Farming Thread

kel

Ostrich
We've heard a little about NoMoreTO's farm, tell us about yours sometimes, please. This is my big plan, tbh, for a few years. Wish I'd already done it but I'm still busy making money to fund said farm, getting others to join, etc.
 

username

Ostrich
Gold Member
Hard to say. Sometimes you can find them up on the side of the road for sale out in the country. Older guys like to fix them up and sell the old models. What kind of HP are you looking for ? 25- 50? Are you looking for a loader on it or what is the intended use?

Something around 25HP, 4x4, and with a loader. Need to use it to maintain roads, move dirt around, and every so often move something somewhat big or bulky. Would love a backhoe too but not completely necessary.

Nearby a few weeks ago there was a used tractor that needed a new clutch and was only $3,000. The parts would be around $600 and it wasn't hard to replace. The same tractor around here would be around $10,000, unfortunately I missed the deal by a few hours.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Something around 25HP, 4x4, and with a loader. Need to use it to maintain roads, move dirt around, and every so often move something somewhat big or bulky. Would love a backhoe too but not completely necessary.

Nearby a few weeks ago there was a used tractor that needed a new clutch and was only $3,000. The parts would be around $600 and it wasn't hard to replace. The same tractor around here would be around $10,000, unfortunately I missed the deal by a few hours.

Tractor hunting is definitely a process, especially when you're looking for one with a loader. I went through it last year.

I looked at a private sale and did a test drive of one pointed out to me by a friend, but it didn't have a loader. Then spent a couple of months scouring auctions and what was on the used market. I ended up going back to the original private seller and picking it up. The cost to put a new loader on this tractor could be 10 - 15K, so I ended up picking up a skidsteer, then buying the tractor. Overall it worked out well.

Good luck, can't wait to see your tractor. Any old models you are interested in ? I was looking into Massey 165s at the time. A farmer friend was telling me how the used lower end of the market can be more competitive than the higher cost tractors. If you've got a good use for it, and can get financing it might not be the worst investment to have something a little more reliable.

4x4 might be difficult to find in older models. Front wheel assist was brought in in the 90s I believe, If you have an older model with a little more HP that might be good. I have a soft spot for the old Massey 165s from the 70s. Also, keep in mind the hydraulic systems from that era weren't as good. For example a 65HP Massey Ferguson with a loader couldn't really pick up a 750lb round bale if you had a loader on it. Benefit of an older tractor is they are easier to fix and sometimes you can buy a whole other machine for salvage parts

 
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john_Jea

Sparrow
In response to Kel asking, to be clear it isn't my farm (yet) it's my fathers and i have recently returned to it after pursuing other ventures. I still have another job but I have gotten much more interested in working on the farm and taking over one day. It´s mainly a sheep farm but we have some horses as well. We have an abundance of land, both farmable and sandy/rocky highlands.I would like to diversify or at least become more sustainable.

My goals for the coming future are:

Planting trees for future firewood, our heating is 100% electric far from ideal.

Getting beef cattle, bit tricky the beef that is imported from the EU is so subsidized that
it cost more to feed them than you get for the beef. I would like to get a couple and try
to rotate them over some of the neglected grassland.

Other than that there is a lot of maintenance that needs to be done.

I'm not certain if I will stay at my other job after this summer, it mainly depends on whether or not the jab will be mandated or not (or if I can cope with whatever restrictions will be put in place next fall). If I bail I might bring in the cattle in the fall, well see.

More than happy to answer any and all questions you might have.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Make Hay while the sun shines

Was Baling Hay this last week.

I custom in the mowing, raking and baling and just pick up my bales with the Bobcat and focus on selling them. I'm a new farmer and am hoping to do the actual baling myself soon. I was happy to have my nephew helping me and I took some time to get him trained up on the bobcat, to his credit he took right to it. He's 17, so I'm sure he'll surpass me in bobcat skillz in a couple years, but right now I am still faster and smarter.

I rent the land from my family. I actually have a farm of my own and grew hay last year for the first time, after that a farmer who rents my late fathers land sold his farm and moved out west and left me with a 28 acre hay field. I've got this 28 acres and have planted another 7 acres of marginal land which we will likely just take one cut off this year.

The 28 acres yielded 135 round bales on the 1st cut. We will likely do 2 more cuts which will yield another 135, as the rule of thumb is that 2nd and 3rd are lower yield and generally equal 1st cut.

All in all it went well. We cut everything in a window that at the time looked good. However some rain was coming in and things were fairly tight, first to cut as it was too wet to cut, then after raking it over to dry, we found it to be quite humid and not drying up well. We baled about 17 acres on Monday, and we yielded over 80 bales, I sold 50 bales to a local farmer who picked it up with his sons, and then stacked the rest in the barn.

We had 10 acres which due to the humidity was not dry and we could not bale that day. It then rained, which is bad for hay, then the news was calling for rain again FML. In the end it all worked out. We got some hot sun, with a nice breeze which dried that hay right up. My custom guy came out and baled it up and we stacked it in the barn.

