Canada is a country with plenty of space to grow food on farms. There is one major hurdle to ultimate farming productivity common to all of Canada’s farms: the unpredictable weather and low temperatures we have for almost half the year during winter.
The solution to this age old problem may be in a combination of traditional greenhouse knowledge and cutting edge vertical farming technology.
Indoor growing of high yield crops like leafy greens, tomatoes, and peppers has long been a way to increase yields per acre by extending the growing season well into the normally unproductive winter months.
In addition to the extended growing season, there are other notable yield increasing factors at play when talking about greenhouse based indoor growing. Pest and disease control are more straightforward, as access to external pathogens and organisms can be limited much more extensively than in an open field. As a result, greenhouse crops often do not require chemical pesticides or herbicides and are less likely to fail from fungal or bacterial illness.
Another major productivity boost can be seen in modern greenhouses and other indoor growing spaces. Vertical farming tools and techniques can increase crop yields per sq ft of indoor space many times over. There are varying degrees of complexity and automation possible for vertical farming setups. At it’s simplest, Vertical Farming is the practice of producing food in vertically stacked layers, or on vertically inclined surfaces. Conventional agriculture focuses on 1 layer of plants growing across a wide area, Vertical farming techniques plant upwards as well. Some systems can consist of racks or shelves containing plants that are many units high.
Vertical farming techniques and equipment can translate into a big productivity booster for existing greenhouse owners. These techniques can also make non-conventional farming locations such as urban areas viable for commercial scale food production. When you are ready to expand your greenhouse business or start a new agricultural production facility,
The Canadian Grants Business Center can help.
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When running a dairy farm, milk production is the main source of farm revenue, and so the dairy farmer will try to maximize the quality and quantity of milk produced by the herd. Dairy farming has a unique set of equipment requirements as compared to other types of animal farms focused on raising livestock for consumption. The milking setup and equipment can have a major effect on the efficiency and quality of the milking process.
There are several levels of complexity when it comes to milking equipment. The least complicated is hand milking, which is not really viable for a commercial farm in today’s day and age. As we go from less complicated to more complicated milking equipment setups, we see a whole range of setups starting at the simplest labor intensive vacuum assisted setups all the way to completely automated robotic milking stations.
Fully automatic milking systems are somewhat popular in Europe but remain much less popular in Canada. The majority of dairy farms in the Canadian market continue to use more traditional, cost-effective and easily maintained equipment.
A typical milking machine extracts milk from the cow’s udder by vacuum. They are designed to apply a constant vacuum to the end of the teat to extract the milk, transfer it to a container, and maintain blood circulation with a regular squeeze.
A milking machine installation consists of a system of pipes connecting the various vessels and other components through which air and milk flow. The system operates by vacuum, and therefore requires forces to be applied to function. Atmospheric pressure forces air, and intra-mammary milk pressure forces milk, into the system. The combination of these forces causes flow. To work continuously, air and milk must be removed from the system at appropriate rates. The air is removed with a vacuum pump and the milk is removed by a milk pump.
The right milking equipment can help raise efficiency and keep dairy cattle in top shape.
The cost to build a milking parlor (milking facility) with equipment can range anywhere from $30,000.00 on the low end upwards of $300,000.00 for large and complex installations. Milking equipment costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Whatever you decide: Buying new or used equipment will be a key to your on-farm success. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.
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Tile drainage installations increase yields
Properly installed tile drainage can consistently increase crop yields on farms by 29 to 36 percent.
Tile drainage installation is not cheap. Installation can cost up to $1,000 an acre or more depending on the property, but tile drainage is a proven way to boost production and revenue potential from your existing land base. A comparison of tile drainage costs versus new land purchase price, make tile drainage a great value with land prices at an all time high. For high-value crops and productive land, tile drainage should be considered an essential capital investment to reduce risk and ensure optimal yields.
Not just about yields
The benefits of tile go beyond yields. With less surface runoff occurring, soil losses can be reduced by 90%. Tile releases water slowly and over a long period of time.
There are tax advantages to tile installs. Tile drainage costs are fully deductible in the current tax year, or you can maximize the benefit by carrying all or part of the expense forward for up to five years.
