Saturday, December 31, 2011

A Brief Guide to Mushroom Farming

There are many people who are interested in mushroom farming and wish to know more about it. This article has been designed for readers who wish to know about the different techniques with which mushrooms are grown as well as the processes involved. First of all, you should know that burgeon farming cannot be done on a small piece of land, which means that you will require an appropriate setup in which to let your mushrooms grow. Otherwise, unless you are able to set up a controlled environment for your mushrooms, it will be very difficult for you to grow these burgeons without any hassle.

Mushroom farming requires an artificial set up, usually within a green house or a mushroom tunnel. This is because burgeons cannot be farmed in the open environment, which is why it is extremely important that you create a makeshift environment for your mushrooms to grow properly. Proper lighting, water and a carefully controlled ventilation system is important in the place where you are growing burgeons, mainly due to the fact that mushrooms require fresh air at certain times throughout their growing process. Water and lighting will also vary according to the stage of growth that your mushrooms are in.

Once that is done, you need to learn how to plant and farm those mushrooms, because different types of mushrooms have different requirements. Therefore, before you think about starting a mushrooming business, it is important that you learn about the types of burgeons that you can grow and the effort that you would need to put in if you wish to grow them properly.

Before proceeding with mushroom farming, it would be wise for a person to take a training course in order to understand the various types of mushrooms as well as the conditions in which they grow. Similarly, conversing about growing techniques with other farmers will also help you greatly in extracting tips and techniques with which you can improve your farming. You will also require mushroom farming equipment in order to harvest and properly store the mushrooms properly so that they don't turn bad.

Learning these things is extremely important for appropriate mushroom farming or otherwise it would be significantly difficult for people to be able to grow burgeons on their piece of land without any hassle at all. Learning about how to farm mushrooms is not difficult as well, mainly because a lot of resource material is available.

Feel free to visit our site for more information about mushroom farming.

View the original article here

Maintaining Your Mushroom Machinery

The entire intricate process of growing mushrooms that are not only edible but of superior quality and growing a bulk of such mushrooms requires more than just constant care and attention- it requires the right kind of machinery, mushroom machinery, to nurture the growing mushrooms also.

Mushroom machinery can typically be of various types, and each of these types of machinery is in turn specially oriented to care for the growing mushroom at a certain stage in its growth process. As the art of mushroom growing gained popularity, the skills along with the equipment used to grow the machine were gradually revolutionized to produce the greatest amount of crop yield with the least effort possible. With industrialization taking over every aspect of agriculture, machinery was introduced into the mushroom growing business also, eventually giving rise to the idea of mushroom machinery.

Today, while there are many techniques whereby mushroom farming may be practiced, the shelving system, developed by the Dutch remains one of the most popular ways to cultivate a mushroom farm. Specialized mushroom machinery is used, and these range from head filling machines, to hoppers, to compost machinery -- mushroom machinery truly has them all, while the list of actions that modern day mushroom machinery is able to carry out is truly endless also.

However, while the machines and their functions may all be amazing in themselves, it becomes essential to ascertain that they are maintained in perfect order for them to function properly also. Here, it is the shelving that needs to be maintained most carefully.

The one main disadvantage with the shelving system is that there is grate likelihood of the spread of disease or pests in the shelves. Since water runs down a shelf to water the mushrooms growing at the next level also, it means that once the spread of pests or infection begins, it will be difficult to control it. To prevent such a disaster from occurring, workers must regularly check the shelves to ensure that there is no pest infiltration that needs to be dealt with.

Naturally, aside from care and constant vigilance in attending to the mushroom crop, it is only the right machinery which helps a mushroom farmer to grow a commercially successful crop. It depends on wisely choosing the right equipment to work that farm with and then eventually maintaining all that equipment in prime working order to succeed at mushroom cultivation.

Need more information on Mushroom Machinery? Feel free to visit our site for more expert suggestions!

View the original article here

Cattle for Sale - Benefits of Livestock Agents

Livestock agents are a great asset when you have cattle for sale. They organise the buying and selling of cattle, they also provide guidance on cattle, farming supplies and stock market trends. The combination of your local knowledge and their knowledge of farm management and cattle will assist in making the bigger decisions clearer and give all the important information you require to make the right decisions.

Acquiring the assistance of a livestock agent when you have cattle for sale will help you avoid a fair bit of tiresome paper work as the livestock agent will take care of arranging import and export licences, documentation, freight and insurance, health testing and inspections. You will quickly see how beneficial a livestock agent is to your business and the process of selling your cattle either domestically or internationally will be significantly more efficient.

The agents are trained to gauge the value of your cattle and they will come to your farm to calculate the weight and condition of the animals you want to sell. They can also work on behalf of you by buying and selling on farms and via the auction process and organise transportation of animals to and from the farm leaving you with ample time to take care of making sure your business is in order.

You can rely on trained livestock agents to be diligent, direct, friendly, enduring and confident in their work. Their far reaching experience on many different types of farms and plenty of stock sales means they have an excellent understanding of various circumstances and can offer helpful and straightforward advice. Agents want to keep their clients happy so you can be certain of their commitment and attention. You can phone to arrange a meeting with them and they will come to your farm to discuss your cattle for sale and will assess the animals to come up with selling options. This might include the choice of selling at an auction, selling privately or selling to meat works. They will provide you with an estimated price and then leave it to you to decide whether to accept or try for another option but you can be assured that livestock agents will give you the best possible deal. It makes perfect sense to receive professional help when it comes to selling your cattle because they have the experience, the knowledge, the contacts and their ears tuned for extra information to give you the best possible assistance.

Kelly Livestock is the largest independently owned livestock Company in the Taranaki Region. If you are looking for cattle, dairy cows / herds for sale take a look at cattle for sale online here:

View the original article here

6 Ways to Recruit Talent in the Agriculture Industry

A major agriculture company recently complained to me that they had over 3000 jobs to fill in the Midwest and they could not find trained talent who were willing to take these jobs.

I know this might sound crazy if you are someone looking for a job or if you are in an industry where you are laying people off rather than having jobs to fill. However the media doesn't report on the jobs that are available they are more likely to report on the loss of jobs in America.

As a consultant and trainer in the agriculture industry (I grew up on a working farm so I have first hand knowledge of the mentality of agriculture people) I told the CEO on the phone that they had a PR problem. Interestingly about two weeks later there was news media coverage on CNN about jobs available in the agriculture industry.

There are a number of reasons why recruiting and retention is a challenge in the agriculture industry such as younger generations like Generation Y (those in their 20's) are shying away from labor jobs and are more attracted to technological fields and that Generation X (those in their 30's) do not want to be away from their families for long periods of time and thirdly that Zoomers (Baby boomers 50 and to about 28) are retiring.

But these reasons do not have to be seen as a negative when looking to recruit and retain specifically for the agriculture industry, rather there is an opportunity to focus and 'sell' the positives to each of the demographics so that we are providing custom lifestyle values that will entice talent to the industry.

Here are 6 ways to recruit in the agriculture industry:

#1- Build your recruitment campaigns around the values of each of the generations. For example driving a tractor today is very different than it used to be. Today's equipment is tricked out with the latest technology- users can access the web, use auto functions and have increased safety. This needs to be communicated to Generation Y's who can accept repetitive work tasks (like driving a tractor) if they are told about the positives. They can access Facebook or they can work mornings and afternoon and evenings free or some days they will be working 14 hours but they can work in a season and make as much money as they might make in a year at another job.

#2- Look at the communities and what they offer younger generations and families. Recently in Entrepreneur magazine (October 2011) there was an article about two Generation X agriculture employees who found that there was nothing for them to do outside of work in their small town, nor were their family activities that appealed to today's tech savvy kids. They set out to create weekly Wii and X Box championship gatherings and they set up a Web Cafe for brainstorming and sharing tech resources. An opportunity for an agriculture company is to find ways to add value and enhance the communities where they employ workers.

#3- Look for industries with similar values when recruiting- with many military workers returning home they are an ideal talent resource. Those who have worked in the military are typically disciplined, willing to work hard and are used to being away from family for periods of time.

#4- An obvious yet underused recruitment tool is referral incentives. Your existing talent pool is the perfect place to solicit for more workers that are exactly like them. Encourage your employees to use social media such as Twitter, Facebook and Linked In to reach out to their circles of influence to engage and invite their peers to join the agriculture industry.

#5- Use media more vigorously- You Tube is the 2nd highest search engine on the Internet- research shows that we are all drawn to video as a communication tool more than any other medium. Create modern, edgy and values focused video to tell your agriculture company story and to engage and invite talent to apply for jobs in your company. Video tape your happy workers of all ages and have them tell their story as to why they love the agriculture industry. Every one of your websites should have engaging video on your home page and on your recruitment pages.

#6- Once you have recruited you need to make sure you retain them. Most generation Y's will only stick around with any employer for a maximum of three years. Rather than see this as disloyal- see it as an opportunity to keep them for as long as you can. Positive on boarding strategies are crucial to increase retention as are recognition, rewards and good leadership. If companies are not focused on retention strategies then they will find themselves constantly recruiting because of high turnover.

It is an exciting time for the agriculture industry in 2011 and beyond- it's a great problem to have so many jobs available that other industries would love to have!

