When harvest season comes to an end and the colder days start to set in, it does not mean that your entire farm’s production should go into hibernation mode. You might not be planting for a harvest but you certainly need to maintain your harvesting equipment and store it in a safe place during your off months.
The reason why you need to clean and store your equipment is to prevent it from rust, corrosion, liquid freezing and many other factors that may affect its future performance. Here are a few of the most important tips to consider when maintaining your equipment before you store it:
Do a thorough service check on your tractor
One of the first service checks you need to do on your tractor is to change the oil to a lubricant that is lighter and to fill up the tank. The reason for this is because your tractor is likely to be sitting without action for months, so this is done to avoid engine corrosion during storage. Make sure that you clean or replace air filters, fuel filters, and lubricate bearings and joints at the same time. If you’re making use of antifreeze in your engine, be sure to look at the expiry date of yours as these products have a lifespan. As for your tyres, deflate them when stored, and try to keep the entire vehicle out of direct sunlight.
Clean your farming equipment
Next up, clean your farming tools such as your tillage equipment, spreaders and rotary cutters. To clean these units, you will need to make use of a compressed air or pressure washer to get rid of any hay, soil or dirt build-up left on the equipment. Because you won’t be making use of this equipment for quite some time, you will need to ensure that each unit is properly cleaned and dried to avoid rusting. Note that build-up can attract rodents which will eventually lead to the electrical wires being eaten.
Clean tools will ensure consistent performance throughout the new harvesting season. As you know, agriculture implements are extremely costly. Be it feed mixers for livestock farming or farming equipment for harvesting, it is important to look after each piece of equipment, especially if you want to receive the return on investment you want when you advertise your farming equipment that is available for sale.
Again, if you wish to sell older units and sell your farming equipment, you will need to take some pride in fixing any damages that could affect your asking price. The same goes for general equipment maintenance and simply caring for your equipment. Repaint any areas which are chipped to avoid future corrosion. Make a note of any repairs that you cannot physically do yourself, and send your equipment to be fixed during this time. When your equipment is stored post-harvest, you can afford to send your units for maintenance checks because this off season will not affect your production.
Remove batteries once equipment is stored
It is advised that in areas that experience snow, you should remove batteries from units to avoid batteries from deteriorating or leaking into the overall unit. Often times, extreme weather conditions can also cause batteries to freeze. If a battery does leak and is left unnoticed, the chemicals released can cause corrosion. So, during the winter months, it is extremely important to remove your batteries and store them somewhere where you can constantly monitor them, perform periodic charging and clean connections.
Equipment should always be stored away from any conditions that could affect each unit’s performance. If your storage area is not completely sheltered, invest in some additional cloth covers for further protection on each piece of equipment. The way you maintain and look after your equipment will determine the resale value whenever you choose to sell your units and upgrade to more advanced options.
Winter brings much-needed rain and soil benefits for farmers, but it also brings an added risk of slippery roads with poor visibility and sickly animals which struggle to survive. With such uncertain weather conditions, it’s important for farmers to prepare for safety leading up to the colder months. It’s important that you identify your business risks and put together an emergency plan for any winter-related event.
Here are a few tips on how you can prepare for winter on your farm:
Identify and fix any farm road concerns
Gravel is the strongest type of material for roads because it’s safer to operate on and is more durable in the long-term. It’s aesthetically pleasing on farmlands, however, this material does require regular maintenance checks, especially before and after winter. While a dirt road might sound like the easiest shortcut or temporary choice for winter circumstances, dirt roads can prove to be a nightmare when it comes to winter on the farm. Heavy rains can lead to dirt roads disappearing and becoming extremely muddy and dangerous. So, whether you’re transporting your staff, produce, livestock or allowing your customers to make their way to your farm, gravel is a reliable option in uncertain weather conditions.
