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Senior Contributor

Solo farming operations

I am past retirement age and farming alone.  I'm curious to know what you have done to make it more efficient?  I'm a grain farmer.  No livestock anymore.

I put a hitch on my S10 pickup so I can tow it behind a tractor and implement and then have transportation when I get to the distant field.

Also, sometimes I just have to walk a quarter or half mile or even a couple of miles.

I don't own an ATV and don't really see a need for one at my age and level of activity (I'd have one if I had cattle).

Any neat tricks you use to make solo farming operations easier?

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8 Replies
Frequent Contributor

Re: Solo farming operations

Although nearly 60 years old, bought a used Honda ATV two years ago and it sure is nice to have around.  Only two wheel drive but it will travel anywhere I dare to go and it was bought for less than $800 from a retired farmer.   Heard last year that you can buy new Honda two wheel, drive automatic shifts for less than two grand.   At that price have pondered an upgrade several times.  Other than an ATV, my solution would be to lease out the more remote fields, or get a cheap bicycle.

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Advisor

Re: Solo farming operations

  Getting moved around is a problem farming alone.  Could you buy a couple older vehicles that you could leave on distant farms?  Buy a mini bike and haul it in your pick up to ride back home.  In your case a cell phone is a necessity.  A friendly neighbor who can move you is the best remedy of all.

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Senior Advisor

Re: Solo farming operations

Every year gets harder Jim. I had a utility tractor that i would use for the extra ride. It wasn't bad for short moves but the longer trips to most of the day getting relocated.

 

As long as you are physically able it iset so bad but climbing bins and machinery got to be an accident waiting to happen. Imagine how long it would take to heel a 24 ft fall off of a bin roof.

 

I still have the urge to do it but know I am not able It's hard to come to that conclusion but I have to accept it

 

edit.. I forgot to mention hiring more mechanic work and usinf commercial storage. Both cost more but there comes a time.

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Veteran Advisor

Re: Solo farming operations

I see you already have a few ideas.

I too am in the age that receives a pension and farm alone except for harvest.

If I can think ahead I get someone to 'spot' an extra vehical at the distant farm ahead of my needing to move.

Most of my land is within walking distance and I understand walking is good for your health, besides since I am at least semi retired now with no livestock I have the extra time to walk.

It is the extra hazards that my older feet create as they seem to get tangled on more things now than in the past. While alone that sometimes give me cause to consider the situation but what the heck there is no fun in just sitting on the front porch and besides 'if you were born to be hung you can't be shot'.

Do what you are able and like Kraft-t pay someone else to do a little bit for you.

Just hired an alcoholic who probably used the $ to buy more drink to fix a roof that I have been on many times in the past because my legs just would not let me climb off the ladder this time. Guess they knew better than my mind.

BTW a cell phone is now a necessity, I do have neighbours that would help me anytime I am really stuck but I have not had to call them yet!

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Advisor

Re: Solo farming operations

It seems I have seen some hitches made for equipment towing behind vehicles, for making moves easier between farms.  If you can stage several pieces of equipment at a place, then move a tractor there to use with them with the last one, you might haul all the implements quickly, and then only need one "deadhead" ride to get home from moving the tractor over, and then go back on the truck. 

You may have a retired friend, who'd be glad to help you move every so often.  Every car dealer I know has a couple of older guys who still drive well, who simply ferry vehicles between dealerships. 

If you haven't already got that tow-truck set up for repairs, having at least a few basic tools and supplies in it will save you a lot of lost time running back to the shop.  Throw in a good first aid kit, too.  Can't hurt, and might help. 

I am a huge fan of the check-in.  If one of us is overdue getting in from the afarm or anywhere else, the other one expects a call as a courtesy.  In truth, having someone who knows your schedule and location is  a safety practice.  We text a lot now, since that takes less signal to get through, and the message is right there on the screen, instead of having to call voicemail for messages.  

This is really a logistics problem for the most part.  Like some have said, sticking to land not too far away from the farm is probably sensible. 

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Advisor

Farming solo follow-up

Thanks for the input here. It inspired me to work up a little blog item on the topic:

 

Here's the link: Farming solo: ideas to make life easier.

 

Be safe out there!

 

John

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Advisor

Re: Farming solo follow-up

1 more thing came to mind yesterday as I was moving machinery around.  I recently bought a hitch that clamps to a loader bucket.  It works great for backing wagons etc. around whereas I used to push them manually.  BTW I never did  learn how to back up wagons with a tractor like Dad always could.

Senior Contributor

Re: Solo farming operations

I access several friends who are either semi-retired or wanting to work just to help out due to interest in agriculture and has the time to move machinery to distant fields.  Too bad you and I don't live in close proximity, we could make something work that meets your needs and mine.

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