The Premise Behind Mixed Farming

When you talk about mixed farming it is actually a kind of farming operation that combines two or more enterprises in a single setup. For instance, raising not just crops but also livestock as well. According to compact utility tractors MN experts, mixed farming operations usually do not reach the economies of scale similar to single-focus farming, there are indeed certain benefits associated with this type of agricultural strategy.

Risks

Limited Capacity

One of the biggest risks of utilizing mixed farming operations is that there is limited capacity in the farm to provide for both. For example, the farmer needs to spread out his resources including precious time, labor and money and land on two different ventures. Farmers that plant crops and raise beef cattle cannot plant as much crops as the farmer that only grows crops as his primary.  It is therefore easy to conclude that he will not be able to take advantage of the economies of scale that are involved in huge setups like reduced cost and better efficiency.

Greater Resources Needed

According to farm equipment MN experts, mixed farming usually requires more resources than single-focus farming. For instance, farmers that only grow wheat needs to invest only in planting and harvesting equipment while a farmer that grows dairy cattle on top of growing wheat will require more equipment such as a mixer wagon, skid steer and bucket tractor to name a few.

Benefits

Diversification Lessens Risk

Mixed farming operators can take advantage of diversification, which offers lesser risk.  Most farming activities are volatile and entirely dependent on market forces. Since a mixed farmer has two products available he spreads the risk out. If one operation falls below expectations the other can do very well.

Better Sustainability

While initially mixed farming lays out higher cost for the farmer, there is a good chance that the resources he has can be re-used in between ventures. For example, manure produced by dairy cows can be used as fertilizer. Mixed farmers can rotate their fields to let cropland rest for a few years, which contributes greatly to the farm’s sustainability by minimizing the need or dependence on chemicals.

Common Issues Facing Modern Day Farmers

While current technology have allowed farmers to spend lesser hours out working their fields, life for a lot of farmers can still be quite challenging.  Aside from common problems they have faced since time immemorial, there is a new range of issues facing modern famers today.

Climate Change

According to buy used equipment MN experts, the effects of climate change such as drastic weather pattern changes resulting to floods, winter blizzards and heavy and no rainfall has resulted in many problems for farmers today.  Not only do farmers have to contend with the occasional drought, they have to deal with abrupt seasonal weather change that have resulted in lesser quality and quantity of crop yields.

Loss of Land

As the population level goes up, more and more folks are moving out from the crowded modern metropolis into rural areas of the country, which resulted in a shift from agricultural to residential land.  Based on data collected by Carlton stump grinders MN providers, about three thousand acres of agricultural land are converted to residential or commercial areas.

NAFTA

The North American Free Trade Agreement, which was signed into law under the Clinton administration, resulted in increased competition between US and Mexican farmers.  The agreement forced farmers from both countries to accept cheaper prices for their produce according to data collected by compact track loaders MN specialists.

Socioeconomic Issues

The smelly aroma of manure produced in farming operations have resulted in a lot of conflict between farmers and non-farm property owners with some escalating to expensive legal disputes.

Help

With all of the above issues facing farmers it is a good thing that there are grants available to help beginners farmers gain a foothold in their chosen profession.

Here are some of them:

  • SARE or Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education which offers funding not just to farmers but also to researchers an educators in the agricultural field.  The money provided ranges between $500 to $15,000
  • USDA Value-Added Producer Grants – money from this grant may be used for planning, marketing or for the development of renewable energy sources based on farms
  • USDA Beginning Farmer and Rancher Development Program is a kind of grant that is offered to farmers with less than ten years of experience in operating a farm or ranch. Grants from this fund can go as high as $750,000 that can be used for a variety of purposes from training to technical assistance to entrepreneurship programs and financial management

The Importance of Crop Rotation in Farming

Among modern day farmers, crop rotation is a standard practice the use to ensure they have a steady stream of different crop harvests depending on the season.  According to agricultural equipment MN experts, crop rotation is a means of maximizing the available farmland. 

