Jhon Nick looks at key practices in small livestock farming in the second part of this series. In the first segment, he looked at 15 potential small farming ideas.
Key practices for small livestock farming:
The first thing that you should know is that you don’t need to be a farmer to start farming.
You just need some free time, some free space, and some knowledge about how to use modern technologies to increase your small farm’s productivity.
- Prepare the soil with compost, manure and other organic materials.
- Make a small paddock for each cow/bull with a feeder and a water tank.
- Try to use some natural solutions to get rid of insects, weeds and other pests.
- Buy sexed semen from an artificial insemination centre for high milk productivity.
- Purchase purebred animals from selected breeders;
- Provide ample space for grazing livestock. Rotate animals from one paddock to another to provide them fresh green grass every day to improve their health and milk production.
- Provide shade by planting trees around the farm or use movable shades made of plastic sheets supported by ropes or wires to keep cattle cool during summer season and dry during rainy season (but not too dry).
- Use bulls/cows’ natural instinct to build fences around paddocks.
Advantages of small farming:
There are many ways to grow food. Small farms that only grow food for themselves are one of the best ways.
In fact, there is a growing body of evidence that shows that it is the only sustainable way to feed the human population. Small farms have several advantages over large farming operations.
- First, because they use little or no mechanised equipment, small farming operations use less fossil fuel energy than large industrial farms.
- Second, small farms can help protect the environment by keeping a higher percentage of land in its natural state.
- Third, small farms grow more varieties of crops and have a wider range of crop types than large-scale monoculture farms.
- Finally, small-scale farming is more likely to be done in an environmentally friendly manner.
The advantages are that you are in control of what you grow and where you grow it. You can get the maximum benefit from the land that you are farming and also produce quality produce for minimal cost.
Small scale farming techniques for beginners:
- Raised bed vegetable gardening;
- Sheet mulching;
- Vertical gardening;
- Worm farms;
- Hand watering plants;
- Companion planting;
- Not all plants like the same conditions;
- Dealing with contamination;
- Learn to harvest at the right time and how to store your harvest properly;
- Fall garden rotation plan;
- Building your own greenhouse, and more.
Get clear on your goals and abilities:
The first thing anyone considering farming should do is research the area they want to begin or purchase an existing farm in.
We have suggested some initial arrangements. It is a good idea to write an argumentative essay before starting. Now you might be thinking how to write a cause and effect essay on farming? Then consider some constructive questions. When you find the answers to these questions, you are all set to start.
What is the climate like? Is there enough water? How much sunlight can you expect? What’s the soil quality like? Are there any farming neighbours in the vicinity that might be willing to share tips and tricks with you as well as possible trade items?
These are all important questions you need to ask yourself before beginning your journey into farming.
How to take help from technological techniques?
This article is going to discuss some of the common technological techniques for small scale farming.
The old-fashioned ways of farming were always the best and easiest way of learning all the tricks of the trade in the field of agriculture.
With the passage of time, people began to realize that using advanced techniques to produce more yields and more productive crops is a better way of farming.
It helps them in many ways, time management, low burden, low cost etc. For instance, a new telehandler is a comfort for many farmers.
Let’s move back to some useful techniques that you may apply;
- One such technique is hydroponics. It not only reduces our dependence on soil but also uses less water as compared to traditional farming methods. This method is best suited for growing vegetables, herbs, and other crops with high value per unit area. For example, lettuce can be grown at a density 10 times greater than in traditional soil-based systems.
- There are many different ways of going about planting seeds and growing plants. One way is through direct seeding, which means simply throwing seeds onto a tilled field and then watering them.
- Another common technique used is transplanting seedlings into fields after they have grown big enough in a greenhouse or some other protected environment. Transplanting allows farmers to get a jump start on growing their crops.
- One of the most common methods of small-scale farming is the use of the aquaponic system. The fish provide nutrients for the plants, and the plants, in turn, clean and purify the water for the fish. The system requires very little space, can be set up indoors, and doesn’t require a large initial investment. An aquaponic system can also be used to raise both carnivorous and vegetarian varieties of plants and fish.
- Crop rotation: One of the most important aspects of small-scale farming is crop rotation. This helps to ensure that nutrients are not depleted from the soil, and it helps to eliminate the possibility of a disease outbreak. When you rotate crops, you change what is planted in each area every year so that harmful diseases cannot get established in the soil, and you can take advantage of different planting schedules.
It is not necessary to get a degree in agriculture or farming. If you are passionate about it, start small.
Learn from the experts and understand the basics of farming and agricultural techniques. You can also take a course or do a certification programme in that field if you want to develop your skills in that domain.
Jhon’s speciality is in the area of content writing. He has been writing articles, blogs, newsletters and news releases for many years and has written for many clients in the past.
To get a proper analysis, you may ask an analyst as an essay writer to write a well-versed article about farming. So, they can provide you with a better plan.