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The Daily Bale
Natasha Post, Author
Organic farming systems were developed during the early 20th century and now accounts for more than 70 million hectares of land. More than half of the world’s organic farms are located in Australia, but organic farms in the U.S. and elsewhere are continually on the rise. In 2016, more than 14,000 farms in the U.S. were certified organic. According to the Department of Agriculture, this is a 56-percent increase from just five years earlier in 2011.
"Organic farms that provide large-scale production of crops will still need equipment to realistically profit from a large acreage."
Organic farms are most commonly defined by their use of fertilizers that are organic in nature, fertilizers such as bone meal, green manure, and compost manure. Additionally, there is an emphasis on farming techniques and sustainability practices such as companion planting, mixed crops, biological pest control, crop rotation, and encouraging the use of insect predators.
Basic Farming Equipment Choices
While fertilizers and crop growing methods may vary from traditional farming practices, organic farming on a large-scale still relies on conventional farming machinery, such as:
- Combine Harvesters
- Seed Drills
- Air Seeders
Some farmers feel a big part of the choice to be an organic farmer is to ensure the planet is taken care of by avoiding machinery use as much as possible to help reduce their carbon footprints. Small-scale farms can be cultivated by hand to minimize the need for clunky machinery. However, organic farms that provide large-scale production of crops will still need equipment to realistically profit from a large acreage. Without mechanical help, this can be much more difficult.
To ensure a more sustainable approach, some farmers choose to utilize antique farming equipment or avoid the increase in petroleum and resource use in crafting new farm equipment by buying and maintaining used farming equipment wherever possible. There are many resources available for farmers to obtain antique or used equipment parts, as well as used machinery.
Organic Farm Equipment Used for Weed Control
There are a growing number of agricultural equipment manufacturers that are developing and producing equipment that is much more suitable for organic farming, including machinery that reduces weeds and equipment designed to stimulate plant growth. The use of tined weeders, for example, is a long-established method of removing unwanted plants between rows. Still, more modern machinery helps to eliminate weed growth from within plant rows too.
Tined weeders are one of the simplest pieces of equipment to use for the removal of unwanted species in both grassland and cropped areas. Organic farmers often benefit from multi-purpose tools, to reduce the carbon footprint of having a lot of heavy equipment onsite. Tools such as comb harrows have fine spring tines mounted on a flexing frame, and they can be used for both weed removal and the breaking of capped soil. The breaking of capped ground enables more air to enter the earth, as well as improving water percolation and evapo-transpiration. Additionally, they play a vital role in preventing slug development by breaking up slug eggs. Tined weeders and chain harrows can also prepare a seedbed for sowing. Chain harrows and tined weeder attachments on a tractor can achieve all of this, and more, making them a widely used choice of equipment for organic farmers.
Organic Farm Equipment Used for Dairy Farming
Organic dairy farmers are often keen to get more out of their cattle slurry. Slurry, created from a mixture of cow manure and water, is a natural fertilizer that can be used to encourage more grass growth, as well as the growth of other crops. Luckily, there are methods to help separate solid and liquid fractions, enabling farmers more versatility when using this fantastic, organic fertilizer source. Compact, low-cost bedding recovery units can be used with portable slurry separators, reducing the requirement for large slurry pits filled with a mixture of unusable matter.
Organic Farm Equipment Used for Manure Spreading
A core principle in organic farming is utilizing as many as the nutrients and fibrous materials in manure as possible, to improve sustainability and prevent waste. Modern side-discharge spreaders and rear-discharge spreaders, such as those from Kuhn, Richard Western, and Samson Agro, are continually improving the accuracy, durability, and maneuverability of their machinery. These machines finely shred the fibrous manure content and ensure it’s evenly spread so that the entire soil profile is improved with organic matter.
Equipment Transport for Organic Farming
At Tractor Transport we’re dedicated to the farmers. We know farming is one of the most difficult professions on the planet, and there are a lot of people relying on your crops. That’s why we make sure to take the utmost care of all your equipment and machinery during transport. We’re here to haul all your organic farming equipment year round.