Question What's the perfect sized property for Self-Sufficient living?

Discussion in 'Other' started by Mark, Apr 29, 2014.

  1. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    Here's a question that is bound to have many different opinions - What is the perfect size property for self-sufficiency?

    Is it go BIG and have a 1000 hectare farm, is it a medium sized acreage, is it a small acreage or indeed a standard suburban block? What size do you think is your ideal self-sufficient property and why?
     
  2. stevo

    stevo Backyard Farmer Premium Member

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    I've been trying to reply to this but haven't had enough time yet... but I think it's like - how long is a piece of string question so I'm not sure how i'll answer and it could take me a few hours to type it out :D ... I've seen a few shows on tv where they have a suburban block and grow all the things they need. I'd like to have about 5acres, but then the bigger the land the more work it might be? I'll just say that I'm undecided about the answer to your question :oops: ... but imagine the sheds I could build on some acreage! I'll have to think about it some more ... and it may be interesting to read other peoples ideas :popcorn:
     
  3. Mark

    Mark Founder Staff Member

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    How long is a piece of string!? I don't know... :D

    Yeah, I used to think 5 acres was a good size too but I've changed my mind and would personally like about 10 acres.

    Reason being, I'd love to raise about a dozen free range pigs and you need a bit of room for this plus I'd like to expand my poultry. Oh, and a few goats or cows would be nice...

    But I agree, it is subjective and the size does depend on what a person wants out of their self sufficient property.

    Lots can be done on small suburban blocks as we know, I guess I'd like people to imagine what their ideal size would be if they had the money and time to invest also what would they like to use it for?

    I don't think I'd like a property larger than 10 acres (of working land) because I probably would find it too difficult to manage. Not sure o_O

    Perhaps there are people who are reading this and have found their perfect sized self sufficient paradise, if so then tell us how and why you are living your dream (I promise not to get too jealous) :)

    For me though, 10 acres would be ideal.
     
  4. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    Well I'd be happy with an acre to start with. I'm not greedy. :D
    I really don't know how much work is involved as I just don't have the experience yet.
    I might get an acre and soon after think jeez I could have done with more. I suppose if I had more I could just leave the rest as bushland if I didn't use it for 'Projects'.

    I guess when I'm ready to buy some land I will get out and about and get a feel for the size of it and what can be achieved on it.

    I also think that it depends somewhat on the topo of the land too. Creeks, dams, bush, slope, shape all have impact on what you can actually use it for.

    Well there's my thoughts.
    Cheers
     
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  5. Lee-Mika

    Lee-Mika Active Member Premium Member

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    I have often thought about this, I think it is mostly up to what you can afford to buy. Then it all comes down to planning. I just bought my place which is about 4 acres, but I still have four years left on my contract that I have to work. Then I am free to go build my farm. But as I am getting older I think 4 acres is enough for me to manage.
     
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  6. Director

    Director Valued Member Premium Member

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    About 1-2 acres if you are working it by yourself, if you have extra hands then maybe bigger.
     
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  7. ClissAT

    ClissAT Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    When I think about self sufficiency, I think about what you want to eat.
    Being a meat eater will use a LOT more land than being vego or vegan.
    Although I have to say with those last 2 it is not possible to be completely self sufficient without buying in minerals & other fertilizers to grow your F&V & buying some vitamins to take for those missing from the meat free diet.

    It would be very hard to fatten poultry on veg alone so (small) fields would be needed to grow grain for them.

    If you had a milking cow, she would need up to 5ac depending on what part of the world your land was in such as most of Australia or central USA. However if you were in Britain or Europe you would only need half an acre to raise a perfectly healthy dairy cow with a meat calf, some chooks & a few pigs along with your vegie gardens & orchards.

    I get green with envy when thinking about how Brits & Europeans can have so little land to do so much. :mad:
     
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  8. David - coona

    David - coona Active Member Premium Member

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    This was our thinking.
    1. The more rainfall and cooler the smaller the block.
    2. Animals equals more acres, how many depends on 1.
    3. Need a couple of acres of trees for fuel.
    4. How many people are to be supported/labour.
    We drove all round NSW (Bombala - Warialda, Tweed - Cowra). Settled on 12acres of trees @ 700mm rainfall.
    1/4 acre veg, 1/4 acre orchard/ nuts, 7 acres for cow(in the future) and 10 sheep shared with the grains/cereals, 4 acres trees, 1/2 acre house/sheds/water catchment.
    Only have to clear/thin 4 more acres of black pine trees to see the vision.
    As Close said vegies can be sustainable on smaller blocks but will need to import fertility.
    Need to consider cost as well. Which is more sustainable 3 acres you own outright or 10 acres with a mortgage?

