Broadacre Farming: What Is It and How Do You Practice It?
Broadacre farming is a term you hear primarily in Australia. It is different than traditional farming in a few key ways such as the need to bring in a large support staff and the use of specialised technology. Done correctly, broadacre farming can be an excellent investment for your farm. We’ll talk about what it is, what sets it apart, sustainable practices, and how to protect your assets and distribute crops below.
Defining Broadacre Farming
At its core, broadacre farming is running a farming operation with livestock or crops that are more suitable to large scale production. It could involve producing oilseeds or grains such as barley, wheat, sorghum, peas, hemp, maize, sunflower or safflower. Using grazing livestock for either wool or meat are other common investments.
Since the 1950s, farmers have been on the hunt for better profits through adopting technologies to save on labour costs, increasing their operation sizes, and choosing to use more chemicals. The introduction of specialised machinery, more animal breeds, new crops, and more intensive farming boosted broadacre farming’s popularity.
Modern broadacre farming often requires large farming operations that have access to the right services and technologies. The larger the operation, the more precise the management has to be to keep things moving in the right direction.
Broadacre Farming’s Modern and Sustainable Land Management Practices
Broadacre farming has motivated farming operations to practice modern and sustainable land management. Farmers have come up with ways to drive their profit margins up and to keep their farms sustainable. The biggest methods include:
Many broadacre farming operations use precision watering technology to control how much water they use on any given crop. They combine this with finding soil that retains water better to cut back on their overall usage. This system means it’s possible to plant crops more densely while maximising the water use. The use of biological stimulants in the soil triggers a cycle that makes the crops more resistant to heat, drought and cold.
Broadacre farming works to reduce fertiliser use by introducing composting into the crop. The compost feeds the soil and plants, and this encourages healthy growth without spraying the crop with nitrogen-based fertilisers.
In turn, this is healthier for the crops and the surrounding environment. Farmers don’t have to worry as much about chemicals building up in the soil and harming any new crops they plant the next growing season.
Another sustainable technique many broadacre farming operations employ is pest management. Instead of using chemicals, farmers introduce and import natural predators to control the pests. This could include pathogens or parasites specific to that particular pest.
These natural pest management tools then go to work. They’ll go after the pests to significantly reduce their numbers while shielding the crop from further harm. This is very useful if the present pest has no natural predators in the area because it’s an invasive species.
New Technology Adoption
Broadacre farming has many new technology options available that help to streamline farming operations, making day-to-day processes more efficient and giving farmers more control over their crops. Harvesters and tractors can have GPS systems and GPS computers built into the cab. A GPS system can help to apply fertilisers in the correct location, and it ensures straight crop rows.
Another popular type of technology is a tool that creates maps that tell the farmer exactly how well the crop is doing by location. The technology allows farmers to measure moisture levels, crop yield, organic matter content, topography, nitrogen and nutrient levels, or terrain features. This way, they can easily see how different fields produce different results depending on the variables.
Protecting Your Assets
Broadacre farming has several unique ways to protect any and all assets of a farming operation. These include:
Bespoke or Hay Tarps – If your broadacre farm involves livestock, you will have tons of hay to feed them. To protect your feed from the elements and retain its nutritional value its best practice to cover your bales with high quality hay tarps. The same goes for your expensive equipment, especially if it has modern equipment like GPS or computer systems built-in. At Bee Jays Canvas Co, we can create high quality bespoke tarps to fit the dimensions of your equipment.
Regular Maintenance – Performing routine maintenance on your equipment is essential to keep it in top working order. You want to service equipment at least once a season to ensure it’s working efficiently. You can update your technology as soon as newer versions or patches come out.
Quality Equipment – With so much equipment available and the sheer size of the broadacre farming crops, investing in quality equipment is a must. You’ll need larger equipment to tackle the expanses of land that come with this type of farming, and you should get everything from reputable suppliers.
Labour Management and Training – Because broadacre farms are so immense, it’s not unusual for farmers to enlist the help of a fleet of employees from general labourers to IT techs and marketing support. Providing them thorough training and ongoing management ensures they comply with all of the policies and procedures necessary to help keep your crops healthy.
The most popular way for broadacre farming operations to distribute their crops is by using a truck or semi. Tarp curtains have caught on as a viable option. They can quickly retrofit to a host of vehicle sizes, and they’re quicker to load and unload than traditional trucks.
These tarps also double as a load restraint system. This eliminates the need for distributors to use gates or poles when they transport the crops. It can speed up delivery times, which equates to more money that can go back into the farming operation.
Contact Bee Jay’s Canvas Co Today!
If you’d like to know more about how the right tarps can help you get your broadacre farming operation off the ground, or improve the performance of your current farm, get in touch with our friendly & experienced team.