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Small-Scale Farming Equipment

Hand labor is the most expensive cost item in small-scale farming, so it's no wonder that farmers are always looking for innovative ways to reduce labor costs. One solution is to find a tool that might work to reduce the need for repetitive manual work - leaving more time for more skilled work.

Learn how various small-scale pieces of equipment can be pieced together to reduce hand labor. Photos and videos show innovative equipment for establishing beds, precision planting, cultivation, and other forms of weed management.

Presentations from Workshop, May 2015

Equipment Introduction: Drought Management for Vegetable Growers 
by Paul Vossen

  • Till in your cover crop early to save as much rainfall supplied soil moisture as possible
  • Increase OM content of soil – over time, by adding compost
  • Fix irrigation system leaks
  • Water shallow and frequent for shallow rooted crops
  • Water deep for deep-rooted crops or not at all for dry-farmed crops
  • Time irrigations based on daily demand (evapotranspiration rates)   
  • Select & time crops that use less water
  • Apply mulch
  • Control weeds

Improving Efficiencies in Our Cropping Systems 
by Jim Leap

  • Soil management basics – know your soil and rotate crops
  • Tractor configurations – bed spacing – important for precision transplanting and cultivation
  • Soil compaction challenges – keep compaction to the wheel traffic area
  • Tillage systems- subsoilers, chisels, spaders, rototillers, discs, plows, spring tooth and lilliston cultivators
  • Bedding systems – bedding disc, bed shapers, precision seeders, precision cultivators