Part of the revolution in food production I am joining is to reject commodity markets in favor if finding ways to raise food that we will sell directly to the people who eat it. The last time I checked, no one eats the GMO field corn and soybeans that dominate our agriculture sector, mostly because they can’t. That field corn and soybeans are only good for industrial food factories that churn out products that have names many people can’t even pronounce and have to be regulated by the FDA.
Instead of raising chemicals for the industrial food supply, my goal is to raise food that belongs in your pantry and flour jar. To that end, I’m experimenting with a variety of grain and legume products, including amaranth, barely, flour corn, oats, quinoa, and rye. This year, I’ll be able to harvest what I’ve planted by hand, but at some point I’d like to grow more, and the easiest way to do that is with machinery.
Unfortunately, if you’ve looked recently, the entire food production world is geared toward making growing anything but commodity products on a huge scale in the United States almost impossible. The big equipment companies assume you want to farm 2000 acres of the same plant, and the small equipment manufacturers in Asia and Europe can’t find distributors in the US because most implement sellers don’t think anyone is interested in buying.
It seems like an impossible situation unless you’re stubborn like me and have a habit of looking at every implement yard you pass.
In which case you would see this very good condition Allis-Chalmers All-Crop Harvester 72 sitting in an implement yard. In basic terms, this is a small combine that you pull behind a tractor, and it’s perfect for harvesting small amounts of grain without the headaches of a regular combine, which includes having another engine to maintain and fuel.
If I were to buy this thing, I would be able to harvest small stands of any kind of field harvestable product–from alfalfa to zinnias–even just an acre. Perfect for what I need, except that it requires me to spend money–really my mother-in-law who owns the farm’ money–and that’s hard to do when one is trying to be as responsible and frugal as possible.
So for the moment, I ponder and I pray. Here’s a chance to take another step toward what I know I want to do. Now I just have to decide if it’s the right time to do it.
That’s the thing about farming – lots of time for pondering, punctuated with bursts of frenetic activity (putting up fence, planting, harvesting, maintenance, animal care…).
Looks like a nice unit. Wish I could grab it myself…..
It turns out it’s a great unit: a single owner, well maintained, and kept in a barn its entire life. We bought it a couple of weeks ago because it was just too good of a deal to pass up. Hopefully, by next summer, we’ll be in the business of using it to harvest specialty grains.
Did you find a way to move a tractor without buying fuel?
Julie, my best guess about moving a tractor without buying fuel is either biogas made in a gasifier-reducer or converting one to electric and using solar. They’re both items on my eventual agenda of experiments, I just haven’t gotten to them yet.