In order to recruit and retain for the agriculture industry we need to integrate what has worked in the past with new strategies that include technology, modifying hours and the way we work and matching what workers want with what your company can provide.

Cheryl is the President of Synthesis at Work Inc. and an internationally renowned keynote speaker. She provides practical tools and creative strategies for CEO's and their leaders to increase leadership skill that helps to recruit and retain top talent. Cheryl has worked in the agriculture industry for a number of years and grew up on a working farm in Saskatchewan Canada.

View the original article here

Livestock for Sale - Beef Farming Industry In NZ

Lying in the Pacific Ocean approximately 1,000 kilometres from Australia is located the most productive beef farming industry in the world... New Zealand. With a long history of providing world class dairy and agricultural products, the beef farming industry in NZ was the first to have no protection from imports from any part of the world. This was a result of the removal of all subsidisation of agricultural and dairy farming operations in New Zealand. Although the initial reaction was one of concern, with fear that the country's ability to compete in the world stage world be detrimentally affected, the application of external pressures from an open marketplace has worked to strengthen the beef farming industry in NZ.

The need to keep the quality of the agricultural and dairy product at its highest, as well as reduce the overall operating expenses, major investments were made into productive capacities which has resulted in a dairy industry that is simply second to none. This is why the New Zealand economy has been so resilient over the past twenty years, weathering well three global economic downturns.

New Zealand's economy is heavily dependent on overseas trade, from which a high proportion comes from dairy farming and agricultural. The performance of the dairy farming industry in NZ is directly representative of the health and performance of the New Zealand economy in general.

There have been numerous advances in dairy farming production methods, aiming to increase the productivity of specific tracts of land with new and improved inputs. One of the major factors relating to the productivity of the farm is the livestock held, with the preferred breeds producing more milk, gaining weight faster and responding better to the fertiliser, soil and nutritional inputs that are now a mainstay of the farming environment. The type livestock available for purchase, therefore, has a dramatic effect upon the productive capacities of the individual farms and farming industry. As a result, specialist businesses have that deal in livestock sales have been thriving, with the demand from farmers for quality livestock for sale increasing dramatically.

These businesses work as brokers in the beef farming industry in NZ, working closely with farmers to access the breed of livestock that is required for the farming operation, depending on their size, geography of the land and aims of production. In this sense, these businesses that focus on livestock for sale become a business partner, who provide valuable advice and access to quality livestock... what the dairy business is built upon.

Kelly Livestock is the largest independently owned livestock Company in the Taranaki Region. If you are looking for cattle, dairy cows / herds for sale take a look at livestock for sale online at

View the original article here

Dairy Farm Investment - Buying Into a Stable Industry

Dairy farm investment is a great option for investors as it is very popular and financially beneficial. It is usually arranged to make sure that best practice dairy farm management can be carried out by various equity managers on any given investment farm. The dairy industry makes up around a quarter of the export industry. Dissimilar to sheep which are mostly grown for their lamb and wool, cows are a much more lucrative option for the farming industry. They produce milk which is mostly used to manufacture things such as butter and cheese and a whole range of other food ingredients and nutritional products.

The importance and necessity of dairy farming makes it a good financial option because of its guaranteed demand. New Zealand heavily relies on the dairy industry for economic health and because there is enormous international demand for milk based products it is logical that so many investors are looking to this sector as an investment farm prospect. Dairy farms stand for a perfect financial opportunity for New Zealanders and overseas investors and over the past ten years the dairy farming industry has provided outstanding and stable returns and a secure asset.

Capital outlay on farms is usually decided by a cost benefit analysis and this is followed by a strategic shift to areas in technology and farming practices that enhance and ensure cow performance is top notch. Equity managers are a very important part to a business's viability and performance. They give stability to a business's performance as long term management steadiness provides for continuous knowledge and development. Such farms are founded and function in a way that will make certain that they perform at a sustainable intensity and meet all local and national regulations that are presently in place so investors know their assets are not in the wrong place.

The main production areas in New Zealand include: Waikato, Taranaki, Southland, Northland, Horowhenua, Manawatu and Westland. For those investors new to this agricultural industry, the milking season in New Zealand typically operates from 1 June to 31 May each year. New Zealander's herds mostly consist of Fresian and Fresian-cross cattle. The largest milk processing companies in NZ include: Fonterra, Tatua Co-operative Dairy Company, Westland Milk Products and Synlait.

New Zealand is one of the world's most competent and proficient dairy farming economies and has a large reputation for producing comprehensive international research, practices and products. There are over 13,000 farmers and between them they produce 1.25 billion kilograms of milk solids annually from around 3.5 million milking cows. This just goes to show why dairy farm investment is a lucrative option. If you are considering investing in the rural industry, then this sector is the perfect choice as it is forever improving and expanding. Find out more about this financial opportunity today.

Waibury Agricultural Investments owns and operates dairy farms and grazing-support farms situated predominantly in the North Canterbury region of New Zealand. Waibury secures on farm equity operators to increase the long-term productivity of these farms through prudent capital development if required. It maximises production, cash flow and expected payout and its resulting in increased capital value.

Find out more about our dairy farm investment opportunities here.

View the original article here

What You Need to Know About a Mushroom Farm

Running a mushroom farm is hectic business, and you will require a lot of care if you wish to start off your own mushroom ranch. However, if you are able to successfully grow a crop of mushrooms on your own, you can earn massive profits because the demand of mushrooms is quite high. The best thing that you can do is either export your mushrooms or you can think about selling them to the market. Now, on a mushroom ranch, there are a variety of different types of mushrooms that you can grow, which means that the amount of choice available is very diverse when it comes to opening a farm of mushrooms.

However, what you should know is that farming mushrooms is totally different as compared to farming plants. The soil or the compost that you will require to get a healthy growth of your mushrooms will need to be created very delicately, because if anything goes wrong with your soil creation, there are chances that none of the mushrooms will be able to sprout properly. Now, if you are able to grow bigger and better mushrooms, it is obvious that people would buy from you, and you can easily charge a higher price for your mushrooms.

But, the only way that you will be able to grow bigger mushrooms on a mushroom ranch is to ensure that you take good care of your mushroom plantation and read about how to farm them properly. Once you are able to properly understand the requirements of what needs to be done on a mushroom ranch, only then should you attempt to set it up. First of all, the most distinctive factor when it comes to opening a mushroom farm is that you must grow all the mushrooms in an enclosed, controlled environment.

Good quality mushrooms cannot be grown in the natural environment, as there is a great deal of factors that you should take care of, ranging from the precise time when you could introduce fresh air in to the crops of mushrooms, as well as when you must provide them with sprinkled water. Therefore, it is important that you set up large greenhouses if you wish to start a mushroom ranch. Even though it might be difficult at first, once you understand how a mushroom farming is done, it will be quite easy for you to earn profits from it.

If you need more information on mushroom farm, please feel free to visit our website!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Going, Going, Gone - Here Comes the Auctioneer

"SALE-O...SALE-O...Starting NOW! SALE-O...SALE-O..."

At last, it's the moment when three or four men in matching shirts and jeans and R.M. Williams boots, all sporting their shady Akubra hats - suddenly jump up on the long tray-top of the 'Sundries' truck...and the Auction begins.

The first order of business is to welcome all buyers and wish them success - then to name and often introduce the present property owner, and to tell the reason for this sale, on this day. Maybe this owner has sold his farm and is retiring...or moving to another home, another type of farming... or sometimes, right out of farming altogether, for one reason or another.

Then the auctioneer details the terms of the sale (e.g. payment to be made in full prior to removal of goods - except in the case of alternative financial arrangements having been made prior to the sale - usually for larger items, for instance). He also stresses the need to have a registered number - obtained from the temporary 'office' usually set up in one of the farm sheds. Only bids from registered buyers with their card displaying a large number will be recognised and accepted.

This preamble ends with a brief run-through of the order of the sale, with much arm waving and pointing to the rows of goods for sale. And now the auctioneer declares the sale open and begins his chant, describing the item (or box of items) and suggesting -

"Well, this one must be worth - ah-h-h, what would we say? $100? Do I hear 100?" (waits, looks around in all directions... no response, so he continues) "75 maybe? Oh, come on fellows - there MUST be a 50 out there somewhere...surely? This is a top quality (whatever)- worth every bit of $100. Come on! Don't be shy." (waits briefly again) "OK, 20 then. $20 only...YES! Thank you sir. I have a bid of $20 to get us started ladies and gentlemen. Do I hear $25?"

And so it progresses. The auctioneer and his assistants have their heads swiveling constantly, scanning the crowd for the anticipated bids; shouting loudly as they lunge forward, pointing in the general direction of the current bid, "YES!...on the right", or "Here's a third (or fourth) punter."

And, in the meantime, the auctioneer continues his spiel, repeating the increasing amount, interspersed with cajoling or challenging statements, one after another, to the participants. "It's back to you sir...yes, you over there, at the back. Surely you won't let this one slip through your fingers...just for a paltry $5 more??"

Until suddenly, no more bids are apparent - and then the auctioneer says, "OK $... No more bids? Are you sure? This will be the bargain of the sale! Sure? Going once...(pauses, looking in each direction) Going twice...(and then he claps his hands loudly). All done at the bargain price of $... to No... " - and he moves on to the next item as an assistant records the number on one of the many pages of a typed list on his clipboard. Periodically, as a sheet is filled, a 'runner' delivers it to the 'office' so the girls there can begin preparation of the individual dockets, ready for totaling when each buyer is finished.

