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Logo of 2019 Adventist Agricultural Association Conference: True Success

Efficiency for the Commercial Gardener

Eric Pond

Recorded

  • January 18, 2019
    9:30 AM

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Scaling up some things to think about is bigger really better everybody always thinks of I'm farming 2 acres or 10 acres is going to be a whole lot better and that tractor is going to be really nice but a lot of people don't think about all the headaches and really don't understand the cost of human capital or the cost of actual dollars. Just something that you should really think about before you take that next step goals what are yours free be really clear on that sometimes it takes a long time in life to figure out what our goals are really about and I recently was working with an executive coach and he said something has really stuck to me if it energizes you then it's probably something that would be worthwhile focusing on or doing if it's not energizing you then you probably should look at something else so if you don't feel energized by going to work every day than if that's not what you need to look around to see what other opportunities opportunities are there because believe me there's been days when I've been to in the morning changing a belt on a Christmas tree Baylor lane in the mud Well it's snowing outside and I'm thinking to myself What in the world am I doing I could be home sleeping but I but it's still exciting so. Go figure market is there demand so one of the big things that we can do is farmers do a really good job of his growing things and we really don't do a good job of selling it or selling it for the right margin so a tip that old farmer told me years ago was a 3rd the rule of thirds whatever you sell it for a 3rd of that price should be the cost of harvesting and packing a 3rd of it should be the cost of growing and a 3rd of it should be profit if you're not profiting a 3rd on your selling price you're probably not charging enough or you're growing something people don't want at the price that it costs to actually grow it so just be thinking about that or your management procedures. Are you ready I see a ton of people that manage their management style as they go around and tell everybody what to do or they do it all themselves because nobody can do it as good as them that's not a scalable model I work with tons of managers and I sourced them all over the West Coast to operate properties that we find and one of the 1st things I do is try to figure out who's making decisions on the farm if it's collaborative there's a chance that they can scale if it's one person making all the the decisions and if they make comments like I said things myself. That's not going to work it's just not a scalable model and until people figure that out they're going to be frustrated and the work or people that work for them or will also be frustrated and in capital are you position financially Do you really know what it's going to cost you to take on more land so. Many people forget about majoring in it and if you can't measure it you can't manage it so just why stewardship is really important when you're. Looking at scaling So again these are just more questions that I would ask. On the tasks you're not good at who can help you have you identified the list the people in your life or in your around you that can help you do things that you're not good at if you're not good at marketing then find somebody that is and work together on that if I see a lot of times we're low small farmers will be in this in an area one of them is really good at marketing and transportation and so working collaboratively is a really great way to hear not have to hire somebody but yet be able to accomplish you know getting your stuff sold at a good price. I was selling potatoes at farmer's markets in Portland and we had listen at $0.50 a pound and I thought that was quite a bit of money and it didn't sell a potato this is like several weeks in wasn't selling details and selling details when home so you know my wife about it she said you know they're probably it's a perceived value issue but the price up to a dollar a pound of see what happens and like there's no way people are going to pay a buck a pound for potatoes and this is when you could buy 10 pounds of potatoes for a buck in the store when I was growing everything you couldn't find in the store that was our thing we didn't grow russets we didn't grow Yukon goals you know we grew everything you couldn't find in store for the price of $2.00 a buck and sold out in about 2 hours the next market and from that time on we sold out $3.00 to $5.00 to $500.00 pounds of potatoes a week for a dollar a pound and we were sold out by the end of the market in fact we made more money on potatoes than we did on berries so anyway just you never know. These guys do a really great job and I actually brought a hand out so at some point somebody maybe can pass these around. For those of you who were in library actually went home and put together a bunch of. Information here that. Would help you with berries and with small farming