Introduction to the one-acre farming model
An acre is not a lot of lands, so conventional farming methods aren’t going to work for you. But, if you set about it the right way, you will be able to produce a surprising amount of food.
A step by step guide to the one-acre farming model
How to be self-sustaining on a one-acre farming model
Most areas have regulations about what type of structures and what types of animals you can have on a 1-acre lot. Chances are great that you cannot have a cow, goats, pigs, and chickens on a small property, but even if regulations allowed it, you’ll want to be aware of how having these animals might impact neighbors.
One-acre is about 215 x 215 feet. Presumably, a quarter of that is reserved for house and yard. So you’ll have ¾ of an acre left, and can get eaten up pretty quickly. And, if you have 8 goats on ¾ of an acre, that space will get torn down and overrun in no time at all. Failure to set priorities will result in the land that is overgrazed, overworked, and lifeless. Then, figure out what’s most important to you and go from there.
Total self-sufficiency means that you would grow own hay to feed the goats, have enough chickens for meat and eggs, and have a fairly large garden for fruit trees, berry bushes, vegetables, and herbs. One acre isn’t likely large enough to accomplish all of those things and be completely self-sustaining, but it is large enough to be sustainable and practical. And anyone can feel good about that.
One-acre farming model planning
On a One-acre farm, it’s not enough to just mark out some fields and then start growing stuff. You need to make sure you’re getting the best use from each part of the land. Before you even pick up a shovel, work out exactly what you are going to do.
Start with a map of your one-acre land, and mark any areas that can’t be farmed. That includes buildings, obviously, but rivers, ponds and boggy patches. Then, take a walk around and examine the soil in each part of the plot. If there are different soil types in your farm, mark on the map where they’re found. Consider the local climate, because that’s going to affect what crops you grow. Semi-arid conditions or long, cold winters rule out some plants and make others more practical.
Few items you’ll need to One-acre farm plan for;
You’ll need sheds to store equipment. Then, look for locations that have easy access to where the shed’s contents will be used, and to the transport network. If you get ten tons of fertilizer delivered you don’t want to be carrying sacks by hand because the truck can’t get to storage shed. You don’t want to take up prime fertile land for infrastructure, so try to put it on less useful land.
Using greenhouses can extend growing seasons and even let you grow crops that wouldn’t survive in your local climate. They don’t have to be expensive; either clear plastic sheeting over a lightweight frame is all you need. Greenhouses can raise humidity if you have a dry climate. Things to grow in them include tomatoes, soft fruits and even flowers selling cut flowers is a great way to generate some income from the farm.
Manure is free fertilizer, and if you get the right livestock it will eat a lot of the waste produced on the plot. If you’re not a vegetarian, you can be producing your eggs, meat, and dairy products. With one acre of land available, you want to find ways to raise livestock without taking up land that could be used for crops.
One-acre farming model
First, you need a One-acre farming model;
You’ve got the land, and then you need a plan. Without a plan, the farm may become a series of frustrating blunders, wasting time and money.
Depending on your needs and desires, each is a valid option for small-scale or One-acre farms. Your goal will define how you use your obtainable space. For our purposes, and we will assume that you intend to become self-sufficient.
Setting up the infrastructure for one-acre model farming
You don’t want a lot of infrastructures to run a One-acre farm, but you will need some. Mainly, you need storage for supplies, equipment, and some type of produce. That means having a barn. If the property already has a barn, you’re in luck; if not you’ll need to build one. A barn needs to be big enough that you can store things in an organized way. Bins for feed and fertilizer, some more for root vegetable plants you’ve harvested, and enough space that you can store any machinery and have space to work on it. You can farm an acre without any machinery, but a compact tractor and some attachments will make life a lot easier and you’ll need them if you expand plot in the future. If possible, locate the barn near the house on hard standing. That makes it is easy for deliveries.
Land and soil characteristics
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Land with water reduces the cost of pumping or buying water to provide for crops and livestock. Animals and plants need water but don’t thrive in a marshy environment. Farming methods and crops vary from region to region for good reason. Clay soil retains moisture better than other soils but requires preparation and augmentation. Rich, loamy soil is good for several crops, but if it is too loose or has high sand content, it will dry out during the hot, dry summer months. In some cases, the soil can be so poor initially that you will plant your subsistence crops in raised prepared beds. Remember that over time you will improve the soil. Last year’s crop remnants, livestock manure, and vegetable refuse from personal use will be recycled into your garden plots to increase fertility.
Be familiar with temperature levels and rainfall. These determine when and what to plant. Climate can influence your farm structures. Colder regions require sturdier buildings and may even necessitate a greenhouse to extend the growing season.
