Agriculture Log

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Agriculture Data Collection

Sun Jan 24, 2016

Note to Alec: Looking at your chicken plan - why separate cocks from hens?

I would suggest getting a good breed of laying hens now, and using ours our building another incubator.

Such that we start producing pips for 5 months to get up to 1000 chickens within 5 months from staring, at the time when we have compost infrastructure set up. OSE can pre-order a bunch for workshops, and me personally as well. Consider a freezer where we can pack away 1000 or so if needed. Butchering plan needs to happen. I would suggest looking into egg dehydration, as we will be throwing out many eggs to other animals - or we can consider dehydrating for egg powder or pelletized egg/hay feed for fish or chickens. We can sell at market, CSA , etc - but I can tell you from experience that with egg flushes, we need backup for egg usage. Even freezing would do, if we do scrambled eggs for breakfast.

Capital investment would thus be small - $150 for hens and incubators, say 12+ hens for 60 eggs per week and 50 babies per week starting after 3 weeks. Key is finding some hens that are laying now, and warming/fattening them up immediately so they start laying in a couple weeks.

I would Score another few broody varieties, so in summer you get additional incubation for free - say 6 broody hens that will produce at most 12 pips each, but more likely 8 pips on average.

Startup is manageable, in that you'll get gradual chicken experience so you can handle a flock, and risk is mitigated by hatching more chicks in case of losses.

If we get the offal, we can start grinding that and mixing with hay immediately, using the few Bales we have left right now.

With the offal, we would want to arrive at feed making capacity. Feed is typically pelletized corn+offal - I think we can get to this with pelletized and grinder, the outstanding question being how to dehydrate. This may be next year, as we'd want to grow our own dent corn.

This would form a capital investment of $150 and your labor + gas - for an ROI of $8000 sold at Tyson prices of $2/lb, and not including eggs or pips sold to workshop participants etc, or meat sold at $3+/dressed pound, assuming chickens are on average 4 lb dressed weight.

With dogs for protection, this has good chance of success, and integrates well with Tractor + fertility.


Sat Jan 23, 2016

Ag strategy: differentiate clearly between revenue crops and experimental, and specify which fraction is which. Sample budget proposal for ag.

  • Risk level: risk can be minimized under the close supervision of Ron Whitehurst. Even low-end estimate appears favorable.
  • SWOT: High revenue opportunity. Opportunity to document the world's first, economically sustainable, aquaponic production model. Threat: management time required for a complex system.
  • Grow out 1000 chickens in a compost operation fed by offal, hay bales, and hammer-milled tree branches. See Top Heritage Chicken Breeds. Start by incubating eggs, so startup cost is $50 for incubator + 12 pullets ($100).
  • SWOT: Strengths are that compost-fed chickens don't require feed, and dogs could protect them. Ability to multiply flock starting from eggs at 50 cents per egg.
  • Risk: predator loss from inadequate infrastructure.
  • Opportunity: at 6 lb of weight after 6 months or 4 lb dressed - absolute minimum value is $2/lb (Tyson) or $3 for organic. At minimum price of $2, that is $8k of value after 6 months, plus eggs for market.
  • Opportunity: compost production for raised beds.
  • Bakery: all season product - bread + cinnamon rolls.
  • Rabbits

Summary budget:

  • Chickens: $150 + bales + offal
  • Bread: $150 for grinder and $1k for mixer.
  • Greens: $50 for seeds.
  • Rabbits: housing and fencing

Thu Jan 21, 2015

  • 200 tiny fry appeared in pond.
  • Alec - planning ag. Agree to do Ag Dev Spreadsheet.
  • Tasks: industry standards for days to maturity. Validate crops.
  • Validate yield projections

Wed Dec 9, 2015

Put chestnuts in fridge to continue stratifying. From Empire Chestnut. Select from Trial seedlings, Orchard x-aLarge, and Damiano Cold Hardy. 10 lb each.Orchard extra large bag was intact, but two others broke, so there are some known and some mixed. 1000 seeds total.

Nov 15, 2015

Placed hazelnuts in the refrigerator for stratification. Aquaponic workshop was from Nov. 6-11 - and I recall placing them in the fridge right after the workshop ended - meaning the fridge was empty after the workshop.