How do so many auctioneers become such amazing entertainers - on top of all the practical demands of the job? It's a mystery, when you consider the scope of knowledge they require - firstly of the goods themselves, and to be able to recognise weird and wonderful and quite obscure 'parts' of tools or machinery dating from maybe decades ago. And then to be able to guess a reasonable price to start the bidding. How often does the final price end up SO close to the first opener offered by our auctioneer - despite dipping to alarmingly low levels before once again lifting to the heights? It happens far more often than you would believe.

And in between all of this - and his 'machine gun' delivery, he'll acknowledge people he knows - MANY of them - and by name as well! "Aw come on George. Let the moths out...they need some air!" - or, "Hey Fred...thought you were looking for one of these the other week. Here's a beauty for you...", and on and on he goes. Seriously awesome!

As well, the auctioneer and his assistants must be able to recognise the many and varied ways that! Ordinary people just lift their numbered card, or maybe point a finger skywards, whilst others hold their hand against their face and lift a finger - and either shake their head to stop bidding...or simply turn away.

Amongst the buyers, however, will be many who for one reason or another, don't want to be identified as an interested party. This can be the case when its maybe a scrap-metal buyer looking for ultimate bargains to melt down. The same is also true of the entrepreneur-type who will purchase something and 'do it up' and resell for a healthy profit. Now he would rather not be identified with this purchase price. Or maybe it's some wealthy local farmer who may have the price artificially boosted by other 'mock' buyers, just to see him pay more because - "he can afford it - old moneybags!" But then we have the 'regulars', sometimes other agents buying on behalf of individual farmers from their own area (which could well be quite some distance away).

Now we see the wink; the hand holding the chin, or a solid stare that means the bidder is still bidding; the eyebrow lift; the mouth or nose twitch - here a scratch, there a rub - truly, the choices are endless. An abrupt stop to any of these means the bidding is over for that individual - OR - he has been secretly successful.

Many fascinating aspects of human nature are demonstrated at a Farm Clearing Sale. One in particular, is a phenomenon that may involve a strange type of seemingly 'wannabe' status that all this selling can engender. What happens is that the usually sage and sensible men of the land suddenly throw caution to the wind in their sudden, overwhelming desire to 'own' a particular item - and the bidding goes higher...and higher. And you see ordinary people paying extraordinary prices - obviously far above their plans (or budget) - and sometimes even above new prices! Truly!

No warranties or guarantees - often, not even an Operating Manual! Must be tricky when they get it home. At such times, the seller first scratches his head in disbelief, and then rubs his hands with glee. And those 'in the know' of the appropriate price raise their eyebrows, exchange dubious glances, and sometimes share a snigger. "What was he thinking of?" their expressions obviously ask.

So the sale continues, usually for four or more hours, with the auctioneer cheerfully shouting his way through sundries and tools and fencing; stock feed and water troughs and crop seed; farm implements and machinery and vehicles - and somewhere in between - pens of stock - maybe cattle or sheep - or both. And he never misses a beat - and he almost always knows the going price of the day. If not, it's a modest, "OK fellers - set me right on these, will you? What do you reckon they're worth?

But that is a rare occurrence if it's stock or fodder or the farm 'gear'. He almost always seems to know these prices. No, this is most often heard towards the end of the sale, as he tackles a multitude of household goods - furniture, bedding, crockery and cutlery, ornaments, etc. etc. His requests for help on pricing - and his voice (finally starting to get just a little hoarse) - clearly show the end of the sale is near, and he couldn't be happier.

All that's left is to thank all the buyers for attending - and then take care of the minor detail of somehow getting his voice...and his enthusiasm, back in gear, ready to do it all again next week!

What a man! What a show!

© 2011 Christine Larsen All Rights Reserved Worldwide

If this story has whet your appetite for more information and atmosphere of the Farm Clearing Sale, please enjoy my other articles starting with the prefix - 'Going, Going...Gone - '

And if you want to get the true 'flavour and atmosphere' of the whole Farm Clearing Sale picture, have a look at my Squidoo lens - The Farmer Needs a Wife

I particularly love the fantastic YouTube video of an auction in the USA - not Australian - but so true to reality...just listen to that auctioneer! I have also written a section about the long-suffering Farmer's Wife's extra duties involved in these sales - whether 'Home or Away'. Enjoy!

View the original article here

Protecting UK Forestry Investments From Disease

Dangerous and destructive new pests are putting UK forests in serious danger, announced The Independent last week. Moreover, ineffective biosecurity has lead to the spread of exotic tree diseases that can be hazardous to vast areas of forestry investments in the country.

The issue has been a cause for concern even among policy makers and scientists lately. In her keynote speech at the Conservative Party Conference on October 2, 2011, Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman said: "Many of our native trees are dying. Bleeding canker in chestnuts, sudden oak death syndrome and a rampant disease skipping from species to species causing whole plantations to be felled."

Apparently, these diseases have become more prominent in the last decade, with the emerald ash borer from North America and the oak wilt disease being particularly disturbing. Both of these could spread through UK forests if effective biosecurity is not in place.

In addition, a survey by Hull University found out that spreading leaf miner caterpillars, which target horse chestnuts, could make the trees even more vulnerable to diseases. The larvae live in colonies as large as 700 on a single leaf and can quickly defoliate a large tree.

These persistent diseases can have serious implications for forestry investments in the UK, especially taking into consideration that these investments have enjoyed increased success in recent years. Forestry and wood processing contribute an estimated £7.2 billion in gross value added to the UK economy. Therefore, forestry diseases, if not properly dealt with, can have devastating effects not only on individual forestry investments, but also on the UK economy as a whole.

This begs the questions -- what is the main cause of the problem; and how can investors effectively deal with it. Experts believe that widespread diseases are typically caused by one of two reasons - globalization of plant trade, which can transmit plant diseases easily across borders; and climate change. Changes in temperatures lead to environmental changes in different geographic areas. Pests that cannot successfully adapt to their changing natural habitat move to other geographic regions in an effort to expand their living range.

So how can UK investors protect their forestry investments from the devastating effects of pests and plagues?

First and foremost, we suggest that investors assess the vulnerability of the lot before they tie their money to it. Looking carefully at the type of trees, the history of the lot and the disease patterns in the particular geographic area is crucial. The company operating the forest should have a track record documenting the probability rate of your forest suffering from an illness and how much that would cost you as an investor. There are also independent consultancy firms, which could be able to do the assessment for you.

Once you make your initial investment, effective tree management and biosecurity play a key role in protecting your forest from getting sick in the first place. Young trees need extra special care. Being more vulnerable, these stands should be carefully monitored from the very beginning. Proper selection of suitable tree species, and of suitable races of a given species, is also important. Trees become particularly susceptible to diseases when they are introduced to new areas, where they have not had sufficient time to adjust to the climate, environmental conditions and to build immunity against local pests.

In the case that your trees show signs of illness, according to experts, one of the most effective methods of preventing an outbreak is silviculture. This is the process of effectively tending, harvesting and recovering lost stands. Silviculture uses a combination of methodologies, depending on whether your investments has the goal of conserving a forest or you plan to generate your profits from timber production and sales.

Some of the methods silviculture employs are: thinning that remove dead trees or those with infected legions, thereby protecting the healthy ones; re-planting with more illness-resistant species; and choosing even-aged management (trees planted in the same year and growing in the same manner) vs. uneven-aged management (forest made up of multiple age-class trees) according to the characteristics of the disease.

The silviculture method works to not only successfully curb spreading diseases, but also to prevent outbreaks of insect pests, and accelerate the recovery of devastated stands.

Lats, but not least, insuring your forest at the time of initial investment might be a smart idea. While it will not protect your trees from illness per se, it will compensate for your losses in revenue if disaster strikes. Insurance companies will evaluate your lot and should be able to give you different policy options to choose from.

Forestry investments are long-term investments with a competitive financial potential. Investors should not forget, however, that these investments involve living species. Therefore, more than any other commodity investment, trees require adequate sustainability management if investors are to enjoy the maximum potential returns they can bear.

View the original article here

Markets for Deer Hides

Deer hides are the same as the hides of any other mammals. The hide is defined as the skin and fur of the animal; a deceased animal is skinned and the result is called the hide. In North America, deer hides come from a variety of deer species which include: reindeer, elk, moose and whitetail deer. Whitetail deer, with an estimated population of 30 million animals, are the most populous deer species in North America. This is an amazing rebound in population since whitetails were nearly extinct at the beginning of the twentieth century due to over-hunting. Subspecies of whitetail deer can be found in most states in the U.S., southern Canada and northern Mexico.

The United States has a long tradition of hunting wild game as a source of food and venison, as deer meat is called, is a tasty meat with lots of recipes for a variety of dishes. Millions of hunters in the United States obtain state hunting licenses to hunt whitetail deer; in fact, the State of Michigan has a huge deer population and sells over a million deer licenses per year. The hunting yield of deer hides in Michigan is estimated at 300,000 hides per year. In addition to hunting deer as game, there are a growing number of deer farms in the United States and Canada. These farms produce thousands of deer for meat, deer velvet and hides.