On your roads, every pothole or rut should be maintained with road graders before the heavy rain sets in to avoid the freeze and thaw cycle. Make use of your tractor, grader and a ploughing implement to scrape off any snow or mud that could affect anyone’s ability to visit the farm safely. Make sure this movement is done from side to side and not from the middle, as this could damage the road’s surface.
Prepare your barn and monitor your livestock
If livestock form part of your production plan, prepare your barn for them to move into over the colder months. It’s critical that your animals are safe, warm and sheltered when the wet weather starts to creep in, as any animal that is struggling with a poor immune system can quickly become vulnerable to fatal diseases and viruses. As the barn may be their location for quite some time, make an effort to ensure that there is enough space for each animal to lie down and feel comfortable to avoid animals from becoming stressed. Keep feed away from wet areas to avoid contamination, and monitor each animal daily.
Store and maintain your agriculture equipment
When winter comes around, the harvest season comes to an end and it’s time for you to store your equipment for the duration of winter. As you can imagine, equipment that is not maintained and is stored for long periods of time without operation can become faulty the minute you decide to start it up. To winter-proof your tractor, look at its hydraulic, fuel and electrical systems. Replace the current engine lube with something lighter, and restore the antifreeze in the engine. You might think it’s unnecessary to fill up your tank when your tractor is simply going to be out-of-action for a while, but if you want to prevent fuel gelling from taking place, you will need to keep a full tank of fuel. As for your tillage equipment, spreaders, grader and other road maintenance equipment, make sure that you pressure wash each unit to avoid rust.
The time for harvest has unfortunately come to an end, but farming activity shouldn’t have to. The colder months are the perfect time to prepare your soil for the next harvest. The combination of rain and nutrient-rich fertilisers will help to give your soil the minerals it needs to develop a strong foundation for your next harvest. This process will help to enrich your soil and prepare it for a successful production.
Having a secure winter strategy in place will help to ensure that everything runs smoothly, and that you’re never faced with a challenging situation. While it may feel miserable and unproductive, winter is crucial to farmers when preparing for a new and fresh season.
A ‘pasture’ is referred to as the grasslands where livestock feed from. It’s where they graze on the grass, shrubs and legumes to consume the nutrients they need to grow, be healthy and fight illnesses.
Over time, lush grass turns into dead-looking grass and weeds, and the more you leave cattle to feed in these circumstances, the more unhealthy it can be for your cattle’s digestive system.
It’s important to note that the pasture’s outcome is determined by the soil’s health. If you want to restore your grass, you will need to test your soil, purchase nutrient-rich fertiliser, invest in a good irrigation system and manage your plantations accordingly. Much like any lawn, pasture restoration requires plenty of maintenance and planning. Here are some important pasture management tips for your farm:
Perform rotational grazing
One of the first ways to maintain your grass is to practice rotational grazing with your cattle. If you have a large herd of cattle, you will need to manage, plan and monitor how long your livestock graze before you can rotate them out of that pen and into another temporary pen. When you keep cattle in an area for too long, they will start to overgraze which will lead to further damage to the soil. Once, of course, the soil starts to take strain due to overgrazing or soil erosion, weeds will start to take over the grasslands.
If you don’t have a temporary pen, which is highly recommended, try to separate your pasture into different areas with fencing. This will help to break up the pasture and prolong your land. Once cattle have consumed the tastier pasture in one section, they will slowly move onto another. It is in these moments when they are kept in one area, that they tend to overgraze and cause long-term damage to the soil.
Note that a ‘sacrifice’ pen can either be an enclosed barn or an area where you move your livestock to during the colder months. Often, this area becomes a disaster shortly after they’ve moved in, but anything to keep livestock off of your pasture for a while so that you can restore and improve the quality of the grass.
Weeds can easily creep into your pasture and they are extremely difficult to get rid of once they start multiplying and spreading. The worst infestations are often a result of overgrazing, which is why you need to make a conscious decision to monitor and inspect your pasture on a regular basis. When you have a weed problem, you will need to plan your control process carefully as any harmful chemicals can damage your soil (and what’s left of your grass) and make it harder for you to restore your pasture. Look into different weed pulling and cutting techniques that can be done by hand or with a rotary cutter. This type of farming implement can be purchased from Radium.