So these are the sources I go to for. Help and for inspiration when I'm looking for it so. These guys were 1040 acres of stone in the field consultants and then of course the farmers friend folks out here. You know they're doing a lot of inspiring things on smaller scale so small scale it's not. These guys so this jam. He's there doing it I think it's $13250000.00 a year off of an acre and a half and they have about a 45 percent net profit from that so if you think about one of the things I like to think about is how many people are trying to support how much money do I need to support that and then what is it going to take to bring that money in after taxes. To to provide that support So again budgeting but just ways that I'm thinking about whether we should scale or not. Again that goes to the financial goals what are your lifestyle. How much do you really want to work for means a lifestyle don't ever kid yourself that it's not it's not an 8 to 5 job or 8 to 4 it's not even sometimes 6 to 8. It's similar to being a doctor where that patient still in the hospital you're home sleeping but you're worrying about the patient that's in the hospital that's farming so. It's just it's a huge blessing it's a huge show to me it's kept my interest going over the years and so it's something new but it's also a lifelong lifelong learning process and it's a lifestyle versus an occupation if you want an occupation than just garden. It's way more fun than the stress of actually farming and full you know full full time if that's not your or your focus. Market man demands. You really should be growing what the market wants and there's great ways to do that one is surveys one is to also look at farmer's markets go to the farmer's market before it opens and stay till it open it closes and one of the farmers have left on their tables a lot of areas. The farmers' markets have already saturated it C S A's are hard to start one of the big things it's not happening in the northwest is enough wintertime production stuff to get most of our produce from out of state. So that's a huge opportunity for people and one of the my retirement farm this. Is growing a few things over the summer that you really look forward to eating over the summer like things like melons and tomatoes and then growing a lot of storage crops preserving them and storing them and in selling it all winter because I like to get out in the woods in the summer time or mountain bike and so you can't do that if you're working 6 days a week on a farm. Management procedures is your team trained this really goes back to what I said 1st. It is a mindset you have to as you scale and add employees or larger operations you have to get your work done through other people so you need to become an influencer rather than a direct leader of a project and that is a mind shift it's definitely not something we're naturally trained to do so. There's a whole list of places I go and actually didn't put them on here but. Google has done a really great job changing the culture of business and it's something that agriculture has not done a good job of and nobody's talks about it but it's definitely something that's necessary so. Big thing here is can you maintain the quality when you scale that's really important customers are buying your product on quality usually not on. Quantity and then again financially in this big question around human capital. Can you actually take on more so appropriate scale matters I was recently tested with looking at cranberries and whether or not we could scale and we could actually produce organic cranberries So most of the cranberries are produced conventionally and we have about 3000 acres of cranberry bog in band in Oregon here in the south coast of Oregon and there's about 1300 acres in Graylands and Long Beach in Washington so that's West Coast Kernberg reproduction is pretty much just in these 2 states So our question was to manage it appropriately we needed to hire good quality people to do that we've got to pay them a pretty good amount of money so what scale we're going to need to be at so to have a management team. One of things you're seeing here is a harvester least 3 times the width of a normal harvester that bog would take 4 hours to harvest with the with a regular conventional Harvester takes just 20 minutes to harvest that bug so with that kind of equipment so it's that kind of thinking that was always churning in the back of my mind is how do we do something more efficiently how do we do it with less. This was also yields on old varieties so this is something to think about old varieties we're producing 152200 barrels of barrels $100.00 pounds so that's 15220000 pounds per acre. The new varieties are producing 400 barrels to the acre so 40000 pounds if my management costs are the same and I'm doubling the production just think about what that does to the bottom line right so that's important so is also scale so the top left corner here is the cost of managing $80.00 acre cranberry farm about $25.00 The key number I want you to look at is is 2562 dollars and $0.50 per acre because again I only produce X. number of pounds of cranberries for acre right but