Shifts in production practices across Canada over recent years make tile drainage even more valuable to Canadian farmers. Reduced tillage and no-till planting techniques along with earlier planting seasons make it essential to have fields that dry quickly and uniformly. Closely spaced tile can also help minimize compaction common with wet sections in spring and fall.
GPS technology and computer software that takes land elevations into account have made it easier to efficiently map out how tile runs should be oriented to maximum drainage efficiency. The same tools professionals use to map a tile install are available to those who want to do their own tiling with a pull-type tile plow.
Tile plows can be pulled with a tractor. Horsepower requirements depend on soil type and how deep the tile needs to go. A tractor weighing 30,000 pounds or more and a minimum of 200 horsepower are needed for the task. Having a plow lets a farmer get the tile in at the optimal time and you do the least amount of damage and compaction, without having to wait for a contractor to fit in a tight schedule. Owning a plow also allows a farmer to put a short run in to solve a problem spot on demand.
The right drainage installation can help keep the property in top shape. Farmland improvement costs can be substantial, and it’s important to take advantage of all sources of funding available to your farm. Start or expand your farming business now: the Canadian Grants Business Center can help.
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Many people think that farming is a 3 season activity in Canada. This couldn’t be further from the truth.
The winter months can be among your most productive as a farmer. Whether you spend your time tending to livestock or networking with other farmers there is never a better time than now to plan for the coming season and accomplish the prep and planning tasks that successful farmers know are so important.
The winter is a perfect time to look forward to the coming season and ensure that farm equipment meets the project requirements and is in good working order.
It’s important to properly store of equipment. Rust is the enemy of metal equipment. If metal equipment is left outside, it will rust and deteriorate faster than if it is kept inside, and out of the elements. If inside storage space is not available on your farm, use heavy-duty tarps to cover farm equipment when not in use.
In the winter inspect your equipment well. Worn parts need to be replaced and make any needed adjustments. Make sure your equipment is clean and dry, especially moving parts. Remember if you use a pressure washer to keep water away from sealed bearings. After drying, lubricate moving parts and protect it from the elements. Treat any bare metal on all farm equipment with grease or use rust-preventive solvent spray. If you can keep moisture away from bearings and unpainted critical steel parts, this will help prevent rust.
A shop built for farm equipment will pay off in the long run. If you are building or expanding a shop, consider the size of all your equipment and the area inside to perform your maintenance tasks. Consider space for storage shelves and enough room around the equipment to perform maintenance and repair.
Some off-season effort can lead to much better productivity in the growing season.
If you are ready to consider acquiring new equipment or investing in a farm shop, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help. Find funding at:
Fencing is an important part of livestock farming. Depending on the type of livestock that you will raise, you will need to choose a fencing strategy accordingly.
The first choice is between stationary and portable fencing options. If you are planning on moving your animals around, you will not want to invest as much in permanent fencing, but rather into something flexible.
Your final choice of fencing has to take into account the species of livestock. Horses, cattle, hogs, goat, sheep and chicken all have specific needs to minimize fence maintenance and possible injury to the animals.
Electric fences can often be a good choice for horses, cattle, hogs and goats.
- In the case of hogs and cattle, you will need to choose high tensile wires that can stand up to the demands of large and heavy animals.
- When choosing fencing for horses, the primary concern needs to be visibility in order to avoid high-speed collisions. There are electric fences that offer wide tape inserts, as an alternative to conventional wooden fences.
Choice of irrigation systems is going to reflect crop choice, field location, and growing medium. In addition to the delivery method, it is important to properly
size and support the system with appropriate pumps, tubing, and regulators. There are a fe w common types of irrigation systems, some of which are better for certain applications.
- Drip-line irrigation is a system of water lines that allows a controlled amount of water to be applied. This can be a good choice for row crop, orchards, and berry applications.
- Outdoor Sprinklers can spread water over a relatively large area are quick to deploy, and can have applications in dust control, frost protection and cooling in addition to irrigation.
- Foggers & Mist Lines are a good choice for indoor growing installations like greenhouses.
If you are ready to consider installing farm improvements like Fencing and irrigation systems, the Canadian Grants Business Center can help. Find funding at:
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