How much money is available for your start-up and operating costs for One acre? Don’t break your budget. Better to start small and expand as you grow in experience than have farm efforts end for lack of funding.
Plants to grow on your one-acre farm
Generally, you’ll want to grow more than one crop in each category, to add some variety, but don’t go too far more crops means less efficiency, and if the farm is split into dozens of tiny plots, each with a different crop in it, you’ll find your time being eaten up very quickly. Aim for three of each. Then, that means you’ll have twelve plots, each with a different crop. Depending on taste preferences, annual sustenance crops include varieties of the following, suited to your soil and climate;
You have four main options for One-acre farm;
- Potatoes and sweet potatoes
- Root vegetables – carrots, turnips, rutabaga, and beets
- Salad vegetables – lettuce and cabbage
- Legumes – peas and beans
Best one-acre farming model animals to raise
As a beginning farmer, there are two animals you should consider for your One-acre farm. Chickens and goats are reasonably easy to raise and give high-quality protein. They are a key part of your soil enrichment efforts, providing that all-important ingredient such as manure.
With only one-acre to farm on, you don’t want to take up space with grazing animals. It is possible to keep a cow, but then you’ll want to use some land for growing winter fodder as well. It’s easier to stick with simpler livestock options;
First, starting with as few as a dozen laying hens, you will have plenty of eggs and meat. With proper management, they will provide a steady surplus to bring in cash or for use in barter. Breed selection is very important. Some types of chickens are great layers (Leghorns) but not so good for meat. Others mature quickly and give lots of meat but not so many eggs. For small-scale farming, a dual-purpose bird is ideal. This includes Plymouth Rock, Orpington, and New Hampshire Red breeds. Then, these birds tend to be hardy, good sized for meat production and lay abundantly.
Goats are another useful animal and their milk can be used to make cheese, they’re a good, fast-growing source of meat, and they’ll eat just about anything. Fence off your fallow plots and you can let goats graze on them. If plots are around 50 feet square, you can two goats in there. Move them to a new plot every few days. Like chickens, goats are bred for certain qualities. Some are better milk producers; others give more meat. Ideally, you must breed a meat-producing buck like the Boer, Spanish, or Brush with a good milk-producing doe like the Nubian, Alpine, or American Lamancha.
Here are some facts about goat;
- A female doe produces about 90 quarts of milk a month, 10 months of the year.
- A castrated male produces 25 to 40 pounds of meat.
- A doe will give at least one baby every year.
- Goats are low maintenance animals.
A minimum of 3 to 4 goats is required to start your herd. Two to three doe and a buck to breed them will ensure a supply of milk and enough kids to augment the supply of meat.
The more adventurous beginner might consider a cow and pigs. They do have the advantage of providing excellent meat and lots of rich manure, but also need more time, effort, space, expertise, and expense than goats or chickens. Start with chickens and goats. Once you are comfortable with them and add a milk cow. Jerseys and Holsteins come in miniature sizes, a third to half as large as a standard cow.
Finally, add pigs and increase meat production and cash flow. Pigs would have to be confined in a house for at least part of the year (and you would need to provide straw for them), because, on a one-acre farm, you are unlikely to have enough fresh land to maintain them healthy. The best option would be a movable house with a strong movable fence outside it, but you can have a permanent pigpen instead.
With your fallow plots and some feed, you can simply keep three dozen birds, half a dozen goats, and a pair of pigs. That will give you 300 pounds of pork, 100 pounds of goat and all the goat’s milk and eggs you can use. It means that you might not be growing crops on the fallow plots, but they’re still producing food for you that’s the sort of efficiency you’re looking for on a One-acre farm.
Selection of the most profitable crops for one-acre farming model
First, selection of the most profitable crop per acre, for the land available with you, depends on;
1) Crop production (in kg per acre per year) possible considering
- Location of land available
- Infrastructure available on the land
- Manpower available
- The skillset of the manpower available
- Production know-how available
- Funds available
- Inputs available (seeds, fertilizers, etc)
2) The total cost of production per kg per year
3) Farm Gate Price (per kg) offered by the buyer ready to purchase all the crop in one cultivation cycle
Tips to Turn a one-acre farming model into a profitable business
Here we discuss one-acre farm ideas in India;
Grow gourmet or medicinal mushrooms– Growing mushrooms on-farm can be very lucrative. There is more money to be made from growing mushrooms for medicinal use or the restaurant market. Trying to compete with the supermarket on button mushrooms wouldn’t be an option unless pricing or quality is better. Depending on the type of mushroom you select to grow, you could harvest some in just 15 weeks, with a yield of up to 4 lbs. per square foot.