my management costs and overhead costs are always there it's like it's like heating the dormitory colored It's got to be warm it felt like you can shut it off so it's a fixed cost if you put more people in that dormitory you're making more money or at least it's costing you less per person so anyway same thing the $150.00 acre farm that drops down to $1833.00 per acre and if you have a $200.00 acre cranberry farm it drops down to $1600.00 an acre the savings from 80 acres to $200.20 acres is $962.50 per acre. So the huge savings we have added people you can see we've added some people just to take on the acreage but it's not like we're doubling the team to manage 80 acres versus 200 acres. So just key so the numbers are free to think about all I want you to get from this is that there is an appropriate scale for what you're doing so the question was what about equipment how do we think about that and I have more. I have some examples further on down the line but it's a great question so it costs us about $400000.00 to outfit a $100.00 acre blueberry farm. If we're farming $300.00 acres it only cost us about a $1000000.00 So the cost per acre is significantly decreases to a point blueberry harvesters you can harvest about $60.00 acres depending upon the varieties it's spread out so. Anyway where I look at it is if the Harvester is going $24.00 hours a day 6 days a week that it's pretty well maxed out if I can't do any more so we have wet weather here and when it comes to harvesting hazelnuts if you have early varieties usually harvest in the dry so you can move almost twice to 3 times as fast if it's wet it's a 3rd as fast so it's those wet years that stretch everybody to the max and that's when you need 3 times the equipment so it's kind of. It's it's really depends on what you're growing so. It's hard to it's hard to like put a fixed number on it but yeah so we lease and then what we do is we do those least the purchase options a lot of times. And then if it's a piece of equipment that I don't need very often I'll just rent it. And use it that way and a lot of times I try to get low the big stuff done custom farmed before and in all purchased the smaller equipment that will be used most of the time. Like we don't need a $500.00 horsepower tractor after we've planted We just need it for all the ground prep or the planting these permanent crops so Arns not making you any money it's always depreciating so everybody wants to go out and buy a new piece of equipment that is just innate it's just what you want to do don't think it's a bad thing don't feel bad about it it's just exciting to go and buy a new piece of equipment but most of the time we don't need it so that's a bummer parter. There there is no Renee Brown has the saying I thought was pretty applicable to our talk today there's no innovation and creativity without failure period I mean how many times does it take to make a lightbulb is like 70 or something like that so. I look at failure with excitement because it means I'm close to the right answer and I'm going to show you some stuff we failed on so the Lord desires US workers to make constant improvement he desires in the work in perfect unity helping one another our talents our diligently traded as our talents or do diligently trade upon they multiply years ago I never would have thought I would have had the opportunity to lead the building of a 30000000 pound delivery packing facility but every step of the way I can look back and see where God has provided opportunities where I've learned things that helped with designing and building that facility and we talked about in the very production thing that we were trying to design the most efficient facility we could we thought it was going to cost us $0.14 a pound when we got internationally operated it we were down to 8 cents a pound on labor costs so it was a huge blessing and I just look back over my career and Thirza instances where we learned things that really helped in the process of building that facility so in a vision of also 2 stages this is by Roger Schwartz from Harvard Business Review the generation of new ideas and the implementation of the those ideas you probably all met people who have a lot of great ideas and who haven't ever implemented them it's just an idea if it's ever been implemented so creativity is considered to be the 1st stage of the universe and all the leaves upon a tree there are no to pursue Eisley like the largest I expect that is workers be exactly alike in their skill or in their manner of working. So ask 5 farmers how to do something you'll get 5 different answers and they all are probably successful farmers so again don't feel bad if the way you're doing it's not the way somebody else is doing it. And this Edward de Bono person says there's no doubt that creativity is the most important human resource of all without creativity there will be no progress and we would be forever repeating the same patterns what got us here is not what's going to get us there I talked about this in liberties even though it's a 50 year cropper 80 year crop I the best management teams and places to invest in is those who will who will change with