Hope to sell at about $0.10/lb CAD each bale weighs about 800lbs. So a bale is worth about $80 CAD.

I'd like to sell some as there are more cuts and while the barn looks big in the pic, it is actually a little tight. In the winter, guys who have their barns stocked with hay feed it to their livestock then sometimes come looking for more. Last summer prices were 0.07/lb and winter prices were at 0.15/lb , so this year given I've sold off the field at 0.10/lb the winter price could once again double the summer price and be 0.20/lb due to storage space and hay shortage.

Lots of little hay fields switching over to corn and soybeans due to high prices. Hay is a local product.

All in all everything went well. The weather cooperated in the end, even though there was lots of drama. It's funny, this hay doesn't butter my bread but feels so valuable and important to me. I am working with an older guy who is teaching me the ins and outs of hay and hope to soon do all parts of the process in house.


1st_Cut_Barn6_Bobcat.jpg



1st_Cut_Barn1.jpg




1st_Cut_7_InField.jpg
 
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FrancisK

Kingfisher
Gold Member
A bit off topic but I had a question for people who know better. My father has two old Ford tractors, one from the 50’s and one from the 80’s, both run great and have all the toys. He would like me to sell them as he has downsized his farming and doesn’t need two commercial tractors anymore. I’m having trouble finding comps and he keeps telling me to put them up for these outrageous prices saying that the old analog tractors are in huge demand fetching big prices.

Any truth in that?
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Is it worth it making hay, if you don't have your own cows?
Do you plan on raising cows in the future? It would go a long way towards autarky and independece from the super market.

Bison in the future for me. Hay is a transition into it but I've found it pretty interesting so far. One of the best things about hay is you make direct connections with meat producers, so while it's not your own autarky, it is community focused and local man to man connections are made which generate loyalty. In other words, if I feed a guys beef, I'd guess I'd get first crack at the meat. But it hasn't gone that way - yet.

A couple thoughts on the hay biz:
- If you have storage capacity (read barn) that helps big time, you can hold your hay into the winter while farmers who have livestock fill their storage space (barns) off their hay fields. Many farmers with hay have livestock, but many don't have quite enough storage to get their livestock through the winter, so they come around looking for hay when their feed stores start drying up. This works better or worse depending on the season, yields etc etc. This year in my area, some old hay fields have been switched over to corn/beans for the quick cash crop buck, which might accelarate the whole process
- The harvesting machinery is relatively cheap. You could get a mower, rake, and baler for about 30K. Granted this wouldn't be "primo" equipment and might require a little service or mechanical skills. Still, the big corn/bean/grain combines these days cost 200K easy and going with a lower cost combine is a dicey proposition in terms of service costs. So with hay you can take your own crop off.
- Small square bales are generally sold locally for cash, so there is a cash component to hay which can simplify paperwork and reduce taxes. If you have a small trailer you can make a little hustle of delivering locally. All that said, the work in small square baling, being out there in hot afternoons hauling bale after bale is a tough job.
- For me I have a bobcat which means I can stack and handle big bales, I can also float it with a trailer of my late fathers. This is a big deal as I can load up large round bales. If you do smalls this whole thing is avoided, but then you get the hard arse work! I do small squares too but I have young teenage nephews who I want to see bust their arses out there.
- As with most things related to farming, you kind of need an old guy to help you out, give you that old knowledge and tell you what to do.
 
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NoMoreTO

Ostrich
A bit off topic but I had a question for people who know better. My father has two old Ford tractors, one from the 50’s and one from the 80’s, both run great and have all the toys. He would like me to sell them as he has downsized his farming and doesn’t need two commercial tractors anymore. I’m having trouble finding comps and he keeps telling me to put them up for these outrageous prices saying that the old analog tractors are in huge demand fetching big prices.

Any truth in that?
Not off topic at all!

Prices are way up. My hay guy was talking to me about selling me his full set of hay equipment for 60K CAD last winter, now he wants 80K. He's watching the auctions and seeing what similar equipment is going for.

Here would be in my mind the process you should go through:
- Ask your Dad what he thinks it's worth these days. Key positives (eg. loader, 3pt hitch, pto working well, no major leaks, tires etc)
- Check into auctions and on the price of your tractor, you can also find comparables online with equipment dealers. In Canada, it's agdealer.com
- Put a nice price up on craigslist and see who shows interest, put your price high. This is what I do, people make offers, tell you the downsides, kick tires a little and it kind of sets a bar so to speak as to what the price is.
- When you're comfortable that you know the value, sell it to a farmer, or take it to an auction/sell it to a dealer.

If your father took good care of the tractors, farmers will appreciate meeting him and hearing the history of the tractor, how the maintenance was etc etc. Farmers buy at auction all the time but prefer to know where they are buying it from. Estate auctions are popular because people know "the guy died" as opposed to farmers taking in equipment and putting some lipstick on the pig and seeing what it goes for.