The hides of many of the wild deer harvested by hunters are sent to taxidermists to make into trophy mounts. The taxidermist uses the cape, which is the head, neck and shoulders of the hide, to create a replica of the original deer, which is called a mount or mounted deer. Usually large bucks with fully formed antlers are mounted as hunting trophies. Taxidermists also convert deer hides into rugs.

Many hunters or other individuals acquire deer hides which they tan into leather using the same techniques as the early American and Canadian pioneers. There is a large cottage industry for crafters who not only tan deer hides but use the leather to create custom leather goods that they sell in private shops or at craft festivals.

Several years ago, the province of Alberta, Canada investigated potential markets for the approximate 30,000 hides the area produces per year. China and the United States provide the largest market for these deer hides while Hong Kong and France represent potential markets as well.

Alan B. Stables is a freelance writer on alternative agriculture, has organized alternative agriculture events and has also been a guest speaker in Brazil, China, Egypt, Italy, Latvia and Spain, on how to market agricultural produce for maximum returns.

His writing includes topics such as alpaca farming, deer farming and other alternative farming species.

View the original article here

Pig Farming - The Rare Breeds

There are five major breeds of pig used on commercial pig units around the world, with commercial cross breeds /hybrids of these five being the main types of pig that you'll find, either indoors or in the field. They are the Large White, Landrace, Hampshire, Duroc and Pietrain.

But what of the many other breeds around the world? Do they have a place in the modern pig industry? Are they "rare for a reason", as the more cynical among the farming community would have it? Let's look at a few of them and see why things are as they are.

Towards the end of the nineteenth century in Europe the pig was a widespread back-yard necessity - it ate all the kitchen, garden, market and crop waste and turned it into a good quality protein and energy source for the rapidly industrializing populations. Pig units started to spring up near growing conurbations, and there was a need to improve the reproductive side of things. Historically, pig breeds had been locaiised/ regional phenomena, and not very prolific. Enter highly prolific breeds from China (for example to Meishan pig), which were crossed onto the locals in order to produce more pigs per sow every year.

The one breed to have missed out on this 'improvement', and therefore regarded as the most 'primitive' is the Tamworth. A brown/orange coloured pig with a very long noseand pricked ears, she is also known as the 'Old English Forest Pig' - and is one of the oldest breeds in the UK. Tamworths are milky, docile, hardy sows, and their meat has a distinctive strong flavour. Only 17 boars survived in the mid '70's following a long decline in numbers. In recent years the breed has been strengthened in numbers and quality by Australian imports.

The Berkshire pig: the Japanese love them, slaughterhouses don't (extremely fat with coarse black hair)! They are black, with distinctive pink feet and a pink blaze on their noses. First recorded as early as the 17th Century, the breed almost died out after World War 2: a specialist product, known in the USA as 'Black Gold'. Some supermarkets sell the Berkshire as a high value speciality line.

The 'Orchard Pig' or Gloucester Old Spot has been around for two or three centuries. Tough, hardy and quiet, with lopped ears that act as 'blinkers', this large pig is pink with a few black spots. In the UK it is the most numerous of the 'rare breeds'. Good carcass quality though too fat for modern processors. She is suited to outdoor production and specialised marketing. Recent research has looked at crossing the Gloucester onto commercial hybrid sows with the aim of producing quick growing, large litters which have the benefits of the sire's distinctive 'old fashioned' flavour: early results are encouraging, with excellent feedback from butchers and producers alike.

The Welsh is 'pear shaped' when viewed from the side or top, having deep hams, a long back and widely spaced legs. She is pink, and not unlike a Landrace to look at. An excellent bacon pig - the third most important sire line in the UK, originally from the Shropshire and Manchester breeds. Maybe less 'rare', and of increasing commercial interest, she's included here to show you where these breeds came from - yes, there was a 'Manchester Pig'!

Other 'rare breeds' include the Middle White, the British Lop, the Large Black and the British Saddleback (itself a mix of the Essex and Wessex Saddleback breeds). Each of these breeds has its champions, and (usually) very localised markets for their distinctive flavours.

These breeds are rare because there's no call for their more expensive (fatty, often more strongly flavoured, less tender) produce (in comparison to meat from commercial types: leaner, more tender, but sometimes bland tasting). They tend to be fat and grow slowly (thus costing more to get to slaughter weight). But they need preserving (having found loyal local markets to live amongst) to keep their hardiness and flavour traits available to breeders, either as terminal sires of as components in hybrid breeding programmes.

Andrew is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL), a farmer with twenty years agricultural experience, and worked for fifteen years in the global automotive industry.

View the original article here

Poultry Farming: Birds and Requirements

Simply defined, poultry farming is the activity of raising fowl for meat, eggs or feathers, and this can be done for commercial purposes or for personal use. These birds mostly comprise of chickens, ducks, turkeys and geese. Out of these, chickens are the most popularly farmed birds, mainly for their meat and eggs, with a large number of people all over the world practicing this type of poultry farming. If you are looking to start a poultry farm, there a few things you should consider before you undertake the project. Though it is not overly demanding, poultry farming requires adequate planning to ensure you benefit fully.

Types of Birds to Keep:
Before you start poultry farming, you need to decide on a few things. It is important to determine what kind of birds you want to farm with. This will be in line with the purpose for raising the birds. Here are some of the functions different fowl can fulfill.

Geese - They can be raised for their eggs, meat, feathers, breeding, weeding or simply kept as pets. Geese produce feathers that are used for making pillows, stuffed animals and comforters. If kept as pets, geese are not only good company, but will also keep the yard free of weeds. They are even good 'watch dogs' and deter strangers. Their meat is fresh and tasty just like their eggs. Furthermore, you can raise these animals for breeding purposes and sell them. Types of geese to raise include Emdens, Toulouse, African and Chinese geese.

Turkeys - These birds are popular in North America. This kind of poultry farming can be practiced for eggs, meat, breeding purposes, as pets or for show. The turkey is the symbolic meal associated with
Thanksgiving; so many people breed and sell these birds. There is the Narragansett, White, Bronze and Black Turkey.

Ducks - There are more meat breeds than egg breeds for this species. If you choose to farm with ducks, make sure you are aware of what breed you go for. Muscovys, White Pekins and Rouens are usually kept for meat while Indian runner ducks are good for eggs. Ducks and geese cohabit well and are commonly referred to as waterfowl. Make sure you have a pool of water nearby for them to wade in if you choose ducks.

Chickens - The most prevalent form of poultry farming, chickens offer necessary protein to humans and are always in high demand. You can farm chickens for their eggs, meat, feathers, manure or for breeding purposes. Chickens that are kept for their eggs are known as layers and those raised for meat are called broilers.

Poultry Farming Requirements:

Once you have decided on what type of poultry you want to farm with, the next step is to prepare a suitable area for the birds. This will include:

• The coop or farmhouse for your birds of choice. Depending on the fowl, the housing should suite the birds that will live there e.g. for chickens, the chicken coop should be raised off the ground and kept warm with adequate lighting, especially for when the chicks are fairly young.

• Food, proper sanitation and medical supplements are very essential in poultry farming. Ensure you have proper feeding equipment, the right food supplies and that the necessary vaccinations are administered.

• It is also advisable to have some experience and knowledge of poultry farming. There are many sources of information, e.g. poultry farming books, magazines, other poultry farmers and also the internet.

• Lastly, plan your finances to avoid mismanagement or overspending.

About the Author:

Poultry farming is available only in local rural places. Forming Poultry units need a low budget and a small land. So it is like generating income that is sufficient for the rural population. Click here for Hatcheries

View the original article here

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Environmental Benefits of Grass Fed Beef Farming

What if there was a way you could contribute to saving the environment just by making a conscious decision in your choice of beef? This is a personal satisfaction experienced by those who choose grass fed beef.

There are several benefits which grass feeding of cows has on the environment, and when compared to the environmental damage that occurs when cows are raised on a feed lot, the choice is not a difficult one to make.

Grass Fed Beef Helps Keep Water Clean

The manure from cows is rich and when properly managed, can lead to greater biodiversity in the water. The problem stems from when that manure is not well managed as is the case with feed lot beef. When it comes to water pollution, these are the common problems with feed lot beef:

The antibiotics that are fed to feed lot beef pass into the manure unchanged.Because the manure is so much and so heavy, it is often just dumped on soil in the nearest field.The excess manure causes erosion and the top soil is washed away (which is another problem on its own).This manure that is washed away with the top soil often ends up in the water supply and pollutes it, killing the fish, destroying the biodiversity and making the water unhealthy.

Grass feeding, through rotational grazing ensures that the manure is evenly distributed through the soil and is used to ensure the healthy growth of pasture plants. In addition, grass fed beef do not need antibiotics so their manure is free from that. There is no instance of excess manure and the problem of erosion as a result, does not exist.

Grass Fed Beef Can Improve the Quality of the Soil

Soil quality is important to farmers and years of farming have degraded the soil quality in parts of the United States. Grazing has been a traditional means of restoring degraded land. Recent studies have shown that not only do grass fed beef help in restoring soil quality, but they could also potentially contribute to bringing down greenhouse gasses by removing them from the atmosphere and trapping them in the soil where they can contribute to plant growth.

