Welcome to my blog about my new farming venture. I am the previous owner of a very profitable 350 head dairy operation along with some arable farming of ~80 acres. I sold that farm, all the cattle and the equipment off to move on to new challenges. As luck would have it, I stopped here in this small town in northwest Montana on my way back to the Midwest and fell in love. I was able to find an older dilapidated farm that had been fallow for a few years. The widow who owned it had been holding out in hopes that her son would come back to the area to farm it but he has other plans. She recognized that the farm was in poor shape from a lack of maintenance and she accepted my purchase offer. This is the journey of Big Sky Farms.
Week 1 – Year 1: Here is what it looked like on the day I took ownership. The easiest way to get some pictures was to send my drone up. You can see the older barn made for smaller equipment, an old silage pit that is falling apart, etc. The Harvestore silo is in decent shape but I’m still going to take it down as I need something bigger. It is still winter and the ground is rock hard. I’m hoping we can keep the snow away long enough to start work.
Week 2 – Year 2: The first step was tearing down the old buildings. I contracted a local crew and here they are arriving with their equipment and beginning tear down.
I had them re-establish the driveway, level out some sections of ground and prep for a couple of building foundations to be excavated. They also hauled in a massive amount of gravel to spread later once the buildings are up. The next crew promises to be here in a few days to begin building the large equipment storage shed.
Here is another picture of the progress from the drone.
Week 12 – Year 1: Good news! While I was at the local coffee shop, I ran into a local architect who is big into repurposing shipping containers. We are in talks to have her build a container house / office for the farm. She sent me a couple pictures of the projects she has worked on in the past and asked me to provide some ideas to her. I've always found shipping container homes to be interesting so this is a new fun side development.
In other news there is progress coming on the grain storage system. The vendor and I had to sit down and address some initial scope issues. I had originally thought that I wanted about 20k bushel capacity with a dryer and the ability to upgrade to hold 50k bushels. I worked with the local agronomist to calculate yields based on my intended crops of canola, soybeans and wheat. What I found due to market conditions and amount of product being farmed, was I may end up needing to store up to 100k bushels. Since it is easier to size the dryer and add the grain transfer equipment now, I'm going to do that instead of causing more issues down the road. If I eventually run into the hard cap of not enough storage I'll have to implement a plan but I don't anticipate that happening. The vendor is going to send some 3D CAD images and I'll have those available shortly to share. Looks like they popped into the email inbox so I'll download one here now.
In a similar fashion the original intent for the barn was to be one large shed to hold everything but I'm very particular about a couple of things like performing vehicle maintenance in a heated space (brrr it is cold here in the winter), lots of light in the working space and the ability to play some hoops indoors during the winter time. The scope of that building has changed somewhat to now be a heated machine shop. It looks like I'll be implementing an additional set of 1-2 cold storage barns to accommodate storing field prep equipment, etc. I really hate to leave all that equipment out in the harsh cold and snow we have here and I don't want to have to move it each time I want to use the space. Now that plans have been agreed upon I should have the latest 3D renderings available shortly.
In actual farming news the ground is warming up as we approach spring and while I don't have any place to put equipment, I need some actual equipment to do some you know farming and pay for all this stuff. I've made some contacts with the local dealership.
This branch doesn't have much on site for inventory but they can get darn near anything from AGCO, Deere, etc. They even can order in equipment out of Europe. I sat down with them and put a list together of what I needed. If you ever need to buy something, contact the dealer rep Jessi. I've never had a dealer rep be so helpful and knowledgeable. Things should be here in roughly 4-6 weeks.
Seeder - Terminator TH1400 + grain cart (18m working width!) Fert spreader - Bredal K105 single axle spreader Cultivator - Sunflower 5056 Five-section (20m working width!) Plow - Case 15m plow - I cannot remember the model # Tractor - Case Maxxum 145 Harvester - Case 9240 w/ 45' Draper header
I also spoke with a couple of local farms to see if any of them have any tractors they weren't using. One of them, he goes by the last name Welker, is a big YouTube content creater and doing a great job of promoting farm education. His family is upgrading some of their equipment and has offered to sell me two Big Bud 450's and a retrofitted home made Big Bud sprayer. They have been gone through recently and are in pretty good shape. I don't think the Big Bud equipment is the long term strategy for this farm because they are not great with fuel efficiency and they have no rear PTO to run any equipment. However, they are much cheaper than some new Case alternatives, they have lots of horsepower and they allow me to get in the field this spring. I have a picture snapped on my phone of them I just need to upload it.
PrincessJessi: I am still here, working behind the scenes on something big! A new feature that will really grease the gears around here and keep the forum moving at all times.
Sept 26, 2022 16:48:23 GMT -6