the time you may not be growing blueberries but you'll be growing something because you have good soil and you have good water so what people want may change in the future. So on the left is a failure on the right is a success we on the left we were trying to figure out how to plant at that time we were only planting like 50 acres of livers a a year so at that time it was still pretty small scale and we were trying to figure out how to plant them with a transplant or mechanical transplant or and so we spent $15000.00 developing this mechanical transplant or we actually bought it used someone else it developed it and we bought it from there and tried to modify it and change it and while that worked. The thing that made us stop using this was thinking about the cost savings at planting is so small if you're thinking about this crop being in for 50 years that one you know if you if 10 percent of the berry plants didn't produce because they weren't planted correctly that can be as much as $2000.00 pounds of the acre which at organic wholesale prices is about a dollar a pound so you're looking at 2000 dollars an acre which is about 25 percent of your profit each year so it's a huge number over the life of you know a 50 year crop you really don't want to be making a mistake yet so we went back to hand planting even though it was more expensive but the. The benefit was we were at least more hopeful that we got them planted correctly on the right side this is a falcon that we use for birth control this is on a 300 acre farm it costs about $65000.00 a year and we had 0 bird damage birds here in the West Coast are starlings that's the big problem bird we do have songbirds like robins but you can't really do a lot about them so the Falcon flies all day except for about 2 hours in the middle of the day. And. Again we had 0. Damage to our fruit and the other method was propane cannons and people running around on 4 wheelers and G.'s noisemakers creatures things which sound like the distressed. Noise of a bird being ripped apart very slowly so it's kind of distressing to the human to me at least as I'm walking around this squawking sound you know all day long so this thing the cell phones are silent the local birds don't have any problems with the middle so the question was How does the Falcon work so the Falcon there's they have 4 different birds they fly one of the time early in the morning one of the types of bird Falcons likes to go around and cruise in kind of go through the plants and chase birds so they bring that one out during the day when the birds aren't quite as active in the middle of the day the bring out one that just flies up really high and they call the cone of death you can even see the bird but he's just he's just down there. You know and starlings don't come in there go you know they're eating the neighbor's crop who doesn't hire a falcon but they're not eating our crops so the question was How do you keep the Falcon from flying away the Falcon or feeds it the Falcon strain to know that the falconers is easiest source of food anyway OK so we were trying to figure out how to as we scaled up organic blueberry production this photo here is of a 1200 acre organic livery farm here in the valley that we developed and planted from the very beginning and we're trying to figure out how do we cover it with so just because you're an IT doesn't mean you don't spray we still have to apply stuff for diseases and pests especially spotting just awful and so we're trying to figure out how do you cover the acreage acreage fast enough that was one issue because we have these short weather windows here in the well valley between rain storms you actually experience more experience in a more mild year for us here but so the old method was would use a 5 member team to cover about the same acreage. The new method with these over the roast for years and I don't actually have the spray blooms it was in my very class but they reach out and do 5 rows of the time over the top So again we got rid of helicopters we got rid of just the old method would have a tractor with a spare like this just spraying to half rose and so you'd have to go down every row so this new square goes down. And it covers 5 rows of time so we use 3 people in a crew you know one in each cab and one mixing on a batch truck there are 20 percent faster also because they have high capacity tanks on the side so they stop less and so they'll pull in when they're empty they'll pull and pull into the row the fetch tank drives up they plug in and about 5 minutes later he's full and he's off and going again so that downtime has really been eliminated that saves us $45000.00 annually so you think about that over a 10 year period that's about a half $1000000.00 each of those machines cost 300000 I didn't have time to put the other machines in there but if you were doing it the other way you're still looking at a $50000.00 tractor and about a $30000.00 spread or so 4 times $80000.00 so you're looking at 320000 so by 4 machines for the price of $1.00 of these. Is kind of the economics on the machines and then they also mow and so they'll Motu Rose instead of one at a time with