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I'm taking up farming and need advice.

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by lonegunman, Mar 17, 2011.

  1. lonegunman

    lonegunman Eastern Washington Active Member

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    I bought myself a rifle range in the middle of nowhere a couple of years ago. Basically it is a chunk of old grazing land with nothing of particular interest in it, not even a tree. It is fairly flat and over 1/2 a mile off the road so nobody bothers you. When I am there the population is about 1 person per 5 square miles.

    I'm raising gongs and steel targets out to 750yds. They are carefully painted and all but invisible to the untrained eye.

    I'd like to do some work on it to return it to a more robust grassland, some pasture grasses are nearly four feet tall and reseed themselves. I enjoy the birds and occasional deer that wander by. It is apparent from the spped the yotes flee and the shyness of the deer there is hunting pressure and year round poaching in the area.

    Buying seed is not that tough, but I see my self owning a tractor or 4-wheeler with a harrow of some sort, sprayer and seed broadcaster as well to keep the place going. Has anyone ever raised a food plot? or tried to keep up a property over 40 acres?

    I'm looking for some pointers or a few ideas that might be useful.
     
  2. SnapShot

    SnapShot walla walla Member

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    ok so you have some soil, which grows stuff, and supports life, good first step.

    I assume you have access to alot of water? ... as farming goes, water is like gold, you dont get nothing with just a little .

    most food source foods will require more water to grow than say grass's or wildflowers. aka weeds to a farmer.

    if your serious about starting something, start getting serious about getting the ground ready to plant (between now and late april), tilling it up, killing off the weeds, making your rows and figuring out some kind of irrigation and drainage system. if you wanted to have great stuff this year, it should have already been in a greenhouse. but its still not to late.

    not sure how big of a plot you want to farm, but if you just get a 4wheeler and some attachments realize, small tools for small jobs. and dont try to push the go cart like a tractor.



    some pasture grasses are nearly four feet tall and reseed themselves -----

    --we call those weeds, and will choke the water (life) out of your operation,


    a good alternative is raised beds, take some wood, some dirt , make a box above the ground, easier to control the water, and you can use your best soil
     
  3. MarkAd

    MarkAd Port Orchard Well-Known Member

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    if you like deer I have been seeing some new feed crops that seem to work well.
    Now is the time to prep. If you have farming neighnors ask them for natural fertilizers and use heirloom seeds.
     
  4. trainsktg

    trainsktg Portland OR Well-Known Member

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    I suggest the book You Can Farm by Joel Salatin. Here is a link to the books he sells and you can read about it there. (There are alot of other good tidbits throughout the site too. It'd make for a good afternoon of browsing.)

    There are alot of people here in the PNW that actually travelled back to Joel's farm to intern and are now running successful local farm operations. It sounds like you are doing this more as a resource for you and your family, and not as a business, but the material should still apply.

    Keith
     
  5. gunnails

    gunnails Hillsboro Active Member

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    I would consider leasing the farming rights to a local farmer in the area who already has the expensive equipment and know how to farm your land. Hit the easy button.
     
  6. Redcap

    Redcap Lewis County, WA Well-Known Member

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    Get a tractor. 4wheelers just don't cut it. First things first, you need to figure out irrigation.
     
  7. elsullo

    elsullo Portland Oregon New Member

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    Sorry to be a wet blanket, but it there is not even a tree then there is not year-round water to sustain them (or you)! If even a juniper or a jack pine has not succeeded there, then only something like dry-land wheat farming could work, which requires good soil. The next bummer is that if that land has never been farmed, then it probably never could be---farmers have explored EVERYWHERE in the last hundred and fifty years and tried every possible patch of land. Are there other farms near you on similar land? Or are there even ruins of abandoned farms and ranches where they tried and died? The above suggestion to lease the land out for grazing is a good one, and will get you at least a little income if you are lucky. Talk to the locals and see what they suggest. However, keep your wallet hidden deep---rural folks can run some real cons on newcomers!........................elsullo
     
  8. marty8587

    marty8587 NE Portland Active Member

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    You don't have to water steel targets!!
     
  9. MA Duce

    MA Duce Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Don't make the mistake I did. Tried chicken farming. Complete bust. I either planted them too deep or not far enough apart......
     
  10. lonegunman

    lonegunman Eastern Washington Active Member

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    I'd like to put most of it into hay and grasses. They really would need a lot less water, some of them can grow three or four feet tall and someone could hay it if they needed the stuff. When the fences are all repaired I have a guy who could run a couple of cows in there part of the year. My only neighbor was farming it without a lease and is kind of a prick. We are polite enough but I built corners on the survey markers out of 6"x6" posts set 4' deep so he can find them. He ran them over with a tractor for the last guy, these are a bit tougher.

    No Chickens,,,,,,,,,got it.
     
  11. elsullo

    elsullo Portland Oregon New Member

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    I forgot to suggest your state Agricultural Extension Service, probably affiliated with a nearby university. These are govt/university scientists who specialize in assisting farmers and ranchers, and already paid for by your taxes! They know stuff.....................elsullo
     
  12. Mark W.

    Mark W. Silverton, OR Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    The state game dept would also be a great source of recomended crops for the critters. The state extension service for what would grow on your land.
     
  13. marty8587

    marty8587 NE Portland Active Member

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    do you plan to live there, or visit?
     
  14. lonegunman

    lonegunman Eastern Washington Active Member

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    Visit and camp there on occasion.