Farming Thread

Laner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Laner said:
I grew up spending a lot of time on my moms farm. My grandparents had a section of land which was mostly wheat and cattle.

At the moment I am back Alberta for Christmas and have been spending a lot of time with family. My uncle has a poplar farm and mill. My cousin has a section with alfalfa, rape seed, cattle and poultry. I have another uncle who just does hay for our pack and saddle horses used in the family hunting outfit. My cousin and his wife do wildflower honey in recent forest burns as well as raise horses for the hunting outfit. She also trains in horse archery out on their farm.

I lease on some few thousand acres of cranberry and blueberry. Some corn, hay and dairy cattle. The farm to the east of me has some goats and llamas, but not sure what for.

I am by no means a knowledgeable farmer but I have a lot of random info about a bunch of different things. More general kind of stuff and machinery repair.
I got to talk with my cousin last night for the first time in a few years. I didn't know that they have 4 sections of land. He is also a crop insurance adjuster so he has a lot of inside info into the Canadian farm world. I can pass him any questions anyone here might have.
 
Does anyone have any knowledge to point to where I can find out what my particular area would be good for farming? I'm a real estate guy and travel too frequently for work, but I am very interested in owning farmland and having an enterprising couple/individual rent out my land at a win-win rate.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
Vice_ said:
Does anyone have any knowledge to point to where I can find out what my particular area would be good for farming? I'm a real estate guy and travel too frequently for work, but I am very interested in owning farmland and having an enterprising couple/individual rent out my land at a win-win rate.
I saw this 24,000 acre parcel recently, looked like a good deal.

...average annual price gain for farmland was 8 percent since 2000...
Biggest Piece of Land for Sale in Canada
 

Bolly

Pelican
If any man is looking for a career change or maybe a younger man wanting to do something other than go stare at a whiteboard in college and wants to do something with some meaning and wanting to work out in the country but looking for a place to start here's an option. You could start by helping Make Dairy Great Again. God knows dairymen need the help. There's a total organized conspiracy against dairy. But anyway, here's a two year apprenticeship program that's even federally recognized. As far as I know it's the only actual apprenticeship in American agriculture.

So just like any other apprenticeship, you can come in knowing nothing, learn on the job under a Master Grazier in this case, and get paid for it. After you complete your 4,000 hours and all that you're ready to go be your own man after as a dairy herdsman or manager. Hell maybe even start your own place one day. Chances are your you'll have to move to Wisconsin or Iowa, but once you finish it's a ticket to work anywhere. Average salary for these guys is anywhere from 25k to 40k depending on the scale of the operation. Plus you get the other perks that come with working on a farm like housing, utilities, etc.

https://www.dga-national.org/




But just remember. If you become a dairyman, when you go out to bring the milk cows in at 4am you gotta put your chaps and spurs on. Always. No excuses. Even if you never get on a horse. Otherwise you ain't no cowboy. ;)

 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I was doing some research on establishing a pasture, hopefully for bison livestock.

>Aggressive plan would be to put the pasture in this spring on 100 acres probably using a custom operator, then cut and let it root in until bringing the herd in the following year.
>Cautious and Possibly smart Plan would be to sow two pastures on two small fields of 2 acres ourselves as a family using some of our smaller equipment, if it goes well than move ahead in following year on full acreage perhaps. This would push bringing the herd back a year but would ensure a good pasture.

A local guy is doing organic texas longhorns in the area, in which he recommends having a summer and cool season pasture mix.
The tall grass prairie field, initially planted for conservation purposes, has become integral to the ranch’s grazing program. It is a blend of locally sourced big bluestem, indian grass, switchgrass, showy tick trefoil and round-headed bush clover. These are heat-loving, drought-tolerant warm-season forages that aren’t ready to graze or hay until late July into August. The timing turned out to perfectly complement the early-season growth habit of the cool-season mixes, typically orchardgrass, tall fescue, ryegrass and white clover. Those paddocks are rotationally grazed to keep fresh forage in front of the cattle and recycle nutrients across the land.

“With temperatures frequently over 30 C here in summer, the cool-season grasses go dormant, so we open the native pastures, which have served nature in the meantime. By then the natives are shoulder height so we can pretty much park the herd there until the rains and cooler weather come back and the cool-season pastures start to produce again,”
Does anyone know of the benefits and drawbacks of sowing pasture in the Spring vs. Fall ? Anyone have any experience or tips in growing these grasses?
 