the tractor so they're actually mow in right now and you can see the cuttings from the other thing I wish I had a pointer I don't have one so the old method Mowen would have used for people to mow the same amount the new method uses to team members and each one of these machines another $4045000.00 in savings in Yulee a year. So we had an old orchard we had 800 acres of old hazelnut orchards you can kind of see the with leaves behind this. Pruning machine here and with no leaves here on the right we were we were pruning them down by hand we wanted to prune the tops down to get new growth regeneration happening in the in the trees and we were doing it with pruning towers and it was costing us well over $1200.00 an acre and we thought there's got to be a watered better way to do this a little bit of Internet searching there's a company in California that makes these printing towers that go up on top of the tractor I don't have a view of it. Doing it but that unfolds up like this and goes through the canopy at an angle like this and it's spinning so the whole mechanism of there spins Plus those saw blades are spinning it just cuts off the top of the tree and so it's going down through there is cutting that off that costs us only about $250.00 an acre so there's a about a 1000 or an acre savings between the cost of doing it by hand they're doing it with a machine that machine that unit on that tractor the tractor is about a 50000 or a tractor and that unit on top was I think another 30 or 40 maybe 45 we used it on a 100 acres to bring it down and then we sold it to a farm in California for 30 so. Much got our money back out of the machine on the right is a lecture a static spur that we used in the orchards. That this bears on the back to front is a tract low profile high horsepower tractor. That had a about a $65000.00 savings going from an electrostatic sprayer what happens is we do so reduce the spray rate per acre because it's electric statically charged positively and goes out there and covers the tree so our coverage was a lot better. And. That had we cover they would cover 5 acres conventionally with Anon a lecture said expert we were covering 20 acres with these new electric Spurs this was a weed control. Device we built for in the blueberries we were trying to figure out how to mow the edges of the weed fair work if you were in the very thing you saw this picture already but we got this and so this is one of the out products of the innovation team we took people from all over the company and from accounting from the safety person from the agronomists the guys out on the farm and put them into an innovation group and said hey we need to figure out a solution to lowering the cost of our we control and this is what they came up with and built it in our shop so. Again one of those situations where you're flattening the management of the of the project if you don't have the acreage This is also works just as good it's a 0 turn mower. You can slide those up on the edge the mower deck if you put a mulching blanket on it you can mow right up next to that fabric with the with the deck and the printing you know the grass clippings go straight down so we actually now those are $10000.00 that other unit cost $45000.00 to make and so we now buy those 0 turns and just run them until We're the we're like the largest landscape for an organ because because of all the acreage we mow on the farms every year. This was a device that was created out of necessity when we planted a seed blueberries planted here on the both sides the fabric. Dirt was getting mounted up on the edge of the fabric and we really want a really level bed in there image means we can plant grass and so the guys took this in the shop and they built these wings and that's actually on the right side actually is a rubber flap so it won't tear up the fabric so just designing things that you need. The question was how long will the fabric last it'll last about 10 years and you recycle it and replace it so there's a leisure. That sees the tree and then just turns on the conveyor to basically puke sawdust just on the tree this particular. There's a guy that figured out how to do this with Kalman or and he goes along and dumps come in are right around the tree yeah you can watch this all day this is like pretty cool so the old method was 5. 6 people we had 2 or tv's or gators and we had sawdust in the back and we're shovelling it out like this and when one person is driving we're like this gotta be a better way because we were thinks that's also. The green button OK so we would hand shovel grain scoop of sawdust on every tree and we were looking at developing $1200.00 acres of his and that's then the next 2 years and we thought we can do things we can't do so we all got together in the wintertime and somebody in our team found online somewhere that somebody put an eye on something else I think it was to see something and they're like hey we could get this so it cost us here's the numbers here so the kit. The kit cost 705 dollars 1200 dollars for the high and $500.00 to install it we already own the tractor in the square spreader So the old method was $216.00 an acre it was 