Grass Fed Beef Can Reduce Greenhouse Gasses

Generally, raising cows has been associated with the release of greenhouse gasses into the environment. Methane gas is a green house gas which is belched up by ruminants when they are digesting their food. Methane gas contributes to global warming. When grazing is properly managed it could potentially draw the gasses from the air into the soil to stimulate plant growth. Feedlots have no plants growing in them with just dirt.

Methane gas is not the only form of greenhouse emission that is associated with raising cows, there is also carbon dioxide. However, the growth of plant for grazing helps to remove the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and store in the soil.

When cows have been grass fed, it helps to reduce the impact of beef production on global warming.

The environmental benefits of grass fed beef are numerous. In addition to those listed above, grass fed beef keeps the air free from the air pollution which feed lot beef is known for. Eating grass fed beef is a way to keep you and the earth healthy.

View the original article here

New Tools for Planning and Building Electric Fences

Building a Fence

There is much to consider when facing the task of how to make a fence. Taking the time to thoughtfully plan the fence design is fundamental to achieving a well constructed fence that can be considered permanent in nature, lasting for many years. Electric fences happen to be the most cost effective type of fence, and obtaining free quotes from those who simply provide the plans without a stake in the cost of supplies is one way to achieve a most accurate price.

Start With a Good Plan

It would be uncommon to find that simple installation of electrical fencing did not result in the addition of extra elements. For this reason, it is worth the time to consider any and all of the potential extras in the preliminary planning for purposes of obtaining a realistic quote. An excellent way to get started is through the use satellite imagery and one of the several web based mapping applications that are available on the web to obtain accurate fence run estimates by mapping out fence runs before you undertake construction. Planning for contingencies in this way reveals the fencing materials needed, how much they will cost, and the best way to lay them out.

Advantages to Using Electric Fencing

Electric fences offer an easy way of erecting a boundary that is both safe and secure. They present a number of advantages over the traditional type of fence, not the least of which is the cost savings as they are much less expensive to install and provide a far better method of controlling livestock. Compared to barbed or woven-wire fences, electric fencing will prevent direct contact, thus eliminating wear-and-tear whilst reducing the risk to the animals as well.

There is the advantage of portability with choices of a permanent, semi-permanent, or temporary electric fences that may be powered with a number of optional energizers, from solar to battery to dedicated mains that supply enough efficient power to avoid shorts. Aesthetically, electrical fencing is far less visually obtrusive than a traditional fence as their minimal construction does not block any views.

Considerations in Plotting a Fence Map

Utilizing a satellite image of the area to be fenced and playing around with plans. This will provide the flexibility to be sure of all the possibilities in arriving at the optimal fence map.

When it comes to planning how to make a fence, consideration need to be given to the movement of the animals and their grazing patterns. It is most helpful to plan for the maximum efficiency of herd management and forage production. Mapping the entire property to include ponds, streams, roads, and buildings will enable consideration for watershed and other restricted areas.

Consider how the animals are going to be moved from one area to another and how they will get there. It can be extremely frustrating after the fact to find that hundreds of yards must be traversed in order to retrieve an item that is within ten to fifteen feet for lack of planning an extra gate or two. Also plan for the location of the sheltering and catch pens for the animals as well as for farm and irrigation equipment.

Obtaining independent electrical fencing plans that show what materials are needed, how to lay them out, and what to expect to pay for them will provide all that is needed ahead of time to know how to make a fence. In this way, the finished product will be both functional and efficient, lasting for many years to come. is a free online resource that allows farmers and land managers to plan, estimate and budget for their electric fence. Simply mark out your fence's boundary on the online imagery, click on print and a full plan showing pole distances, fence runs and build lists is provided. Electric fence costs are also provided.

View the original article here

What Is a Mushroom Tunnel?

If you are interested in growing mushrooms or are thinking about running a mushroom farm, there are certain methodologies that you would need to adapt if you wish to be able to successfully grow mushrooms on your farm. Unlike simple plantations, mushrooms require a lot of care and effort in order to be able to grow properly. Moreover, the difficult thing about growing mushrooms is that they cannot be grown in the natural environment, meaning you will require an artificially constructed, properly set up environment that is designed exclusively for mushroom growing. One of the best ways by which you can do that is by creating a mushroom tunnel.

As the name suggests, a mushroom tunnel is simply a tunnel that is set up in such a manner that it allows mushrooms to grow. Generally, mushroom tunnels do not range much in length, and require a proper construction in order to be set up properly. However, because mushrooms naturally grow in dark environments that are shielded from nature mostly, a mushroom tunnel will be a great thing for you to set up. However, one thing that you should know here is that mushroom tunnels are quite expensive and should only be purchased by those people who are avid mushroom farmers and know the ways and techniques by which mushroom farms are grown.

In order to set up a mushroom tunnel, you will require a great deal of space, so it is important that you have a vast expanse of land at your disposal if you think about establishing a mushroom tunnel. Proper construction will have to be carried out if you wish to create one of these tunnels, and the whole setup requires time to get created. However, once it is done, you can easily plant in the mushrooms in your tunnel.

In the professional mushroom growing business, there are many different types of ways by which mushrooms are grown, and some of the best ones are grown within the tunnels. This is because tunnels replicate the original environment that is required by mushrooms to grow, which is the reason why some of the rarest mushrooms are grown within tunnels. You can read more about them on the internet, and if you are thinking about starting a mushroom growing business, it will also help you greatly in understanding the variety of different environments in which mushrooms grow and how you must treat them to get the best crops.

If you need more information about mushroom tunnel, feel free to visit our website!

View the original article here

Diseases of Okra, Encounter With the Leaf Spot

I became a man because of a farmer's hand and I know that I will become a great man because of a farmer's wisdom.

Early this year I planted around 3000 okra seeds in my garden and luckily 2800 of the seeds have survived. I was so delighted watching my okra growing especially when time came that my garden turned into a bed of flowers.

Okra is one of those great vegetable plants that will give you both food and a therapeutic scenery within a garden. As okra flower develops further, it will then become a healthy pod -a proven great vegetable to be included in the menu.

Four months after I started harvesting my okra, I decided to prepare my garden for clearing purposes. At this stage my okra definitely has served its purpose, it gave me not only delicious pods but also an extra income for that matter.

After clearing my garden, I couldn't help but miss my lovely okra, hence, I decided to plant again for the second successive time. Like its predecessor, it was a smooth green variety and a very hardy plant.

Like what happened to the early batch, the new group of okra displayed its fantastic white flowers and covered the entire garden as it blooms. "Soon, I will be eating again a whole bunch of fresh and healthy okra pods", I told myself.

Until the day came when I noticed that the leaves of my okra appeared to be abnormal, leaves were rolled and starting to wilt and I know that it was a leaf spot disease (Cercospora abelmoschi). It is a warm weather disease affecting a considerable percentage of my okra population. It is brought by an aggressive fungus that facilitates wilting and abscises in okra plants.

Because I don't want to use any synthetic fungicide for my garden, I decided to uproot all infected okra and have them burned to prevent the disease from spreading.

Leaf spot disease of okra is common in the Philippines, most especially on the island of Mindanao. Listed below are among the known disease pathogens of okra (lady-finger).

DAMPING OFF (Pythium sp., Rhizoctonia sp.). It is usually the result of high seeding rate per area and planting against the season, meaning planting  okra when the soil is too cold.

SOUTHERN BLIGHT (Sclerotium rolfsii).  The fungus infects usually the root and stem of the okra and as it progresses, will result to wilting. Warm and humid weather is the favorite of this disease carrying fungus and if treatment is not made in the soonest possible time, it has the potential to explode in the field centers. Indication of infection includes coarse white fungal mat and can often be observed at the soil line.

WHITE MOLD (Sclerotinia sclerotiorum). This is a disease of okra when exposed to severe wet condition. Indication of the pathogen include: the presence of small, black resting structures (sclerotia) and a cottony, white mass (mycelium). Sclerotia, are the source of inoculum and are able to survive between crop cycles.

POWDERY MILDEW (Oidium asteris-punicei). Usually occurring during warm and dry season. The fungus coats the upper and lower leaf surfaces with a white mycelium. Severe infection will cause the leaves to roll upward and scorch

BLOSSOM BLIGHT/WET ROT (Choanephora cucurbitarum). Target of infection includes both young and old blossoms, young fruit, and wounded leaf tissues. As a result, newly opened blooms will split and collapse and affected parts will often soften and fall to the ground.

It is therefore highly recommended, especially for those like me advocating organic gardening, that when planting okra we should consider the:

1. Planting Season
2. Weather and Soil Condition and
3. The need of crop rotation.

View the original article here

Pig Farming - Artificial Vs Natural Insemination

Now here's a question - should I use a boar or a 'straw' (that is a sachet or bottle of diluted pig semen) to get my sows pregnant? This is equally pertinent a question if you have 1200 sows or one, and the reasoning is pretty similar given either scenario - so lets start by comparing the two.

Boars need feeding and housing; semen packs simply need ordering, delivering and storing. I say simply: you have to remember to order the semen in time for it to be as fresh as possible when your sows are ready to be inseminated; you need to be able to get it from the postman or courier to storage as quickly as possible; and you need to be able to store it at (as near as is possible) a constant seventeen degrees Celsius for the duration of it's viability (which is about a week from collection given a long-life diluent and the right storage conditions).