Have a thought-out fertilising strategy
You cannot rely on your cattle to do all of your grass fertilising, as it is not nearly enough to provide the soil with the right amount of manure that it needs to grow and succeed. Depending on the size of your pasture, cattle often decide to release themselves in one particular area, without the ability to evenly spread out their droppings. Knowing this, the soil underneath will not be positively affected by this as it will take a while to break down into the soil. If you are going to rely on a commercial provider to assist you with fertiliser, try to combine it with what you already have available from your cattle. Once you have laid your fertiliser down, use the correct farming tools and equipment to spread it evenly over the grass.
Make regular visual inspections
Whether you make use of advanced farming tools to help you monitor your pasture or you do it by foot, it’s important to take the time to visually inspect your grasslands on a regular basis. Take a look at the fencing, make sure your fertiliser is evenly distributed, remove any garbage you see lying around and map out the areas which are showing signs of overgrazing. If you notice a weed infestation in advance, you will be able to treat the area before it gets out of hand.
Restoring a pasture takes time, planning and effort. If you plan accordingly and use the right farming supplier such as Radium Engineering to assist you with the correct equipment for your project, you will be able to improve your pasture for the better and help your cattle stay healthy. This process can be a time-consuming one, especially when your cattle have overgrazed for a long period of time. But with a proper pasture management plan, you will have a restored pasture in no time.
Managing a small-scale farm without sufficient equipment can be frustrating. As much as you’d love to lead a self-sufficient farm without having to tap into the heavy duty equipment and tools, having that extra help is certainly a win-win situation: it’ll give you the ability to cultivate and grow high-quality produce, fast.
While there are so many types of agriculture machinery on the market today, most are designed to transport heavy materials in large, open areas. If you just need something to get you into those tight spaces with ease, here’s some of the basic equipment you’ll need for your farming operations:
A tractor is an essential piece of equipment for any farm. It will get you from A to B, quickly, and you’ll be able to attach several other tools to your tractor for more efficient use. A compact tractor is a must-have for any small farming business. Whether you want to mow the lawn, plough a field, cut weeds or transport feed, this powerful machine will assist you in doing the job. Bear in mind that although they’re the most important piece of equipment for any farm, without farm implements, compact tractors are pretty much useless. Make sure you have the attachments you need to accomplish an endless variety of tasks.
If your land’s terrain is flat and level, you’ll only need to look at a two-wheel drive compact tractor, however, if you’re struggling with a rocky and muddy terrain, then you should look at investing in a four-wheel drive with a little more power. The perks of these compact vehicles are that they’re easier to operate than normally sized tractors, they’re low on fuel, more affordable in price and they take up less space. Not to mention, they’re versatile in farming operations which is just what you need. A good rule of thumb is to also ensure that you have a tractor trailer to assist with the transportation of heavy goods.
Spreading equipment are must-have tools for farmers who are growing crops. It’s impractical to do it by hand and the time you spend doing so could be used more effectively in other farming activities. Spreaders come in handy when you need to get into tiny places, while still being able to spread your material evenly. Your manure needs to be spread across the designated area according to its weight and the land size. If you do not give your soil the right amount of nutrients, you’re reducing the amount of organic matter in the soil which will affect your crop growth. This also influences the drainage and microbial activity as well, so make sure you spread your manure evenly and slowly for the best outcome.
For effective crop production, a sprayer machine has become an essential piece of equipment for any farm owner. These machines work according to a sprayer programme, applying each crop area with the right amount of chemicals to control weeds, insects and diseases, to help give your crops an opportunity for high yields. Depending on your land area, it may be something you can do manually in the initial stages, but the bigger your production gets, the better you’d want your harvest to be. Before you decide against it, consider the frequency of spraying versus the manual time and effort.