5 acres person per day 6 people $18.00 an hour total cost Don't forget what you pay people is not your total cost of the employee it's really important that you have the whole load burden in there so you know exactly what people are costing the new meds it costs we can do $50.00 acres per day with 3 people 20 or $20.00 an hour 10 hour shift same time period but we're doing 50 acres versus 5 so the new method was $12.00 an acre it took 2 hours to pay off that investment. Oh and $1.00 of the things we found out by putting L.E.D.S. on here that it will see the tree at night so we go $24.00 hours a day. So we have 2 shifts so this was our cost savings $1200.00 acres savings of $204.00 an acre we saved 244000 dollars one year 2 years 2 years that we planted 1200 acres in 2 years so this is my home garden. We have 10 acres. South of here about 2 hours south of here and we have water rights but. Yes. It seems as though I couldn't get enough. During my regular job which is for me to come home and garden like this but. Yes you probably have all seen a lot of this stuff this isn't probably new to anybody who's on the small scale already but I guess just give you some idea how I was thinking about it. I get tired if I'm still not efficient at home I mean it's not like I go home and that part of my brain shuts off so and I plant randomly around the garden you know that just doesn't happen so that the English rambling garden thing doesn't happen I was planning flowers in the farm and every time I wife a come out see what do you do if you plan to be a rose again. Some white random so I tried random like I work really hard at random she comes out on the deck she looks she's like they're still in rows and like no way they're random so from the angle I was at it looked random from the other you want on the other side it was all in rows. Well honestly. This is a B.C.'s with a rotary pile but they were not that B.C.'s about 30 years old I just put a new motor on and it had the transmission worked on but. I wouldn't bother buying anything else B.C.'s was pretty pretty great this potatoes so all I did there was actually put a little a little rod on the edge of the. P.C.'s that stuck out like this and a full fledged on it are in a string and I just that's how I got those rows that straight so that's non G.P.S. obviously. So I've I garden in a 100 foot beds because it's more efficient. So this is using the rotary plow to Hill potatoes I've got the drip to drip tape down there. This is actually healing so right here on the side I'm driving right beside the potato plant and I've got wheel extensions on it I took them off it was actually much easier to use with them off and I found that most of what I did I wanted it to be off anyway so there's still potatoes on the right so. I made a huge mistake this year. No right on the edge. You can see the potato plan it's like it's going to tire does Miss No I wasn't driving on looks like it but if. These are again these are farmers friend. Who passes and so that's where I did my potato production I don't have this old. P.C.'s is only 8 and a half hours power and so it won't run that rotary herro power hero. So I would I'm actually I gave it a give away all the produce if I actually sold some of it I could probably justify buying a new one so I could get a rotary herro But so I have a tiller that's all rotary plow and Tiller. The hero is a lot better use. We get we planned on 30 inch beds and we use you sailors tarps. Weeds In Oregon grow year round there they don't ever go dormant so we have a whole batch of winter weeds spring weeds summer weeds fall weeds and weeds again. We're blessed that way. I have 2 rows in between this and I actually never did get the fat plastic on the top but I used them for the trellis system that's the size up on top and I ran aircraft cable down through there 2 trolls are. Tomatoes there's planted tomatoes cover the whole thing with Reed fabric. And then burn holes in you will see that in a minute so there are steaks and unfortunately don't have any pictures of them fruity. That's when we were reciting and putting new windows in our house so. Again this is a silly I have a tractor with a spade or to do the major tillage and then I drive the tractor is has narrowing of tires at 30 inches is the center between the tire so to make my rose I can just drive down and then drive back and it puts an 18 inch walkway and leave me with 30 injuries bed if I want that bit higher than I take that rotary plow and go down there and down one side and down the other throws the dirt up so I can make a taller bed if I if I one of the taller bed for something and I garden 10 beds and then a hedge row which I'm putting fruit crops in and in another 10 so it's all pattern and then I can. Rotate I have 7 of those. Annual bed crop sections so I can rotate one of them's always resting every year so it's like 7 which is a 7 year rest period so I don't rest the whole farm every 7 years barest of block every 7 years this is how we made the patterns in the fabric planting pattern so I just took plywood cut it 30 inches wide wrapped up my pattern on it and used the whole saw with a drill to a hole saw