Crop Rotation Defined

When farmers do crop rotation they plant crops in one field for a predetermined period of time and then plant a different crop on that same area for another rotation. The succeeding crops are normally of a different species than the previous one. The rotations usually last about a couple to three years at the most.

Benefits

According to balers implement carriers specialists, the practice of rotating crops assist in maintaining the soil fertility so that growing crops are able to achieve the necessary nutrients they require from the soil.  This is achieved via the presence of additional nitrogen in the soil from the aforementioned crop.  This nitrogen supply is readily available for the next crop to use. Another important benefit crop rotation provides is it helps minimize soil erosion and deters pest proliferation due to the simple fact that pests may not be able to thrive in the second crop compared to the previous one.

Risks & Rewards

While crop rotation is a good means of maximizing soil efficiency, there are basic concerns farmers need to tend to such as inclement weather damaging the crops or less demand from market forces for their harvest. One thing for sure that crop rotation does is it will not result in less yields. As mentioned above, the extra nitrogen and nutrients available plus the absence of pests will ensure great returns and profits for the farmers. 

One thing that farmers need to be aware of is that they need to consider the kind of soil they are working on for the different crops as there might be a specific nutrient needed that may not be abundant in the soil for the succeeding variety that is going to be planted.

Useful Wooden Sign Making Tips

If you are into crafting, creating wooden signs are a great pastime or even side business to get into.  All you need is some basic knowledge in order to create beautiful artwork and functional crafts from blocks of wood. Wooden signs can serve to decorate a child’s room or add a rustic old-world look to a business sign.  Here are some useful wooden sign making tips to check out.

Selecting The Right Wood

According to custom wood board Bemidji MN experts, the best wood for making signs is dry lumber.  There are 3 criteria that you need to follow when selecting wood. They are: unsplit, unwarped and unseasoned.  Depending on the wood you use you can create different looks as each type has a different grain and porosity.  Fir, pine and spruce for instance are perfect for outdoor signs because they stand against the elements reasonably well. For a hardier selection choose cypress, cedar or redwood.

For indoor use it is recommended to use maple, cherry or walnut variants as they offer a luxurious look and can match most furniture finishes. Do not use pressure-treated wood as they easily warp when exposed to heat and rain.

Bonding Agent

The kind of bonding agent you use can mean the difference between a cohesive looking sign and one, which looks like a bunch of wooden blocks poorly glued on a board. Use strong wood glue that dries in the color of the wood and can be sanded. Use glue that is weather resistant and may be stained or painted.

Lettering and Background Details

Concentrate on the background first prior to adding lettering to the sign. Custom wood signs Bemidji Minnesota recommends narrow gauge for smaller signs that have intricate detailing. Prior to adding the letters it is important to create a paper pattern to scale of your final desired piece so you can know if the scale is congruent with the details you prefer. If everything is copacetic, use carbon paper to transfer the lettering. Use V-groove routers to establish a surface that is simpler to paint. If you prefer raised lettering, use a sabre saw aka jigsaw so it does not vibrate and ruin the details. Make sure to clamp it in to the wood to prevent it from splitting.

Wood Post Crafting Ideas

Normally used for signage and fencing, wood posts are quite popular with crafters as they can transform them into holiday décor, hat or coat racks or for landscape lighting. If you are going to create wood post projects for outdoor usage, be sure to use an acrylic sealant to provide protection from the weather.

Painted Holiday Posts

Custom woodworking Bemidji MN experts recommend making different outdoor décor for the holidays like Christmas and Halloween. For the former, you can use white posts as a snowman by simply tying a plaid scarf around the neck and adding a top hat. Add more attention by circling the post with white outdoor twinkle lighting. For the latter, you can use white posts for ghosts or orange for pumpkins.