So with the semen packs you're not having to pay for feed, you're not having to muck out pens, and you aren't running the risk of being bitten, chased, gored or eaten by them either. A semen pack will not need veterinary attention and won't smell either! It's easier to handle, and the insemination technique is easily learnt - a 'knack' rather than a great skill.

A boar, however, can tell when a sow is at her most receptive (and encourage her to that point), deliver semen in large doses (200 - 300ml at a time) into the right place inside the sow, and give you a consistent product during his useful lifetime on your unit.

But it'll always be his genes, and with pig genetics advancing year on year the semen pack from the AI (artificial insemination) stud will always be at the forefront of breeding, giving you more and better pigs per sow per year, year after year. The semen pack enables you to use more than one breed or bloodline, and gives you access to the best commercial sires available - they are a cost effective way of improving your output, which with the very tight financial margins involved in the pig industry is essential. Basically, by the time the young boar you've bought or bred (or kept back from your fattening pens) is ready to work, a genetically superior boar will be available to you from the AI stud.

Using 'teaser' boars it is possible to detect when a sow is ready to be served, and then use AI to get her pregnant, serving two or three times during her 24 - 36 hour standing oestrus (a boar will only be able to manage two or three times a week). It's an easily learnt technique, and results are excellent: most commercial farms now use AI, keeping only a few boars to encourage and detect standing heats (when a sow is at her most fertile she'll stand still given a pressure on the small of her back, whether that pressure is applied by a boar, a stockman or some mechanical device) - and then keeping the ladies chatting and interested whilst the stockman inseminates them (the teaser boars' main role is producing pheromones and grunting in just the right way).

But what if you've one got one or two sows to get pregnant? Is it worth keeping a large, potentially aggressive (and certainly strong and wilful) animal just to have it work a couple of times a year? Maybe you can hire one in for a few days (certainly the best option if you've got a rare breed) - but with this comes problems with disease transmission, problems with housing the visitor, as well as the technicalities of handling him and supervising service. One of the biggest problems with natural service (especially indoors with a single boar - less so in groups of pigs with multiple boars outdoors) is making sure that the boar has deposited his semen inside the right part of the pig, and so is best supervised in an appropriate facility.

In summary then, and in answer to our opening question: use a 'straw'! Today's technology enables pig keepers to use the best modern genetics, drawn from a variety of breeds and bloodlines without having to look after (and pay for) a boar for every ten females on the farm. The smallholder or pet-keeper can take advantage of AI too, reducing his costs and having a choice of sires.

Andrew is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL), a farmer with twenty years agricultural experience, and worked for fifteen years in the global automotive industry.

View the original article here

The Story of My Flower Business

As a kid, I loved to go to the beach, go hiking, fishing and camping. Those were on top of my vacation list. The wonderful views of nature never fail to amaze me. So when I grew up, I wanted to work with something that has to do with nature. After I graduated from college, I took a few more courses on botany, flower arranging and farming. Then it was time to apply what I learned. As a fresh graduate, I had no capital to start my flower business. So just like any entrepreneur, I resorted to loaning the capital. Because of my knowledge and expertise, I was able to start my mini flower garden. I also put up a flower shop in one of the busy streets in our city. Before I knew it, I was delivering flowers all over town and getting orders from other places, too.

After a year of business operations, I had to put up another flower shop and hire more employees. The truck I was using for flower deliveries started to have engine problems. Probably just normal wear and tear since I had that truck for 5 years already. It was a gift from my dad, just so I had something to use when driving around town. It was really helpful when I started my business. Anyway, adding another shop meant shelling out money, I had to also set aside a budget for my truck.

I went online one day to check for truck financing options and I came across a website of a bad credit company. It's been awhile since I applied for a loan and through this site, I found out that there are now more specialized kinds of loans. There were home loans, car title loans, auto loans, payday loans and truck loans - just what I needed. Over the years, I managed my finances pretty well and I had no problems getting loans. So I read further and found out that it was really easy to get approved for a truck loan.

I went ahead and applied for a truck loan and got my money the next day. That was fast! In the next few days, I went around town to look for brand new trucks. Once I found the truck of my choice, I drove away with it on my way home. It was another great investment to keep my business running, making sure that my clients got fresh flowers when they needed it. Thanks to financing via loans, I wasn't pressured to pay the whole amount upon acquisition of my truck.

So basically, my flower business worked this way:

- I studied additional courses on what I was passionate about

- I started my garden and flower shop with the help of loans

- I acquired a new truck using a truck loan

- I am still enjoying the benefits of my flower business and have countless satisfied customers

- With the profits I have, I make sure to budget it so I can pay my loans on time and keep a good credit history

Rachel Schwartz is the Marketing Manager of BHM Financial - one of the most trusted names in the bad credit loan industry. This company may be able to help you reach your financial goals. Please visit our Bad Credit Loan website or our Blog and find out today.

View the original article here

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Choosing The Right Mushroom Equipment

For all those interested in agriculture, either as a hobby or a means of earning a living, mushroom farming is one extremely viable option. Universally popular as a delicacy and a food source, mushroom farming while profitable can however, pose some problems for the cultivator. One of the most significant of these is the fact that the mushroom is very sensitive to changes in environment as well as being extremely infection-prone. Furthermore, excessive contact with cultivators manages to adversely affect the plant, and in effect, the crop yield also. The only way then, left to a farmer to ensure that the crop yield is good, and sufficient for his purpose, is to automate the entire process of mushroom farming. This may be achieved by proper usage of mushroom equipment.

Mushrooming tools can collectively refer to a variety of tools. Amongst the multitude of mushrooming tools available, some of the most important includes mushroom growing sheds, mushroom bed machinery, compost preparation equipment, tunnel type, mushroom beds and mushroom growing shelves. According to one's specific needs, one or the other of mushrooming tools types must be chosen to help increase the yield of mushrooms.

When choosing the perfect mushroom equipment it often tends to becomes difficult to select the right equipment that would be best suited to one's needs. Like most other machinery, it is safe to trust numbers here. The most popular mushroom equipment is most likely to be the best available in the market also. To further ensure that the mushroom equipment that you are on the point of buying are the best brand possible, it would be a good idea to do some background research before actually spending your money. Look for success stories regarding different mushroom equipment brands, and go for the one that has the best reviews.

Amongst other things, the right equipment is of course key to the success, or failure, of one's prospective mushroom crop. But the right equipment does not depend solely on the brand that you have decided to use. To decide exactly what sort of brand would be best for you, it would be a good idea to keep the size of your farm in consideration also. The bigger a farm, the more technologically advanced mushroom equipment it would ideally require. At the end of the day though, it would be advisable, especially for commercial farmers to choose equipment that will help to produce good quality, 'specialist' mushrooms that eventually sell well.

Mushrooming is a very complicated process if you don't know much about it, so we are here to help you in getting to terms with the requirements of mushrooming. Feel free to visit our site.

View the original article here

Choosing The Right Bucket For Your Loader

There are many considerations to make when it comes to selecting the right bucket for your loader. Some of these include the general purpose of your loader, the number of job types it will be performing and the type and weight of materials to be transported.

Choosing the right bucket for your loader can save you a lot of money and some space in your workshop that would be otherwise occupied by buckets you may never use. In this article, we discuss the different types of buckets you can attach to the front end of your loader for various applications.

General purpose bucket

Also known as the GP bucket, the general purpose bucket is the most common type. When first purchasing your loader, it usually comes with a GP bucket. Because of its design and relatively low weight, the GP bucket is the most efficient tool for loading and unloading loose materials. Most loaders use GP buckets that are designed to hold half the tipping load of the loader.

A GP bucket is generally recommended for soil-yards, but if the yard is selling by volume then a certified weights and measures bucket may be required. The most common measurement is the 0.33 cubic metre bucket, which makes 3 scoops per cubic metre or a 0.5 cubic metre bucket, which makes 2 scoops per cubic metre.

Since soil-yards do so much loading on hard surfaces such as concrete, a reversible cutting edge is also recommended as it may extend the life of the bucket. It is also important that the bucket has straight side plates with no variations. It must also have a true waterline shape to ensure that each scoop is accurate.

4-in-1 bucket

The 4-in-1 bucket is recognisable by its opening jaw. One of the advantages of a 4-in-1 bucket is its versatility on the job site. It can be opened up to use the back as a bulldozer blade to smooth off roads. It can take the place of a clamshell to grab logs and stones. It can also perform the loading job of a regular bucket.

The 4-in-1 bucket is an ideal choice for an earth-moving contractor who is constantly scraping road surfaces or for a road maintenance contractor who needs to clamp a set of rippers to dig up the road or to pull out fence posts.

Despite its versatility, the 4-in-1 bucket also has its limitations. It is a heavy bucket compared to the GP bucket, so it can only handle small volumes of materials or it would be constantly overloaded. The 4-in-1 bucket also requires more maintenance as the pins need to be regularly greased.

Rake bucket

The rake bucket has tines or prongs and a grapple that clamps materials into the bucket. This type of bucket is recommended for arborists who are looking for a more efficient and innovative tool than a regular dirt bucket. A greenwaste grab may be attached on the front of the rake bucket. This will allow arborists to quickly grab logs either by scooping up underneath them or, for bigger logs, rolling them into the grab by approaching the load with a raised mast and grabbing from above.