those out and then I take a small propane torch I lay the fabric down the bed where you can lay it on gravel and then take a small propane torch and just torch around those holes really fast and then I slide it down so the hole lines up with the last powder last hole that was burned in the pattern and burn the next section so pretty fast. And in the used 2 rows of tea table you can see how they line up between the planting rows. So that's what we're doing for we control so this is what broccoli looks like. Planted on that. Yeah hairier I rolled up and move it to other field or or reuse it in the same field if it's the same crop space and. Pull beans I found pull beans are way better tasting than Bush means and I'm too tall to pick bush beans anymore so I think it's faster to pick them but the other thing I found is that you get these this row started and it's up there quite a ways to go ahead and plant another row on the other side. You want to do it on the non shady side of the row but you can get another crop going on the same trellis so you can go a lot longer you can pick almost I think 6 weeks to 8 weeks from the same Troilus by a can by seeding twice down there so. On the left I planted on the left 2 rows that came up in there it's what you see on the right now and in a one on the right side well there's no right or left it's actually it looks like a threat in the middle but I would just go right down there and plant another row beans when these are about half way up so they'll go up sir flower in the next batches coming up. This was a we talked about this in the very I found this actually last night and put it in here today so this is the picking platform table that we made designed and built to handle fresh packing blackberries and liberties in the field and so one of the things I really get frustrated with is inefficient movement and so when our crew is out there think about this if you're less if you're right handed you need to move things from your left to your right hand so this is the motion you should be thinking about so if you're grabbing something washing it and then put it in a band it should be from left to right. And if your left hand it should be the other way it's just trust me it's more efficient so on this very car you're pulling it backwards walking backwards down the barrier on your picking you're picking everything off and you're putting it in clamshells where putting it in buckets if it's not premium great if it's not really great perfect for fresh quality so we have our. Boxes and clam shells on the bottom and on the top table we have the ones we're filling right now plus to discard buckets one that's not that's garbage and one that's juice grade or frozen grade compared to the fresh pack here well if you're going on the right side you're always going opposite and you're fumbling the whole entire time if you're right handed in your heroes here and your stuff here if you're left handed you're picking and you can actually be packing with your right hand while you're picking with your left hand so don't forget to think about just the human movement in all of the things that you're doing there is a way that's more efficient for you and it's all different for every piece person but you really need to understand your crop and when to pick it because you can be disappointing your customers the entire time this French melon isn't ripe until when you twist it on the voice that vine should come off really easy and there's 0 and there's juice coming out of the end of this you can eat it earlier but it has no aromatic flavor and it's not going to be it's just not going to taste right so. We sold these for over there $5.00 apiece in the farmer's market but. They're also really fussy to grow. OK so there's innovation in the varieties too it's not just your farming practices and this goes to the what I was talking about earlier about spreading out the labor in the work and having the cash flow year round so did the this on the right is a Christmas melon that my friend Eric Creek farms bread himself over time he did selective breeding and got this we grew this last year and we ate we ate we didn't have it stored quite right but we ate the last melon the 1st of December so you picked this in September and put this in storage and you should build not cold storage This is actually stored like 65 degrees or war well between I think it's like 60 something like that and then same with this squash this squash will last until March is stored correctly so this is a squash that he bred it's out of a. I can't remember what it originated from but he. Brought it over time so just something to think about. This all over and called it all organic Yep he's actually has cancer and. He our family felt like we needed to carry on this tradition of his seed because he's not even selling and so we got some of his seed from him and we groom this year and we saved him so we're looking forward to. Doing that or you know hopefully expanding that or at least keep that seed string going but. Yeah so what's in the future right. This is a little robotic garden weed or it has a little tiny weed whacker underneath it is just going to go