Solar Light Posts

You can make a base with wooden posts for all your solar lighting needs. This is a better option than sticking the solar lights along the garden path where they can easily be kicked over or damaged by the lawnmower. To do so, cut a post into three sections of different lengths of 12 inches, 18 and 14 inches and then secure the sections together using wood screws. To add dimensions, tie a heavy rope around the post sections.  Drill a hole in the top of one of the posts and install the base of a solar light in it.  Use treated wood, as they are less susceptible to inclement weather.

Hanging Posts

These are normally used indoors to hang coats or hats for that matter and for outdoor use for plants. For indoors, use four 12 inch sections of 2×4 inch lumber around the base of the post in a spiral manner in order to keep it upright. For outdoors you need to bury the post at least 12 inches into the ground. Drill one inch holes perpendicularly in order to fashion the hangers. Using wood glue, secure six-inch sections of a dowel rod into the holes.

Garden Sign Post

You can easily direct your guests to different parts of your garden with a homemade sign post. Custom wood products Bemidji Minnesota recommend a wooden sign board screwed onto the post itself. This adds a rustic, old fashioned look that will charm and delight your guests.

Homemade Signage Ideas for Your Home or Business

Homemade signs are a great means of catching attention to your home or business. They can also make your messages seem warmer and personal. If you are looking to brush up your signage either for home or business it is important that you choose the appropriate style and look.  Here are some suggestions to consider.

Paints and Poster Board

Most of the time, homemade signs suggest large letters painted on a white poster board. These types of signs may be effective for sporting events or political rallies but can also be quite as effective for a simple local yard sale. Custom wood business signs Bemidji MN experts recommend using dark colors like black, red or dark blue on your white poster board in order to ensure the letters stand out. Pencil the letter designs on the poster board initially to ensure it will look right and then simply fill in the pencil outlines with paint.

Stencils

For folks looking to create temporary signs to say indicate directions to a restroom or the location of an office then it is recommended that you create something that offers a sharper look than simple hand-crafted letters. To do this you can use stencils to create a professional-looking lettering on nearly any surface. Stencil kits are available in any hobby store and come with a lot of different styles that can help establish that professional look.  It is important that you apply the stencils on a completely flat surface in order to prevent fuzziness. Use spray paint, as it is the easiest to use with stencils.

Custom Wood Work Signs

Wood is one of the best materials to use when making signs.  Also, you need not be a professional in order to create your very own homemade wood signs.  Custom woodworking Bemidji MN experts recommend that you outline your sign design and then burn it into the wood with the help of a soldering iron It is recommended to use quick and even strokes with the iron in order to achieve a smooth appearance. Alternately, you can also use stencils on the wood to create the sign. Simply outline the letters in pencil and then burn the pencil lines in order to create that unique appearance. Use a router bit from a power drill in order to establish frame designs around the edges. 

Homemade Wooden Sign Craft Ideas

If you want to add a touch of rustic charm to your home or business a handcrafted wooded sign is the perfect solution or gift. Using the right tools and a touch of imagination, creating your very own wooden sign yourself is indeed quite possible. Here are some ideas for you to consider for your project.

Chip Carving

According to custom wood signs Bemidji Minnesota specialists, the art of hand carving a wooden sign is known as chip carving and has been around for hundreds of years. Tools like a hammer especially made wood carving knives and mini-chisels are used for this purpose. The art of chip carving calls or making small chips that result to images directly carved into the wood. It is generally recommended to design the letters to appear on the sign on tracing paper initially, this can be cut out to form the words on the actual sign. They can be positioned properly and carbon paper slid beneath the letters, which are then traced to make an outline in the wood, which will also serve as a carving guide.  The resulting carved letters can be enhanced with paint with a coat of finish or varnish applied upon finishing.

Painted Signs

A much more simpler approach but not quite as good-looking as chip carving would to simply paint the letters and images directly. This process is quite similar to chip carving but minus the actual carving itself. You can choose from a wide array of colors and finishes. Custom wood board Bemidji Minnesota recommends an old weathered piece of wood from a barn or house and then paint your sign on it to achieve that rustic feel and look.  To get the antique look, all you need to do is light sand the paint and it’s done.

