Farming Thread

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I have about 700 Small Square Bales up in the hayloft. Its mostly a "Strawy" Oat Hay, along with some "Hayey" Oat Straw.

I sold 13 for $5 each to a local farmer tonight. He is using them for his beef, but will feed some to his Pigeons too. Apparently, he farms pigeons and sells them to a wholesaler in Toronto who then distributes them out to Chinese in Toronto who view Pigeon as a staple.

$65 obviously isn't a ton of money, but if these pigeons take to the hay, he might be a good customer. I'd like to clear the hayloft out and sell all 700 or at least half of it to a single customer. His farm is about 3 miles from mine so we could haul it all down there before winter comes and the salt is on the ground which isn't good for the tractor.

Using the pickup isn't the most efficient, but I was happy to shake hands and meet another local farmer.

I sold my large bales to a big producer, but in a way would rather have these simple farmer to farmer connections if I can do it.

Small_Squares1.jpg
 

PUA_Rachacha

Woodpecker
This is my favorite thread on RV at the moment. Allows me to see how you guys do it, from up in Calgary to down in Panama. There is something so tranquil about farming (although it is physically toiling), something that connects one closer to Him.

I'll get there one day when I can walk away from this office job, until then I'll live vicariously through you guys. Keep up the great work!
 

SouthernTory

Sparrow
Really finding the farm helpful during this time plus when you take a break and look out on nature you realise what is important and feel your faith grow.



Looking out over farm orchard.



Not sure what kind of tree this is bit it is in full flower in November!
 

john_Jea

Pigeon
I was raised on a tobacco farm in Canada and worked on the farm from the age of 12 to 25.
I had been thinking about asking if anyone had experience with growing tobacco but I assumed that it would probably be unlikely, and then I read the first post, surreal.

For some reason I have gotten this irrational interest in growing tobacco, I say irrational because
a) I'm not really in the climate for growing it.
b) I have no interest in using tobacco, never used any tobacco product and always rejected when offered.

And yet I really want to try growing it.

I order some virgina gold seeds that I'll try planting come spring, not sure what the differences are between plants other than what what is said in this video.


Now I didn't know tobacco could be grown so far up north commercially, how are the average summer temperatures and how long is the growing/drying season?
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I had been thinking about asking if anyone had experience with growing tobacco but I assumed that it would probably be unlikely, and then I read the first post, surreal.

For some reason I have gotten this irrational interest in growing tobacco, I say irrational because
a) I'm not really in the climate for growing it.
b) I have no interest in using tobacco, never used any tobacco product and always rejected when offered.

And yet I really want to try growing it.

I order some virgina gold seeds that I'll try planting come spring, not sure what the differences are between plants other than what what is said in this video.


Now I didn't know tobacco could be grown so far up north commercially, how are the average summer temperatures and how long is the growing/drying season?

Typically today Tobacco is grown in North Carolina. You need a sandy loam soil to grow it. In North Carolina they have more than enough time to grow tobacco. Up in Southern Ontario, you have to get it in after the spring frosts around May 20 and out by September 20 before the frost. But the tobacco is planted in the greenhouse in March, so 6 months start to finish.

For drying, tobacco is dried in a kiln. There is an element of skill or artisanry here.

Remember it's a controlled substance, so you might have to understand the laws in your state.
 

john_Jea

Pigeon
You need a sandy loam soil to grow it

Don't have that... the soil here is very nutritious and allows water to flow through at a reasonable pace, but it contains very little sand and clay. The advantages of sandy loam are how water drains through it and the air in the soil, correct?

Up in Southern Ontario, you have to get it in after the spring frosts around May 20 and out by September 20 before the frost. But the tobacco is planted in the greenhouse in March, so 6 months start to finish.

That would be the same time frame I have to work with, I will probably need to figure out some set up to keep heat on the seeds/seedlings, I have seen some diverse info on how to sprout and grow them initially so I'm not quite sure how I'll go about that.

For drying, tobacco is dried in a kiln. There is an element of skill or artisanry here.

I think I´ll do a DIY fridge kiln since I already have a fridge, I need to look more into that tho.

Remember it's a controlled substance, so you might have to understand the laws in your state.

The only law regarding tobacco here is that only the government can import it. I also saw some people in the papers growing it so I think I'm good (as long as I don't try to sell it).
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I completed my first year farming this year on a 60 acre plot on a small farm I bought just before the pandemic. I'm looking to get into livestock, but am also considering a hay operation on some family land for profit and to provide Hay to my livestock. I also am planning to do more cuts of hay next season to stock my barn while I build my fence and habitat for the animals.

For Hay, I got in with a medium sized custom farmer who has been in the game a long time. I leaned on his knowledge and also his equipment and skills. The entry price for farm equipment to get started would have been at least 50K. For myself, if I knew I was going into something longer term with hay, I might want to get better equipment than the cheapest stuff. Old equipment isn't always the cheap equipment with higher long term maintenance issues and pain in the ass factor. Not saying it can't be done on the cheap, but it depends on your skillset. Fixing equipment that I just bought doesn't seem like a good idea.

We grew oats as a cover crop, with pasture underneath. We combined about 30 acres of oats. This gave us about half straw, and half hay.

We did both large rounds and small squares.

- For planting, I leaned on him for the land prep, and bought a brillion seeder to put down my pasture. He ended up drilling in some oats as a cover crop and I went behind him with the seeder.
- For the small squares, I provided the labour with a couple nephews and a buddy. It was a hustle for an office guy like me, but it was a good chance to learn. I've got a hayloft so I put all the small squares up there to fill the barn up. If you're not living on the farm, these are a bit of a pain to sell. I went down there tonight to sell 8 for $40. Which feels more like a not for profit right now. But hoping to get some steady customers coming back.
- For the Large Rounds, I brought the tractor which pulled his wagons up to the barn, and I used a bobcat to load the bales onto the wagons. I was expecting to have people come to my farm and have to load them up, but we ended up shipping the bales out direct off the field to a big local feedlot.

Next year I'd like to outsource a little less. I might pick up a small square baler and basically do that part on my own. It's just as cost effective at the moment to have him come over and do the mowing and raking, but not sure.

Buying good equipment takes time. Especially if you're looking on a budget. For myself, I like the idea of having my go to guy, then leaning into certain parts over time. It took me months to find a good used tractor at a fair price, and the time spent searching was a big saving.

The other thing to think about is forage, up here we likely have similar weather to Michigan. All the guys do their late cut in wrapped forage, because the hay doesn't have enough light or heat to dry. Because I'm in the pasture game and I was paying my custom guy, I didn't cut for forage in september, I decided to let it root in. But all the guys running with their own gear doing hay seem to be doing this.

A bit of a ramble but this is my rookie experience. I also found my hay wasn't quite the primo hay I thought it would be, and margins were pretty tight. Part of that is that I was paying a guy to help me, but the cheque you gotta cut for machinery is large.

All in all a good year.
 
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