7 Simple Tasks For A Better Farm
There are many things that have to be done in order for your farm to run optimally. These things can be burdensome and time-consuming, but often if you tackle these tasks regularly, you’ll cut down on your workload overall. Here are 7 Simple Tasks For A Better Farm.
Some of the tasks on this list will not make a huge difference, but they can all together make your farm work more efficiently. Also, if you have animals, they will be safer and happier with these tasks completed.
Fix up any broken fences ASAP
We’ve all been there. You look out the window and your dog has escaped onto the road, or your cows are in the neighbor’s pasture, or your sheep are making a meal of Mrs. Brown’s prize roses. And it always happens at the worst possible time.
Loss of livestock is a big loss for every rancher, but it can also cause other problems down the line. Animals that escape can eat and trample crops, get hit by cars, or be attacked by wild animals or dogs. You do not want to deal with the liability or social disputes that come with a neighbor’s dog killing your chickens. It is always best to fix fences right away so animals stay where they are supposed to be.
Check for breaks and weak spots frequently: A regular walk or ride around your pasture will help you spot any issues with your fence before the animals can get out and cause trouble. This is especially important at times when there isn’t enough grass in the fields e.g. during droughts or in winter time as this is when animals will try to escape in order to find food. Make repairs as soon as you spot them: While it may not always be possible to fix a break immediately, try to make repairs within 24 hours of spotting them.
Set up a rain barrel (or two)
Rain barrels are easy to buy and easy to set up. They can save you money on your water bill, while also helping the environment by reducing storm runoff. You can use the water in your garden or to wash your car too. A rain barrel is a great way to collect water for irrigation purposes. If you have a big farm, you may want to set up several barrels so that you can get more water. You can also store water in these barrels in case of an emergency. It’ll also save you money on your water bill! The average American household spends about $500 per year on water, and the average family uses 300 gallons of water a day.
Set up a livestock calendar
This involves making a plan for what you want to accomplish on the farm, and when. For instance, if you're raising cattle, when do you want to sell your livestock? When will you bring in new livestock? During which months will you give them medication? Etc. Having a calendar helps ensure that all tasks are completed in an orderly fashion and that nothing is forgotten.
If you're not using a calendar, you're probably missing out on several important details including:
The date of your animals' last hoof trim
The date of their last worming treatment
When to expect your next batch of chicks or goat kids
When the animal's pregnancy due date is
When your animals need vaccinations or other care
Tracking the information in a calendar will help you stay on top of these important tasks and ensure that your animals are getting the best possible care.
Keep records of farm expenses
"The most successful farmers are organized and detailed," says Gary Zimmer, an organic farmer from Wisconsin. "They have a plan and they follow through."
That's good advice for anyone looking to get off on the right foot. If you're starting a new farm, take time to make a financial plan. It doesn't have to be perfect, but it does need to be specific about what you hope to accomplish and when you hope to accomplish it.
It's vital you keep records of farm expenses. That will help you understand what kind of return you're getting from your investments in equipment, feed and seeds. You can keep track of your expenses and income with a simple, hand-written notebook — or, if you’re like me, you can use a spreadsheet and an app.
Rotate grazing areas
Rotating grazing areas is a vital part of healthy animal and pasture maintenance. Rotating cattle into different areas of your pasture will help reduce the amount of parasite larvae on the land, as well as give you more control over which plants your cattle are eating.
Rotating cattle grazing areas also allows you to use their manure as a natural fertilizer for your fields, which enriches your soil, and gives the grass that grows there more nutrients. This is especially important if you are farming organically and can't use chemical fertilizers.
Another benefit of rotating cattle grazing areas is it will help reduce soil erosion on your farm. By planting grass in areas that have been grazed, the roots of the grass will help hold the soil in place during rainstorms or heavy winds.
Clean up spilled grain and feed immediately
Feeding areas are often filled with debris from spilled grain and feed. This material is a breeding ground for bacteria and insects. When you spill some grain, clean it up immediately with a shovel or broom so it doesn't attract pests.
Even if you have a small amount of grain on the floor, don't just leave it there — sweep it up! Clean up spilled grain and feed immediately, as this attracts rodents and other pests that can harbor diseases and damage feed and equipment. If a silo is leaking, don't ignore it; repair it immediately.
Cover exposed pipes and wires
If you have wires or pipes running above the ground, cover them with something durable. This will protect them from weather-related wear and tear and reduce the chances of a malfunction. In addition, it will make your farm look more professional.
During hot summer days, metal pipes become very hot and can potentially burn or startle animals. Covering metal pipes with foam insulation or rubber hose is an easy way to minimize this risk. Power lines should be attached securely to posts so they do not come into direct contact with equipment or livestock.
Small farms can be a lot of work to maintain, especially for one operator. If you’re trying to run a small farm and don’t have any employees, it can be hard to stay on top of everything. We tried to cover some of the things you can do to optimize your farm maintenance this season. Hopefully these suggestions will help you get through your busy season in one piece!
Bonus Tip: Keep Your Equipment Clean! If you allow mud and dirt to build up on your equipment, you'll spend more time cleaning it than using it, and the equipment will degrade faster. Before you put anything away, clean off any dirt or grime so you don't have to spend time cleaning it before using it again later.