ask them if soap will make lots of suds in their water...or go wash your hands yourself and find out for yourself. Taste their water..just enought to see if its a bit salty. Dig a well on your property and see for yourself.

Water is the most important variable in farming.....This is so important that I will repeat it now....Water is the most important variable in farming....so do everything you can to find out about the water available in your area.

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More great advice - thanks, I have always pressumed that soil analysis etc would not be free - I will make some enquiries, its hard to judge what can be done as alot of the surrounding is also unused although on my last visit there were some signs of controlled burning on some sites.

I first assumed that this land had once been a eucalyptus plantation but my wife tells me that this isnt so - it seems that the local farmers simply dont have the capital investment to put into the land - as the land is also higher than the surrounding its no good for rice... therefore they farm the lowland areas this time of year and then scarper off to bangkok for construction later in the year.

Intrestingly on my last visit to the village i noticed quite large scale liming of land - nowhere near ours but never the less...

thing is the land they were liming was very close to a large lake, was this to repel some of the moisture or to make to land less acidic?

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More great advice - thanks, I have always pressumed that soil analysis etc would not be free - I will make some enquiries, its hard to judge what can be done as alot of the surrounding is also unused although on my last visit there were some signs of controlled burning on some sites.

I first assumed that this land had once been a eucalyptus plantation but my wife tells me that this isnt so - it seems that the local farmers simply dont have the capital investment to put into the land - as the land is also higher than the surrounding its no good for rice... therefore they farm the lowland areas this time of year and then scarper off to bangkok for construction later in the year.

Intrestingly on my last visit to the village i noticed quite large scale liming of land - nowhere near ours but never the less... 

thing is the land they were liming was very close to a large lake, was this to repel some of the moisture or to make to land less acidic?

I've been trying to find someone who has seen liming and you are the first one. Are you sure it was lime? It could have been rice hull ash. If you can find out who did it and go talk to them. Go look at the soil and see if its really sandy or really clayey or whatever. Did you read my post above and did you go to the internet site? It could be they were adding calcium to the soil and were not concerned about acidity. I'd like to know whatever you can find out.

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Hmmm - Ill have to look into this, as Ive said im in the UK so will have to ask the family if it was in deed liming that i saw.

I spent my apprenticeship years working near dockland arears on large construction sites - liming was commonplace there for driving out moisture before beginning ground levelling and pile-driving, i had just assumed thats what they were doing to the land near the resevoir.

Having said that it sounds as though adding calcium to the soil would look to be done in the same way - so appologies I will get back to you when im sure.

PS - what website?

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