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Making Small Farms More Affordable

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Do you have a small farm of about 30 or 40 acres? If you're just getting started with farming, want to keep thing sustainable, or need to get a leg up on chores to help your farm grow into a bigger property and business, you'll need more equipment than an old antique tractor. Instead of buying a plowing, disking, and harrowing service from neighboring farmers every time you need to prepare your fields, take matters into you own hands with a few of the following equipment selections and plans.

A Good Tractor And A Disc

For a small farm, the most important selection is a tractor with enough power and a durable set of attachments. If your field has been prepared in the last 5 or so years, you may not have too much difficulty in pulling up grasses, weeds, and turning fresh soil to the air. Any longer and you'll be dealing with some tough groundbreaking work.

Most small farms using compact tractors will need a disc harrow. These attachments can pull and grind the grasses, weeds, and topsoil enough to render the soil soft enough to get a few rows done later. It's a good idea to go over the land you plan on cultivating 2 or 3 times if the land hasn't been touched for a few years.

To form your rows, use a hipper (a row disc) to perform a bit of row forming and organization. These hipper discs are usually at about a 60-70 degree angle.

You can also use a disc hiller at a 45 degree angle. The angle will determine how wide the rows are, but you can always come back through for a different opposing shape if needed.

Water Delivery Convenience

Some farmers use a posthole digger to scrape their into the ground for water--sometimes with a washout drill that assists hand digging--while others pay for drilling services. You can do something in the middle by getting your own well drilling equipment.

Well drilling ranges from hand-cranked drill implements to gas and electrical drills that can go as far as your equipment can handle. This usually means purchasing a drill bit and bar attachment that goes as deep as the attached bars. To figure out how deep you need to go, either consult your local agricultural extension office for the water table depth in your area or ask a surveyor to come out for multiple water-related services.

In addition to finding the depth, an agricultural surveyor can check the soil and water quality for pH balance, contaminants, and different minerals available. Along with the depth needed to dig, the amount of water available in underground sources can help you figure out how aggressive you can get with watering.

Many small farms can get away with a small pump that brings water to the surface. A hand pump is fine, but it's not difficult to get a small gas or electric-powered pump or a solar-powered attachment for a low price. Fuel and electricity have costs, but if they're watering your fields while you handle chores, you can make the costs worth it.

Contact a tractor service an farming equipment professional to discuss other tools and services that can make your farm more efficient. For more information visit a company like Potestio Brothers Equipment, Inc.


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