Hand or mobile weeders are practical for smaller spaces, however, they can be time-consuming. Farm owners should consider a machine cutter that can connect to your compact trailer. Of course, the type of cutter you choose for your farming operations is directly related to how often you’ll be using it, but if you’re already having problems with weed infestations, make sure you find something that gets rid of them for good. You’ll be surprised at how much time and energy is wasted in manual weeding.
Your equipment essentials depend on your needs. While the above-mentioned variety might seem overwhelming at first, over time, they will all come in handy. It is highly recommended that you choose your brand and equipment partner wisely. During harvest time, time pressures are at their peak, therefore a machine needs to be reliable. While it might sound daunting, there are many agricultural financing companies that can help with your farming needs. You can also invest in used farm equipment for sale.
If you do not have any experience in farming, speak to other farmers in the area to find out more about their equipment, as you’ll be able to benefit from their advice without having to make those rookie mistakes yourself. They will give you all the farming tips you need to run a successful business.
Farm tillage is a catch-22 process: when you over-use tillage equipment on your farm, it can lead to soil disruption which could cause the soil structure to become infertile. But, if you don’t till your soil, you’re looking at unhealthy, dirty crops and soil erosion. One of the key advantages of tillage is less soil erosion, which is a big enough reason to till your soil in the beginning stages of your crop planting process.
No-tillage farming is a practice where the soil is minimally disturbed during the planting and harvesting process. When you plant your crops, holes are drilled into the soil where the seed is planted and then covered up. This method leaves ground surface intact, along with the residues from the previous crop harvest. Depending on your production size, there are many pros and cons of no-tillage farming:
You’ll strengthen your crops: Tillage is important when there are weeds involved. Without getting rid of those weeds, you could face a weed and pest infestation which could cost you a harvest. Over time, you’ll learn to become clever with your crop planting. You can do this by covering the ground with mulch bags to keep weed seeds from spreading. When you cover your crops with mulch, it keeps the soil moist without becoming muddy. This will also provide shade to the soil and a habitat for good pests.
You’ll run machinery less often: The initial stages of crop development require you to till your soil, but over time you won’t need to use make use of tillage equipment as often. By not using your machine, it will save you plenty of money on fuel costs and time. When you mix your soil and revitalise the oxygen in the soil, you’ll start preventing erosion and guarantee healthy crops all year round.
You’ll save water: Once you’ve tilled your soil, it will leave a residue on the land which helps to reduce the evaporation of soil moisture. This also means that it will reduce the water runoff, keeping the soil moist for crop feeding. Especially for regions experiencing weather conditions such as drought, tilling the soil allows farmers to save on water in the long-term as you won’t need to irrigate those areas as often.
Your soil microbial will increase: When your soil is healthy, the organic microbes in the soil start to grow. By not disrupting your soil every few weeks, you’re giving your soil the opportunity to establish a healthy microbial community underground that regulates itself. The nutrients, water and carbon held in the soil will also benefit the health of your soil, and then, of course, help your crops grow healthily.
You won’t get all the soil benefits: While it may seem like you will experience the benefits from tilling your soil often, you’re not giving your soil enough time to develop healthy microbial for your crops. While leaving it for long periods of time is recommended, the risk you take is worse if you leave your soil for months without attention. The bare soil will warm up faster which will then lead to soil erosion.
You’ll spend money on crop cover: When you keep covering up your crops, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the mulch bags add up. In the beginning, you might overdo it, but over time you will eventually learn the right amounts that you need to support your crops from weeds and pests.
You’ll need new equipment: Since you’ll just be leaving your crops to attend to themselves, you might need to find yourself some quality equipment to cut through the weeds, spray the pests and filter the soil. Either way, you don’t know what the result could be, so try and be prepared for any outcome.
What works for other people’s farms might not work for yours. There are so many farming tips you need to take into consideration when deciding on your planting and harvesting processes, and the type of soil you have will be the biggest contributing factor. Before you decide for or against a specific practice, do your research and test your soil. Climate conditions also play a major role in the outcome of any crop, so speak to professionals and make sure you have a clear understanding of your needs.