Light materials bucket

The light materials bucket is built only for moving lighter materials. This type of bucket has a very large volume, with a capacity of at least 2 times the volume of a GP bucket and 3 times the volume of a 4-in-1 bucket. However, caution must be taken as the centre of gravity of the load moves farther away from the driver so the load must be managed closely even though its volume is lighter or the same as the load of a GP bucket.

Some final words

Loaders are often sold with a GP bucket. If this is not the bucket suitable for the jobs your loader will be performing, tell your dealer. Dealers are usually willing to give you a trade in the same value towards another bucket type which is more suitable for your purposes. So when you first purchase your loader, consider the type of jobs it will be doing and ask to trade buckets or buy another design if needed as your negotiating power is highest when you are purchasing the entire machine from the dealer.

This article was written by Tom Jerrat for Boya Equipment. Boya Equipment is the leading Kubota and Schaffer Loaders dealership in Perth, Australia. They also provide machines including tractors, loaders, generators, mowers and utility vehicles. Please visit for more information.

View the original article here

Pig Farming - The Big Five

There are five major breeds of pig used on commercial pig units around the world, with commercial cross breeds /hybrids of these five being the main types of pig that you'll find, either indoors or in the field.

Whilst the so-called 'rare breeds' (particularly the Berkshire and Gloucester Old Spot) have their place on specialty units, supplying premium markets, they suffer from lower growth rates, poorer carcass conformation (i.e. fewer of the cuts that the consumer wants, and proportionally more of those that are more difficult to sell), and are generally less prolific. In short they produce too few pigs per year, which in turn grow too slowly, too fat and at too great a feed cost. Which should draw us to the reasons why the big five are so widely employed - they are prolific, grow quickly and economically, and produce bodies that the processor and consumer want. Let's look at the key points of each.

Originally from the Yorkshire breed, and first recognised in the 1860's, the Large White has proved itself as the basis for many of the commercial hybrids on the market today. This pig has erect ears, a slightly dished face, long back, and big hams. Hardy, and adaptable, they works well in either indoor or outdoor systems. The Large White pig makes an excellent terminal sire (the boar used to produce the slaughter generation on the farm) - put this boar on any sow and you'll see dad clearly in the offspring's conformation and growth rates. This is the principle meat-producing boar used in the UK and many other countries around the world.

Originally imported into the UK in 1949, from Sweden, the Landrace is now one of the most popular breeds in the country. In fact, they go further than these shores - 90% of hybrid gilts produced in Europe and the US contain Landrace bloodlines. The Landrace pig is a lop eared breed, with a long back and large hams - an excellent pig for both butcher and processor (e.g. Bacon production). The breed is versatile - performing well indoors or out, and makes an excellent mother, being docile and able to rear large strong litters.

The Duroc, a large ginger/orange coloured animal with slightly lopped ears was developed in the United States from a 'Red Pig' originally from UK. The breed was named after a Race Horse in the US, famous in the 1820's. An ideal outdoor pig, and extensively used in outdoor hybrids, it has long hair which moults in summer. The Duroc makes a good mother and is known for being very docile. As a terminal sire the boar produces heavily muscled finishing pigs, the succulent meat displaying good 'marbling' (intramuscular fat).

One of the most important breeds in the world is the Hampshire, developed in the USA, where it was first imported to USA in 1832 from Wessex. A black, prick eared high-lean pig with a pink 'belt' around its shoulders, the Hampshire was reintroduced to UK in 1968. It is the principle terminal sire in the USA.

Named after the Belgian village where they originated, the Pietrain came to the notice of a larger marketplace in the early 50's. It is an erect eared breed, mostly pink, with several black blotches over its body. The Pietrain is now the most popular terminal sire in Germany and Spain - Europe's biggest consumers of pigmeat with two of the largest national herds. The Pietrain has a very high lean meat yield, including 'double-muscled' hams, but is very highly prone to stress (a genetic problem leading to meat quality issues as well as problems on farm, which is now being bred out in the latest generations of the breed). In the UK it is used mainly for the production of hybrid pigs.

Andrew is a qualified teacher of English as a foreign language (TEFL), a farmer with twenty years agricultural experience, and worked for fifteen years in the global automotive industry.

View the original article here

Why Efficient Irrigation Is a Must in Australia

In history, irrigation has been around for as long as humans have started growing plants. The first invention after man has learned to cultivate plants from seeds was probably a bucket. You can just imagine the archaic method of how people from the ancient times manually water their crops by hauling buckets of water so that they can water their plants. Fast forward to the 21st century and you'll see how times have drastically changed with the onset of more efficient irrigation systems and mechanized methods now available for everyone's ease and benefit.

In countries like Australia, irrigation is a widespread practice to supplement low rainfall levels with water from other sources to assist in the production of crops or pasture. Considered to be one of the driest inhabited countries in the world, irrigation is required in many areas of Australia like Tasmania and Queensland in agriculture. In Tasmania alone, a third of its total land area of 68,300 square kilometres is committed to agriculture. Agriculture is an important contributor to the Tasmanian economy both in its own right and because of other industries that depend on it. In particular, the manufacturing and service sectors that utilize farm outputs are very significant contributors to cultivate state products and increase employment. Thus, it is no wonder why efficient irrigation systems and irrigation equipment are highly in demand in areas like Tasmania and the whole of the Australian market.

In an average year, irrigation for Australian agriculture uses 14,000 gigalitres (GL) which is about 65 per cent of all water use in the country. However, this water is not used as efficiently as it could be. This is why it is important to use high quality irrigation equipment all the time. One of the companies located in Tasmania specializing in the distribution of quality irrigation and pump set equipment is Van Diemens Land Irrigation. Their products include pivots, hard hoses, travelling irrigators and other essential irrigation equipment to meet the demands of their Tasmanian market.

Irrigation methods in Australia have improved over many years allowing for more efficient production per megalitre of water used. Current methods include systems such as centre pivot irrigation, impact sprinklers, butterfly sprinklers, drip and surface irrigation. Common crops produced using irrigation include rice, cotton, canola, sugar, various fruits and other tree crops and pasture, hay and grain for use in beef and dairy production.

For large agricultural areas like those found in Tamania, centre pivot irrigation is best recommended. This is a method of crop irrigation in which irrigation equipment rotates around a pivot. It involves creating a circular pattern in crops if viewed from above when a circular area centered on the pivot is irrigated. Originally, most centre pivot irrigation systems were water-powered. These have then since been replaced by hydraulic systems and electric motor-driven systems. Most systems today are driven by an electric motor mounted at each tower. With all of these technologically advanced irrigation systems and equipment now available to help out the Agricultural industry of Australia, the country has now emerged as a major agricultural producer and exporter despite the limitations of its natural terrain and climate.

Protecting Outdoor Pipes and Taps and Condensing Boilers From Freezing

There are many people who dread the cold winter weather for more reasons than just keeping warm themselves. Frost and snow can bring untold misery to all sorts of people.

Farmers, smallholders and horse owners face untold difficulties in getting a constant water supply to animals outside.Builders, sports facilities and many others who rely on water outside find that just when the days are shortest, the workload increases substantially.And almost every householder lives an anxious life wondering about frozen pipes, boilers and subsequent bursts.

Many people faced with such difficulties simply don't realise that there is quite a simple solution.

This winter, protect against condensing boiler and exposed pipework damage from frost and snow by using one of a range of outdoor heating cables, suitable for most pipe heating applications.

The cables can be connected direct to the mains for constant protection or through a Frost Protection Thermostat with IP67 external sensor for energy saving control. By using this and setting the temperature to around 5 degrees centigrade, the power will come on once the temperature drops to near zero ensuring that the pipes never freeze.

Self regulating cables are the perfect solution for preventing condensing boilers and water pipes from freezing in winter. Using a special polymer composite core, the cables automatically adjust the heat provided based on the ambient temperatures around them.

The cable is available in ready made lengths to suit most common applications but longer runs up to 95m can be made available on request. Run the cable in a straight line on the underside of the pipe and attach either with strong adhesive tape or cable ties at intervals to ensure constant contact between the cable and the pipe. Loop the cable around taps.

It is strongly recommended that all frost protection installations are RCD protected and all pipes are lagged after installation where appropriate.

For the first time, in the UK market, there is now an alternative constant wattage cable available.

The DTCE Condensing Boiler Protection Cable is a high grade constant wattage cable and can be installed inside or outside a pipe and has been approved for use inside drinking water pipes.

The DTCE cable is easy to install with a minimum bending radius of 25mm. When installing the cable, to prevent damage and early failure, be aware that the cable must not cross over itself and cannot be cut.

Both types of cable draw only minimal power and are cheap to run over long periods, especially when used with a Frost Protection Thermostat. For the peace of mind and ability to carry on providing water outdoors, this is a cheap but essential investment.

View the original article here

Interested in Dairy Farming?