    My 2 cents worth.
     
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  9. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    All the above points are valid. 1-2 acres without animals gives one or two people enough to do. Add small livestock and it needs 8-10 acres (for a small number of head). Add larger livestock and you're getting into the mid- to high-teens of acres or it's just not enough to support the hungry beasts. The amount of work needed to be done by man increases considerably, and heavy duty machinery then needs to be invested into to make it work. For me, I've gone back from 7 acres to a quarter of an acre, and there's still enough space for me to grow some fruit trees and veggies in the yard, but even then being time poor doesn't even allow me to maximise that small space. Maybe one day...
     
  10. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member GOLD

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    1 acre and have to start young to set it up, so just need to maintain it when retired. When you retire, family seems to think you have nothing to do. Suddenly there is no time and when you worked you seem to do twice as much in the limited hours while working full time and raising children.
     
  11. letsgo

    letsgo Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    We have 3/4 of an acre and more would be nice but we also love where we live. I think it depends on what else you want to do with your block. If we planted all our block out then crikey that would be heaps but we still want some open space and have existing trees etc to work around. Its amazing what people can grow on a suburban block. Bigger block also means more to look after unless you had some animals to keep the grass down but then you have to look after them. If people can't move to a bigger block or can't afford a bigger block etc then work with what you have.
     
  12. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    I would have to agree with the point that having too big a block means being overwhelmed with all the work that needs to be done on it. Many animals means feeding and watering, vaccinating and supplementing, fencing and maintenance. Too much empty land to do away with animals and their issues, and you have to mow it, taking up a significant chunk of time to tend to making it near and tidy.
     
  13. Steve

    Steve Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    i think @Kasalia has a good point here. It's the setting up of said acreage that will kill you.
    If you go for a larger plot and you're old and tired then you might struggle with it all.
    Setting it up while more energetic is a a valid point I think. Especially if you have little help from outside....
     
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  14. Kasalia

    Kasalia http://retired2006.blogspot.com.au/ Premium Member GOLD

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    A lot of retirees move to smaller houses and no yards, for that reason, too tired to bother. Me I just took on a community acre and point lol
    :goinghome:
     
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  15. Flatland

    Flatland Well-Known Member Premium Member

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    I think the most important deciding factor is water. When I lived in the Adelaide Hills (800mm) 5 acres supported 6sheep and a horse easily but at Milang (300mm) 10 acres just manages 4 sheep and a horse. that's about animal keeping but even if you are not going to keep any animals water is really important. For me 10 acres is the right size.
    One other important factor as far as I am concerned is not to have creeks, or dams. This might sound strange but in SA there are a lot of rules and getting worse about what you can and can not do within 100metres of any water course and if you only have 10 acres or less 100metres will take in most of your land.
     
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  16. Neill

    Neill Member Premium Member

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    I suppose it all depends on the kind of land, and what you want to do with it. 10 good acres would easily supply a family here, what with rotation and animals for the plate. If 8 are hills, then perhaps not, but the sheep and goats would enjoy it :D
    I would love to even have a couple, but the cost of land here is eye watering, and well out of my bracket for now.
     
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  17. OskarDoLittle

    OskarDoLittle Valued Member Premium Member

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    That's an interesting point...we're still looking around at land for "later" but I'm very conscious that if we leave it too late, we won't be able to manage it/develop it. We always look for creek front or spring fed dam. We're in Qld but really love the area down at crystal creek, tyalgum, carney's creek...so I'm not sure if the rules around waterways are as strict in Qld/NSW.
    But definitely something I should look into. Anyone know off the top of their head?
    My ideal block would be huge...but mostly bush block so we don't have neighbours...the "arable" land size I'd be happy with would be 10acres...maybe a bit more as I like the idea of having 5acres of just landscaped decorative garden. Then if you add on livestock, obviously you need whatever will carry the livestock. And again, that's down to water supply.
     
  18. Ash

    Ash Valued Member Premium Member GOLD

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    A bore would be great but if you're considering this be mindful of water quality. Whilst we were on 7 acres ourselves, we faced this issue and whilst the rainwater was okay for some watering of plants, if we wanted animals as well we would have definitely needed supplemental wate. But our bore was way too alkaline for watering or livestock. Too much carbonate.
     
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