As a result of environmental factors or poor crop maintenance, both decisions can be costly for your business, so do not base your farming decisions solely on the cost of the farm equipment you need to do the job. It’s about what will provide your business with the best possible outcome for your produce.
Keeping livestock feed fresh and uncontaminated is a constant challenge. It’s a top priority for farmers to feed their cattle the much-needed nutrients and vitamins they need, but saving money has become an essential part of the process. While feeding in a drought isn’t ideal for any farmer, having the right farm equipment to preserve your feed is the first step to reducing waste. If you’re looking for ways to overcome this challenge, without stretching your budget, here are a few farming tips to consider:
While it may be costly and challenging in the beginning, your livestock feeding schedules will quickly become easier to manage. You will learn how to maximise your costs, and the minute environmental factors start to influence your feeding, you will know how to plan ahead for these tough times. At the end of the day, the most important thing is to have a balanced ratio of nutrients to keep your cattle healthy.
There are many agricultural machinery dealers in South Africa and surrounds which can direct you in purchasing the right agriculture equipment to benefit your feeding programme. With high-quality resources, you’ll be able to save money and reduce feed wastage quickly and effectively.
Modern day farming offers business owners a wealth of equipment and farm implements to help them do the job more effectively, taking the mastery out of skills and long hours of labour. While it’s a helpful addition to any farming operation, these items can be expensive and thus need to be well-maintained.
Farming machinery and equipment advances in the blink of an eye, and farmers simply cannot live without these innovative and important business assets. They make life easier for farm owners and workers, which is one of the key reasons why you need to look after them and ensure they run smoothly at all times. Poor maintained equipment can lead to breakdowns, accidents and more.
Here are five farming tips and tricks to help extend the life of your equipment:
Educating yourself and your farm employees about the different machinery and their specific requirements will help everyone have a clear understanding of what to look out for when a machine starts acting strangely. The more advanced a piece of equipment is, the more important it is to monitor the machine’s functions as this could help you to spot faults before they happen. Also, try and ensure that each piece of equipment has its own user so that they can become familiar with the machine. Give those employees the task of overseeing the equipment operations and checking the equipment daily.
When it comes to doing maintenance checks, lubrication is one of the most important factors to consider. Using the right lubricants for your equipment helps to put that necessary grease and oil back into the engine. During these checks, look out for any grease build-ups or excess oil leaks. You can tell a lot about the overall functioning of your unit by the results generated from the lubrication. This will also be able to tell you whether or not you’re using the right type of liquid for your equipment make. If you’re unsure, speak to the different agricultural equipment manufacturers in South Africawho supply the equipment you own, as they will be able to give you the professional support and help that you need.
Cleaning your farming equipment is the first step to maintaining a healthy maintenance schedule. If you take the time to regularly clean your equipment before putting it away, you’ll be able to cut down on costly repairs. When you clean your units regularly, you’ll be able to prevent dirt build-up in moving parts which may speed up wear and tear damage too. Even if a unit is faulty, clean the equipment first so that you have a clear understanding of what needs replacing. If you’re not using a particular machine or tool, store the item safely in a sheltered area. With climate conditions being so uncertain, the hot and cold change can do major damage to your items. So, shut down equipment properly every night after use and ensure that whoever is in charge of running that unit is performing regular maintenance and cleaning checks.
When you’re making use of a specific item every day, it’s important to assess the machine for wear and tear. You’ll be surprised at how quickly high temperatures, shock and friction can deteriorate parts. The most common reasons as to why wear and tear occur are from the vibration caused when the belts and gears are out of alignment, when the equipment is in an accident, when high temperatures cause friction on already worn-out parts and when the machine starts to get old. The older the machine, the more frequently you should lubricate its belts and bolts to prevent rusting and dryness in moving parts.