Dairy farming is a strenuous and demanding job, but it is rewarding. Today, being a successful dairy farmer involves the awareness and understanding of technology, educational preparation and business skills. You will find that today's farmers attend training programs at university to learn about business and practice of agriculture. The daily life of a dairy farmer involves a large amount of hard work and the day starts early and ends late working both inside and outside. The classic dairy farmer has a strong work ethic, a positive attitude and usually a close relationship with his cows. They are dedicated to their profession and the job demands it.

The profession of dairy farming involves a huge amount more than just milking the cows. For a dairy farmer the day starts very early beginning with herding the cattle up to the milking shed. The cows are then given drink while the farmer prepares the shed for milking. After that the cows are given feed and the milking begins. If it is a wet and stormy day everything is given special attention as the cows need adequate shelter, farmers will often move their stock to a paddock with surrounding hedges offering shelter from the elements. The baby calves are given grain and milk. Cleaning the milking shed concludes the milking session. After this the heifers and dry cows are fed a special diet. Measurements of the food for the dairy cows are then done for the evening feeding and the feeding for the next morning. It is important to make sure the weight and measurements are correct so that excellent production is unhampered. This is often done twice a day.

During the different seasons of the year the dairy farmer has different priorities and jobs to focus on. In the spring time cows produce the most amount of milk and farmers milk their cows twice a day. Mating also occurs during this season. Planting of crops such as maize or turnips are also done in preparation for summer. Summertime is a slower period of the year as cows produce less milk due to the conditions of the weather. Hay making begins and cows graze the summer crops that were planted to help them through the dry season. Autumn brings a conclusion to the milking and it gives the dairy farmer an opportunity to work on the maintenance or development of the land. Things like fencing, drainage and water reticulation and shed maintenance are worked on as well as preparing for the next year. Milking has fully stopped by winter time and the focus is on the condition of the cows in preparation for milking and calving next season. Silage and hay are usually fed to the cows also to make up for the low amount of pasture.

Waibury Agricultural Investments owns and operates dairy farms and grazing-support farms situated predominantly in the North Canterbury region of New Zealand. Waibury secures on farm equity operators to increase the long-term productivity of these farms through prudent capital development if required. It maximizes production, cash flow and expected payout and its resulting in increased capital value.

The Waibury group owns and operates a number of dairy farming and grazing-support share farming locations throughout NZ and predominantly in the North Canterbury region.

View the original article here

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

GM Crop Debate - What About Feeding the World?

There are lots of question marks when it comes to the science of seeds, that is to say the genetic manipulation of crops. The reality is this science is still in its infancy, although I dare say it's come along a lot further than most of the detractors realize or give it credit for. Those who criticize GM crops have a bit of science on their side as well. Still, I ask if we can increase crop yields by 20-50% using GM seeds in the future using less water and fertilizer, we are going to need to do this, simply to feed the world.

Okay so, there are people starving in many parts of the world, and if GM crops can fix this problem, shouldn't we be morally responsible for using this science in that regard? Matt Ridley in his weekly Wall Street Journal Column on December 10, 2011, he had an interesting article; "Why Deny BioTech to a Hungry Africa," which noted that;

"More than 15-million farmers now plant GM crops on almost 370-million acres, boosting yields by 10% to 25%. Despite opponents' fears that the technology would poison people, spread superweeds and entrench corporate monopolies, it's now c clear that the new crops have reduced not only hunger but pesticide use, carbon emissions, collateral damage to biodiversity and rain-forest destruction."

Now then, not long ago, I was discussing all this with an acquaintance, he specializes in Urban Farming strategies, soil conditioning, and re-use of storm and rain water. He's able to increase the yields using his strategies by quite a bit more than the GM crops have yet to accomplish. Well, that's nice, but what if we doubled up? Used his strategies plus GM Seeds, then we'd get 50% plus the 10-25% from the GM crop seeds - that surely sounds like a plan.

Still, even if you look at the massive quantities of food that is produced in the world, under tough conditions such as droughts, heat waves, floods, pestilence, locust plague, run-away crop viruses, and man-made mistakes we do have food shortages, commodity price spikes, and severe distribution channel challenges. Now then, if we are able to over-produce, there might be a few more fat humans here and there but no one will starve.

So, as long as we can prevent creating such problems through unintended consequences using GM crops, we should, but we must simultaneously also continue to use our current standard methods as well. We should not dismiss the value of GM crops, nor should we deny starving people food available through increased production of such strategies. We must be diligent, cautious, and scientifically wise as we move these new innovative concepts forward. Please be thinking here.

Lance Winslow has launched a new provocative series of eBooks on Future Concepts. Lance Winslow is a retired Founder of a Nationwide Franchise Chain, and now runs the Online Think Tank;

View the original article here

Advantages Of Articulated Loaders

Loaders are very often used in construction and farming to carry and transfer materials such as sand, gravel, rocks, soil and debris. There are different types of loaders available for various applications, but the articulated loader has proven itself to be a superior choice among other heavy machines. The advantages of using an articulated loader are discussed in detail below.

1. An articulated loader is manoeuvrable and allows work in very tight areas that are otherwise inaccessible to other types of heavy machines. The manoeuvrability of this type of loader is attributed to its articulated steering, which is like operating 2 short machines attached together with a rod so the chassis easily follows behind. As a result, you are able to accomplish more work in confined areas without causing damage to structures, animals and personnel on the job site.

2. An articulated loader is cost-effective. It is generally faster than other heavy machines allowing you to do more work in less time. It also consumes less fuel compared to other loaders due to the highly efficient hydrostatic drive. Because it is able to access confined areas it can be used for many tasks that used to have to be performed by hand. Due to the highly manouvrable articulated steering, it does not have to be parked far from the materials to be collected. It can be positioned as near as possible to the materials so the distance it travels to dump and load is shorter compared to the distances travelled by other heavy, cumbersome loaders.

3. An articulated loader is low and narrow, allowing you to operate inside buildings and small farming areas such as horse stables, cow sheds, chicken pens and green houses. Its narrow width enables access to residential properties, vineyards, building sites and demolition sites for construction and removal of debris. Its low height and narrow width also makes this type of loader easy to mount on and off by any personnel so it can be used for all jobs.

4. Modern articulated loaders utilise a clutch-less hydrostatic transmission with smooth power transfer so that the driver does not wear out clutches, gearboxes or axles. The hydrostatic transmission also makes this type of loader faster in speed compared to other heavy machines. It also features a forward and reverse thumb switch, making it very easy to drive. The speed is controlled by pressing down on the accelerator pedal, similar to driving an automatic car.

5. An articulated loader provides the driver a clear view of the front end of the loader. As this is where all the work takes place, it is important for the driver to see the front end to be able to perform jobs quickly and safely. The front chassis of this type of loader is built small to provide the driver with maximum visibility.

6. An articulated loader can be easily fitted with the different types of tyres so that it can be utilised for a wide range of demanding applications.

7. An articulated loader is built for constant pushing, which is ideal for efficient loading and transfer of materials. This type of loader is also able to reach higher and further because of its front mounted arms, making it very efficient in performing different jobs.

This article was written by Tom Jerrat for Boya Equipment. Boya Equipment is the leading Kubota and Schaffer Loaders dealership in Perth, Australia. They also provide machines including tractors, loaders, generators, mowers and utility vehicles. Please visit for more information.

View the original article here

UK Farmers Will Need Help to Increase Production to Meet Predicted Population Growth

The National Farmers' Union, which represents the interests of the UK's farmers, has warned that food production will need to rise substantially by 2026, when the population is expected to reach 70 Million.

By that point, the UK will be less than 50% self-sufficient in home-produced food, NFU president Peter Kendall has warned.

Mr Kendall has been quoted as saying that increasing UK production would be essential in order to keep food price inflation under control and to boost the economic recovery. To achieve this goal farmers would need a more transparent market and a supply chain where the balance of power could not be abused.

The president has also emphasised that research and development is vital to farmers' productive future and, at a seminar in Cambridge recently, said that there was no doubt that agricultural R&D had suffered in recent decades. He described the current scenario as one where farmers and growers were being asked to produce more while having less environmental impact.

He believed that this can be achieved through a better use of inputs like fertilisers and sprays, and that science and technology had a role to play in delivering the solutions that would enable farmers to meet the challenge of feeding the extra eight million or so people the UK is likely to have in the next 15 years.

In addition to the picture outlined above, there is increasing evidence that consumers are becoming more discriminating about the quality of the food they buy.

This comment found on the website of the US-based Worldwatch Institute, that pesticide residues in food are of particular concern for women who are planning on having children, illustrates the point.

Between them, the comments from the NFU and the concerns of consumers reinforce the point that farmers are in urgent need of suitable tools to achieve what will be asked of them and to help ensure that the UK does not become even more vulnerable to food security concerns.

Some research and development is being carried out on ways to help farmers. One such is the work on developing alternative low-chem agricultural products, by biopesticides developers. Some of them have entered into partnership with producer companies in order to help get their biopesticides, biofungicides and yield-enhancers through the testing, licensing and registration processes of individual countries to be more widely available to farmers.

Meanwhile, the EU in particular has been taking action on de-registering many of the older generation of chemical-based pesticides and other agricultural products in response to consumer concerns, but there is a long way to go before alternatives are widely and affordably available to farmers.

Biopesticides are among the new agricultural tools what will help the UK's farmers increase production sustainably to meet the predicted rise in population to 70 million by 2026. By Ali Withers.

View the original article here