Bolly

Pelican
NoMoreTO said:
Does anyone know of the benefits and drawbacks of sowing pasture in the Spring vs. Fall ? Anyone have any experience or tips in growing these grasses?
I know someone who probably does. I'm headed back to work soon and gonna visit an old timer on a place I used to work on the way whose planted and farmed everything and anything. I can get back to you in a few weeks. We seed in spring where I'm at. Knock out all the weeds first.
 

Bolly

Pelican
NoMoreTO said:
Does anyone know of the benefits and drawbacks of sowing pasture in the Spring vs. Fall ? Anyone have any experience or tips in growing these grasses?
Those grasses no. Where I work we seed in the spring, but I don't do much farming anymore for the place, and I'm hesitant to give advice because there's so many variables at play with farming like region and climate. But I'm going back into the suck pretty soon myself for the rest of the year. Gonna drop by on my way and visit an old timer I used to work with whose farmed anything and everything. He may be familiar with your grasses. I'll see what he says and get back to you in a couple weeks.

Oh and my 2 cents for what it's worth. I'd go with the cautious plan even if it means bringing in the herd later. Fast is slow, slow is fast on a ranch. Especially with livestock.
 

Bartimaeus Rex

Robin
Gold Member
Big fan of this thread. I grew up in the northern Midwest, and we had a total of ~6,125 sq ft of homestead gardening. We grew corn, beans, cucumbers, potatoes, tomatoes, blackberries, raspberries, strawberries, and various herbs. We also kept chickens and ducks, mostly for eggs.

I've moved around a lot since then, but while living in the Northeast I grew watermelon, pumpkins, and both bell and jalapeno peppers with good success. I'm settled down in Alaska now with a decent acreage for myself and am hoping to start again, though smaller than in the past. I want to try my hand at geese and turkeys as well, and perhaps livestock such as pigs.

Looking forward to reading more of this thread as the posts come in.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
This year I will be working to establish a pasture. I just made a little deal with the family. After that, if things go well and the funding is in place after that I can go for building some fencing and buying some Bison.
- There is a perennial rye grass that was put down before winter on half the land, I was thinking of letting that grow in and overseeding into it with clover and alfalfa.
- The other half I think I will have to sow from Scratch. It had corn in it last year.

Gotta check the pH.
 

Cortés

Woodpecker
Gold Member
Some great info on this thread. I've worked on a farm on and off for a few years (growing flowers and vegetables in individual pots, nursery supplier) and I love the repetitive but calming pace of the work. There's something awesome about working with your hands all day in the summer sun helping something grow from seed to sprout.

I've really thought about maybe buying a farm and going rural some day. Living off the land growing my own food and I little surplus just to make a bit of spending money. With land/a small cabin and harvests to feed a few people, being self sufficient wouldn't be a bad life on the cheap.

How do you guys go about selling your crops? It seems like some of you have a farm that produces big amounts of food, so do you guys sell to a distributor? How do you go about setting that up? Are distributors very selective, or is it easy to find someone to buy acres worth of harvest?

If I were to live this life I would buy land somewhere in south America and harvest a few acres worth of coffee or fruits to sell. I would only need maybe a few hundred dollars profit a month to be content, not thousands of dollars. Anyone happen to know if it generally works the same way down there, or if the producer has to make connections with restaurants or the mercados directly?

Hopefully be some day I can contribute to this thread with my own experiences!
 

Laner

Hummingbird
Gold Member
Cortés said:
Some great info on this thread. I've worked on a farm on and off for a few years (growing flowers and vegetables in individual pots, nursery supplier) and I love the repetitive but calming pace of the work. There's something awesome about working with your hands all day in the summer sun helping something grow from seed to sprout.

I've really thought about maybe buying a farm and going rural some day. Living off the land growing my own food and I little surplus just to make a bit of spending money. With land/a small cabin and harvests to feed a few people, being self sufficient wouldn't be a bad life on the cheap.

How do you guys go about selling your crops? It seems like some of you have a farm that produces big amounts of food, so do you guys sell to a distributor? How do you go about setting that up? Are distributors very selective, or is it easy to find someone to buy acres worth of harvest?

If I were to live this life I would buy land somewhere in south America and harvest a few acres worth of coffee or fruits to sell. I would only need maybe a few hundred dollars profit a month to be content, not thousands of dollars. Anyone happen to know if it generally works the same way down there, or if the producer has to make connections with restaurants or the mercados directly?

Hopefully be some day I can contribute to this thread with my own experiences!
Not sure about other places, but in the Peoples Republic of Canada most things are sold to monopolies. My grandpa sold his wheat to the Canadian Wheat Board. On my farm now all the cranberries are sold to Oceanspray, which is technically a collective, but operates as a monopoly.
 