Keep a record of your maintenance plans to monitor how often electrical systems, tyres, fluids and tracks need to undergo maintenance or repairs. By keeping an up-to-date plan, you and your team will become familiar with the different components, and know what needs to be inspected when and where. Further maintenance tips that need to be incorporated into your plan is the regular change in filters, checking your gearboxes for vibration, lubrication or damages that may lead to future breakdowns, run regular togue checks on bolts, and do alignment checks on v-belts, pulleys and CVT transmissions. Proper storage is another important aspect of preventative maintenance. As mentioned, exposure to weather elements can lead to premature failure of your agriculture equipment.
Depending on your farming operations, there is always going to be equipment that needs special attention. In these cases, you will need to keep this machinery in top shape as they’re the driving force of your farming production. The minute these units stop working, everything stops running smoothly. Sometimes these faulty machines break down in moments when you need them most, therefore it’s important to have a preventative plan in place to avoid these situations. Make sure that you have a fully trained working force that can help you identify these challenges in advance, by means of regular maintenance and routine checks. These small tasks will save you plenty of downtime and money on repairs, increase the lifespan of your equipment and provide safer equipmentoptions for employees.
As global health regulations increase, farming practices are becoming more sustainable. Over the years, there has been much talk about grass-fed over grain-fed because of the many health benefits it holds. While both have their own farming benefits, there are a few misconceptions when it comes to the meat.
Put simply, after birth, most cows start living on their mother’s milk and pasture. They’re also allowed to roam freely and eat whatever they can find. Once they reach a certain weight, conventional farming moves cows to feedlots (also known as CAFOs or concentrated animal feeding operations), where they are fattened on a diet of corn and soy feed, and often supplemented by growth hormones and antibiotics.
This is when grass-fed becomes the alternative option.
Bigger isn’t better
Grass-fed refers to the animal’s diet. It’s the process in which cattle are allowed to graze for their food, consuming mainly grass, herbs, flowers and other legumes. Grain-fed on the other hand is a feed mixthat consists of grain, soy, corn and other supplements. While this only describes the diet, it does not refer to the grazing process or how the cattle are raised. Free-range feeding is usually the term used when cows are left to roam freely but not necessarily graze freely. With the grazing process, controlled grain-feeding is the fastest feeding alternative for mass production as the process helps to speed up slaughter time.
Despite the fact that meat production can be harmful to the environment and the animal itself, more farmers are turning to free-range, grass-fed production because it reaps a higher return on investment. In the initial phases, it’s more costly for farmers to provide the roaming space that their cattle need, but they’ve quickly realised the importance of farming and feeding in a more humane way, as it ensures that the animal is not stressed and the meat is of high-quality before slaughter. By implementing a controlled, grain-fed process where cattle are raised in factories, it fattens the cow up and causes them to release‘cortisol’ before slaughter. The release of this stress hormone leads toflavourless and tough meat quality.
Benefits of grass-fed over conventional
Here are a few farming tips you need to know about grass-fed cows:
Grain feedingis much cheaper for mass feeding and it also speeds up the process when fattening the cow quickly and effectively. This is different with a grass-fed cow as it takes much longer for them to grow in weight. The nutrients received through grass feeding also assists with their digestion of food.
The rich minerals and Omega 3 fatty acids in the grass make grass-fed beef healthier for human consumption. People who suffer from heart disease and low blood pressure should be consuming more of these acids in their diet. And, while the digestion of meat is often a problem for many, it is advised that you opt for grass-fed over grain-fed because the more tender meat is easily digestible.
Here are some of the benefits of increased Omega 3 consumption:
Since grass-fed cows are grown in a more sterile living environment, without any chemical fertilisers, hormones or antibiotics, the quality of the beef turns out to be far superior. Because it’s raised with extra care, on a clean and natural diet, these cows are also less stressed before slaughter. Not having cortisol in their bodies ensures that the meat produced has a significantly higher amount of nutrients and healthy fats compared to grain-fed cows. The meat is also filled with flavour and colour.