                                               

Benefits

Hand made signs offer a variety of uses like serving as a home-entrance sign showing a family name or as a quaint house-warming gift that business owners can put up outside the shop or office. You can also hang them indoors over a child’s bedroom, or a personalized sign for a cabin or cottage.

 

Easy to Do Letter Wood Burning Techniques

Not many people know but wood burning is an easy hobby to get into once you know the basics.  You can create personalized wood signs for your home or business that can add flair of rustic charm.  According to custom woodworking Bemidji MN specialists, wood-burning tools are generally quite affordable and wood is not the only material you can use. Many artisans for instance decorate gourds by using the burning technique. The method called, pyrography or “fire writing” on wood or a gourd is what we shall be discussing today.

Tools

One of the basic tools that you will use for this purpose is called a shader This is very useful due to its inherent versatility. Another tool the small-ball writer is likewise quite versatile and glides over the wood and is so easy to hold in one’s hand.  There is also a round-heeled knife or skew which can be used for writing flat or carved lines on the wooden surface.

Tracing Paper

This material comes in a variety of types but for this purpose graphite paper is the best one to use for the simple fact that is easy to use, not toxic and any errors can be corrected with ease. Another alternative would be wax paper, which is quite perfect for people that are just starting on this hobby. Wood burning kits are available at your nearest hobby shop and already include all the necessary accouterments.

The first step is to make a template of the letters you intend to use and the cut the design around the edges and tracing paper to the same size as the design and then put the tracing paper under the template. Prep the wood by sanding it and then smoothing it out using a cloth. Once you are done you can attach the design with tracing paper under it to the wood using masking tape. Trace the design on the wood using a pencil.

Engraving

When engraving wood make sure to hold the tool lightly as more pressure produces a darker hue. Quick movements are enough to etch into the wood with fine lines and light shadows.  Custom woodwork Bemidji Minnesota specialists recommend holding the burning tool with your thumb and forefinger at the shaft and roll if you are interested in creating curved lines. The blade part of the tool establishes detailing when shading letters and creates depth.

The Best Approach to Flea and Tick Prevention

Any dog owner knows that fleas and ticks pose serious health issues not just your pet but also for other pets in their care.  According to dog kennel Albertville professionals, fleas are known to transmit tapeworm eggs and can cause a hypersensitivity reaction in a lot of dogs resulting to intense itching and hair loss.  Fleas also can cause anemia due to the blood loss they cause. Fleas transmit deadly diseases like Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Lyme disease.

The Topical Approach

You can use a topical medication like Frontline Plus and Advantage Multi applied to the skin of your dog once a month.  The main ingredient in the medication also kills chewing lice on top of the fleas and ticks present in your pet.  The medication is also effective against roundworms, whipworms, hookworms and heartworms.

The Oral Approach

If you prefer oral medications for your pet there is a medication called Comfortis as well as Sentinel that can help kill these parasites.  The medication is given once every month.  The active ingredient in Sentinel does not kill fleas outright but instead targets the eggs and prevents them from hatching. The drug can also be used against tapeworms, heartworm, whipworms and roundworms.

The Shampoo and Collar Approach

According to dog kennel Rogers experts, flea collars are effective against fleas for three to eight months. There are collars that may be used on smaller pups like the Spectra Shield Flea and Tick collar for pets that are six months of age. 

Shampoos on the other hand are also effective but will require constant use to have a significant effect against the parasites.  They need to be used weekly and may not offer protection to other parasites the same way as the oral and topical medications do.

The Natural Approach

If you prefer the natural method, avoid using brewer’s yeast and garlic as these have been proven to have not much use against fleas. Diatomaceous earth however can kill flea larvae but the microscopic silicone it has can be harmful to your pet.  What you can do is to control the flea and tick population through cutting tall grass and disposing leaves and other litter in your yard. Do consider spraying flea and tick sensitive insecticide along your fence line as well as beneath the shrubs. Give enough time for the insecticide to be absorbed before letting your pet out in the yard.