Fellow Farmers, After spending the last two years as a weekend farmer (the first year was a full time farmer!) and learning a whole lot about myself, farming , people while making losses and still looking to go ahead- here are my questions which i believe a lot of people may also have -
- How do you ensure income is being generated at the farm on a regular basis -
- In the integrated farming method it is advisable to have multiple crops on your land - does that mean that the drip irrigation plan will need to be changed accordingly every time you rotate crops or change what you plant?
- Horticulture & Floriculture are looking to be the most lucrative of all streams followed by Dairy however you will not be able to generate enough revenue if you are selling unprocessed produce - what are experienced farmers doing which is making them successful in this space.
- Labour is the major issue and there seem to be better options by using mechanization however is there any direction on what the experienced farmers are using machines for and how that is helping them out ?
Since there are no answers yet - Here are my thoughts-
- How do you ensure income is being generated at the farm on a regular basis –
Free range Poultry – Chicken - Eggs / Meat; Emu?
Dairy – Milk/ Dung/
Sericulture? Mulberry Leaf production?
30 day crops like – Herbs (Coriander, Methi, Locally used Leafy Greens)
Sericulture- Worm and or Mulberry Leaf production?
Veggie patch – Tomato; Onion; Potato; Beans
Floriculture- Verities of Daily use Flowers- roses/ chrysanthemum (lower end)
Goattery- Raising Goats and or Sheep; Fishery on Ponds dug for water storage
Horticulture – Guava/ Mango/
Floriculture – Export oriented Flowers/ High value Flowers?
- Do you maintain books/records?
If yes, then i do not see why one cannot ascertain, what is the status of a particular plot/crop. Initially maintaining comprehensive records is the key to understanding your project. After some time you can run the figures in your head.
You will have to setup your irrigation in such a way as to take care of whatever crops you are planning to grow. Portable tapes, rain guns can take care of varied needs.
If your produce is low you can sell it locally. Once it increases you can look at options of value addition or bulk sales. This will depend on the crop and the investment amount too.
Mechanization is helpful. It is speedy and reliable. A starting point would be a weeder and a small tractor.It depends on your land holding and activities vis a vis manual labour.
In your second message you have put a whole lot of activities. Are you doing them all?
In my experience, Careful planning helps. One should aim to grow steadily and surely. Hope this helps
Good thread - hoping it speeds up. Planning and recording everything helps really keep tract of profit. I thought this was a good article (from UK though) on rounding up a great farm income statement:
Viv_n- That probably is one of the things i have not been good at. While i have a accurate record of the spend - i have failed to keep the record of income!!.
To answer the other question - Nope i am not doing any of them but i am trying to draw up a plan which i can show fellow farmers on how they can can plan and improve their income.
To all visitors for this question- Any piece of advice that you can share will be helpful to all so please do not hesitate to share information.
Which location you are farming? Your plan should include a combination of above based on the resources you have and cow/animal based farming.
Secondly, to keep a check on the farm inputs, you need to avoid chemical/fertilizer based farming. This will help in the long run. water is a min ingredient for farming other than land, then based on the water cycle, you need to plan for the crops.
Lastly, you need to sell your produce for a good rate realization. I do not recommend, that you need to sell yourself. It is not possible for all farmers to produce, nurture, plan, take remedial measures, sell the produce… Though most of the time people suggest to make the sale directly. The farmer also has 8-10 hours a day. So one cannot do everything himself; except you have family members who can take up each of the work. Without knowing the location of the area, it is not possible to forecast crop/plant mix.
Yes it should really be a team effort with diversity of strengths and skills!
This is indeed a nice topic that you have started and hopefully a lot of folks would contribute to it. I am pretty passionate about this as well but I will end up never completing this post - too much to write and thoughts running faster than what I can pen.
I want to directly jump to point number 4 and speak a little bit around mechanization:
Augur - This is an implement to drill holes in the ground with varying diameters. I had to erect 800 concrete poles as trellis. I was quoted a cost of INR 42 per hole and a time of 30 to 40 days. The cost of the augur was around 37000 INR and a running cost of 75 INR/hour for a liter of petrol. Each hole of diameter 4 inches and 20 inches deep took exactly 30 seconds. Daily labor was 400 INR and you can do the math. The poles fitted in perfectly as the hole was tubular as opposed to cone shaped (on virtue of drilling as compared to digging). Each hole was precise. I can use this augur to erect fencing posts etc.
Brush cutter - Earlier we had to employ women labor to weed and uproot. Two day activity use to cost almost 4000 to 5000 INR. Weeding can be avoided by adopting better farm management techniques such as providing green cover, tight scheduling etc but we had the need at that time. Brush cutter did cost us around 27,000 INR and operating cost of 50 INR per hour and things get done in half a day. We would have already broken even on this.
Mist blower - We have a mist blower to do foliar nutrition and spraying of natural insecticides/pesticides like Agnistra, Neemastra etc. The engulfing mist is very finely atomized and that has several benefits. Earlier, labor involved for hand spraying was huge and very time consuming.
Jeevamrut tank - We finally found it to be quite impractical to deliver jeevamrut by hand and opted for a tank which filters it so that it can be delivered via drip. Purists (and yours truly) initially cringed at the thought of not applying the culture but the labor cost was forbidding.
Tractor - I not a big fan of utilizing tractors on well formed soils. But tractors are still workhorses for a lot of other things. I have a small 22 HP tractor which we use for plenty of different things.
None of the above are really necessary for someone to take up farming or to be successful at it, but in my experience, after a particular field size they pay for themselves.
I do maintain a lot of data around like what activities are carried, the direct and indirect costs, such as cost per liter of Jeevamrut etc. In my opinion, this will actually help to bring down costs, find the right price to sell your wares, plan more efficiently and really get a thorough understanding to help run this venture as a business with the right amount of investment, financial controls, prudence and pricing.