Bolly

Pelican
Cortés said:
How do you guys go about selling your crops?
I'll stick to what I know. Hay and beef. But where I'm at we put up hay for a local market with buyers that have been built up over the years. People wanting winter forage for livestock, mostly beef cattle, is what it goes towards. We hold back a certain amount for our own cows for winter feeding but we produce enough to sell also.

And for the beeves when they're ready; they get trucked to auction. Usually purchased by some feedlot where they'll go to spend the rest of their days getting fatter for slaughter. To get from to someone's table it's about two year process of blood sweat and tears for that slab of beef that's gone in 10 minutes.

But that's a pretty typical model for most hay and beef operations. Some guys put up only hay for their own cows others don't put up any hay and choose to buy. Or if you're in places like California you can graze all year. You hope. And pray. Just whatever makes the numbers work out for them. For cattle you can secure deals with big boys, or places like McDonald's etc...if you're big enough. But i mean we're talking like thousands of head of cattle for you to get any attention. And if you put up top quality dairy hay you can have big market selling to dairies.

Cortés said:
If I were to live this life I would buy land somewhere in south America and harvest a few acres worth of coffee or fruits to sell.
I did volunteer stuff around parts of South America for awhile doing dairy, sheep, beef and grape harvesting. Thought the same once about South America when I was more infatuated with the place. There's still a couple places I'm curious about before I finally say no way. But rural South America is a whole nother ball game and not for the for the faint of heart. If an outsider can handle it power to him. Dunno if you're from Brazil orginally but I'm speaking as a gringo. For for me I don't have patience for business practices, or should I say lack thereof, political inefficiency and theft in South America. If you are Brazilian I don't say that to be mean spirited but, like Donald Trump would say, is a bit of a rough neighborhood. I never got into the business side of things down there but farm co ops are big thing for them especially for small guys.

Cortés said:
There's something awesome about working with your hands all day in the summer sun helping something grow from seed to sprout.
I like reading things like this. It's why encourage a lot of guys I meet to look into it as a job choice even if only for a season or two. But like in hay farming. Long hours in the tractor, and breakdowns swearing at the machinery can be pretty miserable at times. But when you look back on the field you cut, raked and baled and it kinda looks like a golf course with pretty bales all freshly sprinkled around and the sun going down is a beautiful sight to see knowing they'll go to feed cows which will feed a nation is an amazing feeling. Makes it all worth it. And even the yearlings, calves or cull cows when they go to market. You're glad to see some go like the knuckleheads and fence jumpers. Others you bottle raised because they had a shitty mother you can't help but feel a little somber to see them go. But when they go down the road, even though it's to their fate, you know it was all worth it...

Especially 4th of July when everyones grilling, lol.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
NoMoreTO said:
This year I will be working to establish a pasture. I just made a little deal with the family. After that, if things go well and the funding is in place after that I can go for building some fencing and buying some Bison.
- There is a perennial rye grass that was put down before winter on half the land, I was thinking of letting that grow in and overseeding into it with clover and alfalfa.
- The other half I think I will have to sow from Scratch. It had corn in it last year.

Gotta check the pH.
I'm looking into frost seeding over top of this Rye. There will likely be some winter kill, I can incorporate in some other grasses and legumes. Seems like a low cost - low tech approach.

 

kel

Pelican
Spectrumwalker said:
Some guys put up only hay for their own cows others don't put up any hay and choose to buy. Or if you're in places like California you can graze all year.
Some regenerative farming practitioners claim to grass feed throughout the winter. I don't understand how this is possible, though, but there's videos of cows out in the snow (relatively thin snow, not like Fargo shit) rooting and eating. Seems like that would mean you're (way) underutilizing during the summer, but I'm just some city boy who's dreaming of this so I don't know what to believe.
 

Bolly

Pelican
kel said:
Some regenerative farming practitioners claim to grass feed throughout the winter. I don't understand how this is possible, though, but there's videos of cows out in the snow (relatively thin snow, not like Fargo shit) rooting and eating. Seems like that would mean you're (way) underutilizing during the summer, but I'm just some city boy who's dreaming of this so I don't know what to believe.
Depends on your region and climate really. The YouTube vids you mentioned don't know where theyre out of. With this stuff one size does not fit all. Ask 100 farmers the same question you'll get 100 different answers. In places with mild winters where snow kinda comes and goes you can still winter graze to an extent. Grass is still sleeping under the snow and cows do a pretty good job of finding food. Whether or not it's sustainable for a herd that's just up to that guys land productivity. Where I work it ain't Fargo, but can get pretty Fargoish. I mean to the point where tails and ears start freezing and falling off. But in between rolling out hay lines at chow time they're still out with their heads buried in the snow sniffing around for grass and snacking on what they can find. They are survivors. Not as much as Bison but they're still adaptive. But we wouldn't want them out there fighting over shrubs and short grass.