As you can imagine, grass-fed farming is better for the environment and for the animal because the process requires less energy (due to the technology used to feed and fertilise the feed), as well as because it promotes biodiversity in soil. When cows are located in feedlots, it allows them to graze freely and stress-free, without being fed with toxic growth hormones to help them grow faster. The fertiliser used for grain-fed also affects the area’s pollution and water because the chemicals leach into the ground and surface water, significantly impacting the water quality and aquatic life.
When it comes to farming practices, there are countless studies on what is better for the animal, human and environment as a whole. While many farmers have started to dedicate their lives to producing quality meat that benefits their bottom line and makes a difference, there are also underlying factors such as soil conditions and farmland size that affect your ability to make these changes.
Over time, guidelines for cattle farming will get stricter and meat will get more expensive for consumers. Even though free-range, grass-fed beef is costly, the difference in the meat is undeniable. Not only does it save the environment but it’s better for your health. At the end of the day, choosing between grass-fed and grain-finished beef comes down to which is more important to you as a farmer.
With the latest technologies, equipment and planting techniques, there is no reason why your crops shouldn’t yield success for your farming business. When you rely on production to support your bottom line, you should be taking advantage of the below tips to maintain crop sustainability.
How has farming evolved?
High-performance,smart-farming is the future of the agriculture industry. There is a variety of techniques that can be implemented to help farmers understand their crops better, for example, the ability to analyse soil nutrients for a better outcome. But before you can make use of the latest and most advanced technologies and planting methods, you need to learn the science behind your seeds.
With farming becoming such a competitive industry, there’s no room for climate and environmental conditions to affect harvest opportunities. As mentioned, with the right know-how on what to use and when, you will learn how to be more efficient. There are always going to be grey areas with soil fertility, but the more you’re able to cultivate the land you have, crop yields will be able to benefit your bottom line.
You will also, always, experience consequences with your farming decisions, but in order to increase crop production and yield, you will need to adjust your approach. Before you can get started on planting, you’ll need to analyse the quality of your soil and seeds, as well as your planting technique. Each type of plant requires different methods of planting, so do your research to help you to better understand your crops.
Here are a few farming tips and tricks to consider when looking to increase your crop yield:
Plant early: Looking back on previous seasons, you will be able to formalise a crop plan on when to plant. The reason for this is that you’ll be able to learn from previous failures or successes going into the new season. Before anything, you need to perform a soil test because your soil condition will directly influence the growth of your crops. Once you’ve analysed it, you’ll be able to start planting.
Practice soil rotation every season:Each crop or plant requires different soil conditions, therefore it is encouraged that you practice soil rotation each season. Often when you plant the same crops in the same area, year after year, you’re limiting the crop yield as it has proven to be less effective. Planting alternating crops in the same soil can also help to diversify the demands in the soil.
Know your seed potential:When planning your planting strategy, you cannot simply plant something and hope for the best. A negative start to the season could affect your entire harvest, so take the time to understand your field and seeds’ growth potential before going ahead. Make sure your seeds are of high-quality too. When you understand these important techniques, you will be able to manage your expectations, and it will give you a clear indication of what the end result could be for your production.
Always scout the land: While drone technology is certainly helpful when getting to know your farmlands, take the time to scout your fields by foot beforehand. This will give you a chance to assess your soil and monitor any weed conditions that could be detrimental to your crops. Without physically looking at your field and touching the ground, you might miss any red flags along the way.
Ensure proper water drainage: As you can imagine, water management is one of the essential elements of crop survival and crop success. While climate conditions may be uncertain, you need to have an irrigation system that can provide your crops with the right amount of water, as well as a drainage system to properly drain any excess water. Within saying that, make sure your systems don’t over-water your crops because this can lead to water clogging, mud build-up and salinisation in your soil.