Personally I'd sell one and then wait a year before selling the other. Tractors and equipment could fly with inflation and if they are stored inside they are probably going up as much as a Stonk.
 

john_Jea

Sparrow
- If you have storage capacity (read barn) that helps big time, you can hold your hay into the winter while farmers who have livestock fill their storage space (barns) off their hay fields. Many farmers with hay have livestock, but many don't have quite enough storage to get their livestock through the winter, so they come around looking for hay when their feed stores start drying up. This works better or worse depending on the season, yields etc etc. This year in my area, some old hay fields have been switched over to corn/beans for the quick cash crop buck, which might accelarate the whole process

Why don't they plastic wrap the bales and keep them outside, is it a moisture related thing?
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Why don't they plastic wrap the bales and keep them outside, is it a moisture related thing?

Good point.

You can plastic wrap, it's a little more upfront (20K?) on the machinery as you need a baler with a wrapper but beats building a barn like the old days.

But the main difference as I understand it is alot of wrapped bales are "forage hay" not "dry hay". The main difference is the bales often aren't left to dry, so they aren't dry inside. The bale is wrapped up tight and actually ferments inside, I've heard some animals actually prefer it.

The other benefit of this is you can cut and wrap into the fall, this is because to bale hay you actually need a summer sun, fall the daylight is shortened and you lose heat, so it becomes tough to dry it.
 

Tex Cruise

Pelican
Good point.

You can plastic wrap, it's a little more upfront (20K?) on the machinery as you need a baler with a wrapper but beats building a barn like the old days.

But the main difference as I understand it is alot of wrapped bales are "forage hay" not "dry hay". The main difference is the bales often aren't left to dry, so they aren't dry inside. The bale is wrapped up tight and actually ferments inside, I've heard some animals actually prefer it.

The other benefit of this is you can cut and wrap into the fall, this is because to bale hay you actually need a summer sun, fall the daylight is shortened and you lose heat, so it becomes tough to dry it.
This is what I do. I bale most of my crop as silage rather than hay. Advantages are that it is more palatable for cattle, higher in nutrition than if the same crop was baled as hay, less prone to being damaged by mice and rats in storage, and can be stored outside.
Downsides are that it can't really be sold unless it's straight off the baler, and once you open the module, you really should use it all.
All we do is bale a little earlier, and bale (8x3x3 big square) still "green" then stack in modules 2 high and 3 wide and cover it immediately (usually late at night after raking/baling/carting) with silage plastic with dirt around the edges to seal it.
One year I had it wrapped in a "sausage" 2 bales high x 1 wide because that's the machine the contractor had. It does waste more plastic but less than wrapping bales individually. The way I do it is relatively cheap and easy, though I hope this year or next to have somebody come dig a bunker so I can bury approximately one year worth of feed using the same process but underground where it will keep indefinitely. above ground will last as long as the plastic does not get any holes in it from animals, birds, weeds growing through it, or UV deterioration, but that's usually only a couple of years. I've heard of 30 year old buried silage pits being opened in drought conditions, and the feed is as good as new.
 
What is the best way to get started with farming in a sub-tropical climate? I will probably buy 10 acres soon and would to like to provide food for me and my family. It would also be nice to have some overproduction to sale.

I thought about chickens and sheep, but I cannot find a precise number on how many sheep I can graze on 10 acres (rotational grazing).
 

budoslavic

Eagle
Orthodox
Gold Member
For the farmers who love antique tractors, these oldies are nice.

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Source
 
Does anyone have experience going through the process of buying a new tractor? Looking to get something in the neighborhood of 40hp, 4WD with a front loader.

Would consider buying used as well, but I like the option of a warranty on a new machine. Plus the recent price increases on used tractors seem to make the cost of buying new slightly less of an issue.

I’m brand new to the farming / homesteading world, so would be great to hear any insights or lessons learned.
 
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john_Jea

Sparrow
How is the regenerative farming journey going for you guys?

I am around half way through "Holistic management" by Allan Savory, The first half is more about the faults of industrial farming and there are a quite a few of them. I'm not sure if some of it is just fear mongering since he goes very hard on the global warming narrative.

Also at one point he mentions that he had done some work for/with the world bank in Africa! Do the elite have some angle on regen. farming. Maybe Regenerate all that land they've been buying in Africa if the solar grand minimum happens, any thoughts on this?

Lets get some life back in this thread:)
 

NickK

Kingfisher
Orthodox
How is the regenerative farming journey going for you guys?

I am around half way through "Holistic management" by Allan Savory, The first half is more about the faults of industrial farming and there are a quite a few of them. I'm not sure if some of it is just fear mongering since he goes very hard on the global warming narrative.

Also at one point he mentions that he had done some work for/with the world bank in Africa! Do the elite have some angle on regen. farming. Maybe Regenerate all that land they've been buying in Africa if the solar grand minimum happens, any thoughts on this?

Lets get some life back in this thread:)
All I know is that fertilizing and spraying my vineyard with all modern chemicals gives me 5 times more yield.

I tried a very conservative approach in the last 3 years and it clearly failed.
I could potentially have done better, if I had introduced chicken tractors. That could have fertilized the soil enough to get back to respectable yields.
But there is no escaping powdery mildew without chemicals.
 
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