Small Farming Solutions
The challenge with small acreage farmers is you are bigger than the typical large garden but too small to rationalize the equipment expense associated with commercial farming. The approaches presented focus on sustainablity (you are the engine) and affordability hopefully resulting in increased profitability. Also, Fresh Potato does not receive any royalties, gifts, demos, etc from any Supplier mentioned on any page - it is truly our experience.
This year's potato patch photos are irrigated using a 212cc approx 6 hp Pacific Hydrostar 3" trash pump. The pump can pressurize 22 3" diameter 40' length irrigation pipe covering approx 8-tenths of an acre. The cost of the pump is approximately $280 available at Harbor Freight. The pump operational expense to water the above segment in 8 hours is roughly 4 gallons of gasoline, or $336/month for 6 days a week, 8 hours/day operation, covering 5 acres. For a 4 month seaon, total cost with pump approximately $1,600.00
Contrast the irrigation expenses with renting a 10 hp diesel pump from your local irrigation store at approximately $1,500/month for the pump alone then add diesel fuel to that expense.
Contact me to learn how to receive a 20% discount on pump purchase price.
Band vs Broadcast Fertilization
Fertilizer micro-application technique. Yes, the large farming operations also micro-manage fertilizer. Typically, purchasing fertilizer from a commercial dealer and broadcasting is approx $249/acre for a per acre application rate of N 130lbs, P 400lbs, and K 106lbs. Banding the fertilizer pre or at planting reduces the expense per acre by 90%. Practice is sustainable as long as you are applying the fertilizer, that is you can walk.
RidBugs, a WSDA certified Organic Insectide
100% WSDA organic insectide. Dilution rates are 1 gallon RidBugs to 20 gallons water per acre. You can see the bugs die. Very effective control of many insects, some devestating to potatoes like the potato psyllid insect believed to be the vector for the zebra chip pathogen. The true benefit is not only is it organic certified but it is also a less expensive cure than the current commercial insecticide cocktail used to control zebra chip.
Contact me to learn how to order in bulk from the Northwest Distributor and receive a discount. Click here for more information.
Fresh Potato Return Calculator Based upon Packout
For Farmers of any size. Contact me for a fresh potato return Excel worksheet that uses current packaging costs in addition to current prices, packout rates, etc. The worksheet also has grower return industry techniques.
Metal Cutting Blades and Similar Disposals
This is not to be a geo-political jab, just a "saving money" approach. If you are buying a disposal product made in China, consider purchasing metal cutting, saw blades, etc from Harbor Freight. You can save over 70%. For example, a 10 pack of 4 1/2" grinder cutting discs costs $7.99 compared with a single disc from your favorite hardware store at $2.99 per disc. I have used all discs and they all last the same if they are made in China, regardless of the label.