Farm snails as an export crop – It is very easy to think of snails only as pests, but they can earn you great money. In some developing nations, Snail farming is becoming an important export crop. To farm snails, you’ll want to provide them with shelter, plants, and food. This can vary depending on your situation.
Raise tilapia or other fish – Raising fish such as tilapia can be a profitable business. For tilapia, you will want to be in an area where the water temperature stays about 20°C. If the temperature is lower than this, you may need to heat the water which, of course, is costly. The fish will survive in cooler temperature levels but the growth rate will be slower. Depending on the size of the young fish you buy, your harvest could be ready in 6 months depending on what size you wish to sell your fish at.
Grow Dual Crops – Depending on what you are growing you can be able to plant two crops side-by-side, saving you space. Here on our farm, we have planted coconut trees that are spaced 5 meters apart, and between these, we plant crops such as beans, zucchini (courgette), and cucumbers. Because we have irrigation already in place to water the coconuts, which have deeper roots, we can use the space to greater, profitable effect. Then, the income generated from the earlier crop will pay for the cost of electricity to water the coconuts. There are lots of combinations of crops that are good to grow together, helping you make higher crop yields using the same amount of space and water.
Multi-Layer Farming – Growing two or more crops together at the same time on the same land is called Multi-Layer Farming. In this, we grow plants that are of different heights on the same field at the same time. The plants and crops must be compatible with each other. It is practiced in plantation crops and orchards for maximum use of solar energy even under high planting density. 4-5 crops can be grown together easily by this method. It helps in utilizing space efficiently. Multiple plants can be grown at the same time on the same land. It helps farmers in earning around the year by selling crops as per their harvesting. The risk of complete crop failure is very less in this.
Raise Specialist Breeds of Animals – Some of these include the following, and there are often multiple products that you can sell from the same animal.
- Guinea fowl – You can sell guinea fowl meat, eggs, and young.
- Quail- You can sell quail young, meat, and eggs.
- Rabbit – You can sell rabbit meat, fur, and pets.
- Ostrich/Emu – You can sell Emu meat, Emu oil, feathers, and eggs.
- Goat – You can sell goat meat, milk, butter, cheese, and hair.
- Deer – You can sell meat, fur, and antlers.
Organic farming income per acre in India
Organic farming aims for human welfare without harming the environment and follows the principles of health, ecology, and care for all including soil. Organic farming business in India is economically sustainable and assures rich returns or profits.
The following products are permitted for use in manuring or soil conditioning in organic fields;
- Farmyard manure, green manures, crop residues, straw and other mulches from own farm
- Sawdust, wood shaving from untreated wood
- Calcium chloride, limestone, gypsum, and chalk
- Magnesium rock
- Sodium chloride
- Bacterial preparations (Bio-fertilisers), eg. azospirillum, rhizobium
- Bio-dynamic preparations
- Plant preparation and extracts, eg. neem cake
The use of synthetic or chemical pesticides, fungicides, and weedicides is prohibited. Natural enemies shall be encouraged and protected.
Organic farming profit in 1 acre;
For example, per acre produce of organic wheat was 9.18 quintals, while the yield of conventional wheat was 16.74 quintals per acre. We found that with only a 30% cost difference, output differed by 82%. Cost of seeds was substantially higher in organic farming compared to conventional farming
One-acre farming model for profit
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For example, here we discuss onion crop profit for One acre;
The expenditure on 1-acre land for the maintenance of land and onion crop is approximately 25,850/-. At last, you will get a profit of 50,950 rupees per acre.
For example, the cost of One-acre onion farming;
If you are ready to earn the money through Onions farming, below are the cost details;
- Cost of seeds -5,200/-
- Labor on land preparation – 1,200/-
- Machine Labor – 1500/-
- Labor cost for planting – 1750/-
- Weeding – 700/-
- Labor for irrigation – 800/-
- Fertilizers and Farm Yard Manure -800/-
- Plant Protecting Chemicals- 3,600/-
- Harvesting Charges – 1,100/-
- Labor on Shed curing – 5,000/-
Sub Total (A) Variable Cost – 21,650/-
- The rental value of Land – 3,300/-
- The interest of input charges – 900/-
Sub Total (B) Fixed charges – 4,200/-
Total Cost of Production (A+B) – 25,850/-
- Average Output of onion per acre (in Kg’s) – 4800 kg’s
- Gross Returns – 76,800/- (16rs per kg)
- Cost of production – 25,850/-
Therefore, the cost of seed is the major portion of the total cost of production of onion.
Net Return or profit = Gross Returns – Cost of production = 50,950/-
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