Profitable small farms – how to build one? It is not an easy question to answer! We can start with an organic vegetable farm. The first thing in vegetable farming is to set your goals. Let us make the farming a full time venture.
To raise a family with a better quality of life, we have to take careful steps while crafting a farm. We need to deliver our best and sincere efforts to gain from it. It may not give considerable profit during the early days. But we have to throw our attention to long term goals. It is very much achievable through effective marketing, business management, growing seasonal crops and keeping an account of the records.
Profitable small farms – Let’s do it
Soils and Crops
Organic vegetables must be grown on a land that should not contain prohibited substances on it. To get certified as an organic farm we have to avoid all synthetic materials while farming. Soil fertility is approached not only to feed the current year’s crop but to continuously build organic matter and improve soil tilth through the use of organic manure. Organic seeds must be used when you are growing an organic crop.
Livestock manures enrich the soil with nitrogen. Nitrogen is an important requirement for soil to give its full potential. Use compost as major fertilizer. When you first start farming, it may be necessary to use slow-release sources of minerals, to correct mineral deficiencies in the soil. Between 20 percent and 40 percent of a plant’s total carbohydrate production is released into the soil through its roots. So after each cultivation, soil is improved with carbohydrates.
Our start up agriculture equipments must be inexpensive to buy and maintain. Easily available metal tools like spike harrows are used to make soil ready for cultivation. Then tools for irrigation, fertilizing the soil, weed and pest control and harvesting are to be bought. If the farm spans more than 4 acres, then high end machineries may be needed according to the situation of the farmer.
To avoid inconsistent seeding and low yields, better irrigation system – either traditional or scientific – is required. Drip irrigation system, Sprinkler system, Hydroponics or centre pivot system can be selected according to the nature of the land, cost and availability of water.
Pests and Weeds
It is important to control pests and weeds to get a fair harvest. But in organic farming, we have only organic tools to control them. So it needs some effort. Biological pest control, bio weedicide, use of nets, floating row covers, pheromone traps, sticky traps, insecticidal soap, oil sprays, parasitic nematodes are used for the control of pests and weeds widely. We can select a strategy according to the situation in hand.
Knowing that labor is the biggest challenge. Knowing which crops take longest to harvest and prepare for market will help to decide where to spend money on equipment, and where to try techniques. Judging when vegetables are ripe and ready for harvest is the primary concern about a crop harvesting. They must be picked up at the right time for a better storage and marketing. Different crops require different methods of harvesting. Choose an affordable way to harvest.
Washing root crops is also labor intensive. So efficient management techniques must be used to reduce the cost.
How can you sell your crops? A good marketing plan is an absolute must for a successful farm business. There are few many marketing strategies from local markets to online selling. You can sell through a variety of platforms but make sure you grow enough of each crop, and make the quality of your vegetables good. You can select from the following strategies that is helpful to you.
- Selling directly to customers through your own shop.
- Sell everything to your local market.
- Farmer’s market.
- Roadside or bus stands
- Wholesale market.
- Running delivery services.
- Retail shops.