Make use of fertilisers: As part of the process, soil cultivation is important to maintaining optimal soil conditions for your crops. Although water helps crops grow, your soil requires nutrients like potassium, phosphorus, and calcium to help increase the growth process. This process can be time-consuming without a fertiliser spreader, so ensure you have the correct equipmenton hand to make the spreading technique easier for you and more efficient in the process.
Weed early and often:If you notice that your crops starting to become invaded by weeds, make a plan to remove them before things get out of hand. Weeds are extremely invasiveand can easily suck out the nutrients that your crops need to survive. As mentioned, in the initial phases of your planting process, you will be able to pick up any weed clues when you scout out your fields beforehand.
There are many steps that go into crop planting before you can reap the benefits and have a successful harvest. While it may sound complex, it’s easy when you plan accordingly and have the right tools to help you do the job. Start strong from the beginning and you’ll easily be able to maximise yields.
Searching for the right equipment is nearly as challenging as starting your own farming business. A piece of equipment that was favourable last year might not work next year because of the constant changes in the weather, production demands and newer, more technologically advanced equipment.
Many of these variables are unpredictable, so when looking for the right equipment to suit your needs, you should try not to over capitalise on your first purchase. Rather buy something that is flexible enough to adapt to changes, while being sustainable enough to meet regular farming needs.
With global industries relying on agricultural goods and services to survive, you will be spoiled for choice with options; the types of farm equipment are endless. But like with all equipment, the price, maintenance and repair of your unit should be justified by the amount of time it saves your company.
Here are a few tips when looking to select the right types of farm equipment for you:
Scale for your needs
Small farm owners are particularly challenged when selecting the right tools and equipment to suit their needs. While any piece of equipment that’s designed to do a certain task well can make the job easier, the scale of the equipment is often not designed for small-scale growers.
Choosing the right, cost-effective equipment to match your needs means that before you do any purchasing, you need to do extensive research on what is right for you. When you have a complete understanding of your farm requirements, your soil type, the kind of production you do, the climatic factors affecting your land and the actual size of your land, then making a decision becomes a lot easier. In the beginning, it is not necessary to go overspend on your purchase as it’s not always practical for growth.
Set a budget and stick to it
Before making any impulse decision, make sure that you set a realistic budget for your first equipment or machinery purchase. This will help you make the right choices without breaking the bank.
Farm equipment comes in a wide range of prices and, especially in the beginning, you can find something that is middle-of-the-range with a good balance between cost and durability. Your input investment is key to low-cost production, so whatever you choose needs to work today and not necessarily in 10 years time.
Research and test the equipment before making a decision
Farm equipment and machinery are extremely pricey, so you need to take extra care when committing to a long-term investment. It’s important that you test the equipment before making a decision. For example, if you are looking at a truck, the seat, pedals, steering wheel, throttle and transmission control should all be well-placed and feel comfortable when operating. Pay attention to how you feel while operating equipment as a negative feeling might lead to future fatigue, stress and loss of productivity on both the work and the operator. Do not make a decision based on what the tool looks like as it is not vital to its functionality.
Make the decision: new vs used equipment
This decision is one of those that suits your pocket. Although farming equipment is a long-term investment, sometimes buying new is not an option for startup farmers. Each type offers their own benefits, with the most evident new equipment perks being tax considerations, easier finance options and more advanced technology. Used equipment is more affordable, allowing you to invest additional money into other farm necessities, and if you don’t plan on using your unit regularly, then used is great for back-up units. Find something that does those small to medium tasks perfectly. Convenience is key for startups.
Choose your unit based on quality to price ratio
Apart from setting up your land and choosing your production, one of the most important tasks is purchasing the equipment that produces your goods. When buying expensive machinery, remember to consider the price, performance, power, parts, product support, prestige and the overall value-for-money on your purchase. Another consideration is to analyse the practicality of a unit.
Sometimes, items are better hired than purchased new or used, especially if it’s only going to be used for one project. In order to get a good idea of the recommended equipment options, models and their prices, get professional help when examining the farming items you’re considering.