and and the thing crawls around your garden at night looking for Weeds Yeah like what's that robo thing or the you know the vacuum inside the house or whatever yeah. I don't think it's like huge scale and I'm not sure I'd let it out in a curt fielder's like a new little field but come back in the morning in like all gone. I just throw that in there because. You know the new and shiny is not always the best way either so just I just temper it. OK we'll take questions yes yeah on the large farms we actually have a fly over every week but it's not with a drone it's actually it's just with an Air airplane and it's. For red camera and they're running what we're learning from that is how the irrigation is working or not working and where we have weak areas in the field and then we can send their promise right out to those areas to look at it they pull soil samples so it's not telling us what's wrong but it's always that there's something not right that far I'm talking about $3000.00 acres and it's 6 and a half miles long a mile wide so it's a lot of plants individual care. We also started a agronomy training program where we train everyone on the farm in agronomy so they know they have little picture books they have everything so they're Moeen every row there they can send photos up to the agronomist say they see a problem out here Same with it when it went in equipment piece of equipment breaks down they can tell the mechanic teams we have a. 34 gotten us and we had like 5 mechanics so you could bring the part with you it just saved everybody a lot of time and my partners were getting all mad about I was giving i Phones to everybody you know kind of like well look at the cost savings just you know a $4.00 hour repair versus a half hour repair because they came with the right part so. Good question what do I use for a nitrogen source it depends on what we're. Fertilizing. On the blueberry saw they don't like salt so we try to stay away from animal sources on that so we're looking at it like your debris waste compost are actually using a product. Digested out of its grocery store waste and it's digested it's a liquid fertiliser and we like that a lot has a fairly good protein is about her nitrogen sorry it's about 4 percent nitrogen I think it is liquid fertiliser but. There's a company here in Oregon it does pelleted chicken manure so it's heat treated so you don't have to have it or not it doesn't under that. Robin or category so it's good we'll use that and we've used soybean digestive soybeans and corn before so. That's liquid. RA Yeah so the plants don't think it takes a long time for that to break down and become available to the plant and compost as a half life too so if you're putting on a compost at say a 42 percent nitrogen that year you're only getting half of it and it's taking a long time for to release so it's great to put on compost but you're actually with that compost you're mainly looking at building for the future it's that night nutrient cycling is not happening very quickly so. The question was. How is our drip irrigation so that when we have rolling hills so it's actually pressure compensating Soichi measures pressure conversation. That works pretty well it's not perfect so in those cases I was running what was I doing I think I was pushing the water up the hill rather than down the hill so it's pushing up with more pressure and we were still maintaining 14 pounds at the end we're starting it like 20 pounds you don't want more than about a 10 pound pressure loss in your line. Or and then you need to have about 12 pounds of the other end to actually have enough pressure to flush the line properly so you've got to get out there the question was do we 1st a gate and do we what do we do if the lines plug up so we actually had a system plug up and we injected citric acid. In it on a hot day injected this full if we could so as high concentrations we could and then we. Shut the system off was sit there for 4 hours in the heat it effectively boiled the stuff it was a mineral deposits that was a problem in the emitter it turned into a gel and then we cranked up the irrigation systems a much pressure as we could without blowing things up turned off it was a 20 acre field so we turned off all these valves so we were just doing 10 rows a time with high pressure and flushed out those lines and actually cleaner is able to clean it out to prevent that we know in the large operations it's organically certified to use or chlorine gas in there to keep algae and things from growing so there's another product that C H 2 O. puts. They used to keep the lines clean and it's basically I think it's like a hot concentrated hydrogen peroxide or something I mean on a small scale just flushing the lines out. And then on a small scale if you're small enough you can fertilize by hand and not put it through there that's what I would do this media was brought to you by audio person a website dedicated to spreading God's word through free sermon audio and much more if you would like to know more about audio version or you'd like to listen to more sermon leave W W W audio verse or.

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