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Preparing For The Smallholder Lifestyle

Preparing For The Smallholder Lifestyle

More and more people are finding that you don’t need a large farm to raise livestock and grow crops. Smallholder farming has taken root in many communities, some of them more urban than you might expect. What is important to keep in mind, though, is that any type of farming requires knowledge and the proper agricultural products as well as animal nutrition products.

Know what you are farming with

The first and most vital step for any smallholding farmer is to know exactly what you are going to produce. Have a look at your land. What is it suitable for? Will you be farming with livestock, poultry, crops, or a combination of these? It may seem tedious and obvious, but you need to be sure of this before you can move on and begin setting up your smallholding.

As a smallholder farmer, your work area is most likely going to be right outside your front door. It’s going to be a lifestyle, not just a job, so you need to be fully prepared and comfortable going forward.

Agricultural products

Now that you know what it is you want to produce, you need the correct tools and agricultural products to do so. The first thing you need no matter what you are producing is fencing. The different areas you are going to use must be well separated to avoid confusion and/or damage. You definitely do not want your sheep trampling or eating your cabbage crop, for instance.

For livestock

If you are going to be keeping livestock, you need to have the correct range of agricultural products in place to care for them. These include the basics – which are available in perfect sizes and materials for small-scale farming, just for you – such as feeders and troughs. If you have different animals such as cows and sheep in the same pen, there are many different feeders designed specifically for each species. No need to worry about your sheep eating the cow feed.

For crops

Crops have their own unique agricultural product needs, chief among them being a good irrigation system. You can’t have crops without a proper water system to nurture them. If you have less resilient crops, or if you want to get a head start with planting the hardier varieties, you will also need a greenhouse. Of course there’s compost and fertilisers, and potentially pesticides if you want or need them. So long as you have all the essentials, you can take care of your crops and feed yourself well – and perhaps make a few extra bucks if that’s what you’re aiming for.

Animal nutrition products

When keeping animals, another key consideration is quality animal nutrition products. In order to raise healthy livestock they need the appropriate nutrients. The main dietary requirements for livestock such as cattle (for dairy and beef) and sheep include water, energy, fibre, protein, vitamins and minerals. The main nutritional need for all livestock, and especially dairy cows, is energy, as energy is the key driver of growth and milk production. You do, however, require specially formulated feeds, because it doesn’t help to just pump your livestock full of high-energy foods that are not properly nutritional and in accordance with their unique dietary needs.

This may seem like a lot of effort for small agricultural operations, but having the correct agricultural products and animal nutrition products will mean the difference between the success or failure of your smallholder operation. There is a wide range of specialists and suppliers just waiting to help you!

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