But even if you can winter graze you're still wanting hay as backup because you never know how bad things can get. Guys that let their cows winter graze still will roll out hay lines from time to time to make sure they're getting everything they need nutrient wise, maintain weight and then also help keep the warm when bad cold fronts come through. But yeah if you can winter graze that's ideal. Less hay you need to buy or put up the more can keep your costs down. And if you're smart and can hopefully afford to do so you save more hay than you think you might need. You don't wanna find yourself in a situation either like South Dakota a few years back where some freak blizzards came through early that no one was prepared for and like 100k cows were lost. It was sad. But that was more of a case of terrible timing than anything. Lots of cows were still out in summer pastures. Or like the Wyoming blizzard back in 1949 when you had the military air dropping hay bales out to guys. But again this is all region specific.

But Kel I've seen a couple of your posts you seem motivated about this stuff. I've kind of harped on this a couple of times elsewhere the past couple months but the best way to make your dreams happen with this stuff is the hard way. And nothing wrong with dreams, it all starts with a vision. But a man can only learn so much from youtube and books. With Trump in office the workforce in ag has been hit pretty hard for better or for worse. Now's a good time to go find work and learn the ropes. Don't matter if you're a city boy, as long as you're willing to learn, you don't always have to be. The only background I had before this was horses. You'll have catching up to do, but if you go to Google or Craigslist and just type in ranch/farm work etc, look for that guy who says he's willing to train and give him a call. Guys out there need the help.

Last year I went on a parts run to the "big city". Stopped in somewhere for lunch and was walking out back to my truck when a old rancher going in doubles back real quick to catch up with me. He said he saw my fencing tools in my bed and asked me if I was working anywhere. Told him yeah and all that, but he looked so despondent when I told him I was already with a place. He even started asking me what they were offering me in perks to see if he could outdo them haha. But he said, and this a direct quote, "I just can't find anyone, no one wants to work". There's opportunities out there. Who knows you may find work somewhere and get familiar with an area and get to know people. Which is important. You will need your neighbors who've been there for awhile and they'll have answers to important questions about what works and doesn't in the area to help make your dreams come true. Like my sig says, dreams are like horses, just catch one and ride it.

@nomoreto haven't forgot about the question. Ill have to give you an IOU though, ran outta time didn't get to see the guy but I will at some point.

Speaking of rolling out hay lines. I'm out for awhile gents. Winter playtime is over for me. Going back into the suck to feed and then calving starts. Gonna take advantage of shitty cell reception and detox my mind from the internet for awhile. Hope I don't re emerge to see everyone's dead of the Kung Flu Wu Flu. ✌
 

Bolly

Pelican
I found these on the Dakota blizzard I mentioned. This was a serious case of shit happens. When you have livestock you're gonna have deadstock too. This was deadstock on a huge scale.

 

kel

Pelican
Spectrumwalker said:
But Kel I've seen a couple of your posts you seem motivated about this stuff. I've kind of harped on this a couple of times elsewhere the past couple months but the best way to make your dreams happen with this stuff is the hard way. And nothing wrong with dreams, it all starts with a vision. But a man can only learn so much from youtube and books. With Trump in office the workforce in ag has been hit pretty hard for better or for worse. Now's a good time to go find work and learn the ropes. Don't matter if you're a city boy, as long as you're willing to learn, you don't always have to be. The only background I had before this was horses. You'll have catching up to do, but if you go to Google or Craigslist and just type in ranch/farm work etc, look for that guy who says he's willing to train and give him a call. Guys out there need the help.
It's something I've thought about, an internship of sorts. That said, to be vulgar about it, I just make too much at my current job. Soon I'll be able to work remotely, so my plan is to start small with a few sheep rotated daily and pastured layer hens following four days behind them as recommended. I can do this and keep working my "real" job, get experience, make mistakes along the way of course. The difference in pay is such that even if I majorly fucked up and everything died I'd still be coming out ahead. And would hopefully do better the following year. Frankly, even sweeter would be if I could hire someone with experience to do it with me. They get fair pay and the whole nine, and I get to learn from them. First I need to figure out where I'm doing all this (and it will probably be Fargo-ish territory, so that's why I'm reading/watching so much about winter grazing, people like Greg Judy who have the benefit of being in Missouri).
 
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