Category Archives: Farm News

  • Raising Livestock in Virginia

    It’s no surprise that the highest earner in Virginia farming is livestock. With its temperate climate and large swathes of space, livestock can flourish throughout the year.

    Why Livestock?

    Why not livestock is the real question you should be asking yourself. Raising your own protein is one of the purest forms of farming that is left out there and livestock accounts for four of the top five agricultural commodities in Virginia. In addition, the Virginia climate makes it easier for supplemental grain to be grown for their nutrition to assist in cutting down the overall costs.

    Livestock in Virginia: The Champions

    Broilers

    Possessing the top spot of any agricultural pursuit, broilers or chicken raised specifically for meat production account for over seven hundred and thirty-three million dollars’ worth of income for Virginian farmers. Chickens are a very popular livestock to have as those interested don’t necessarily need to be in the country to raise and require a much smaller amount of room to be raised in.

    Cattle/Calves

    Coming in second cattle accounts for a little over four hundred million dollars’ worth of income for those that raise them. The costs of raising cattle is a little more to handle versus the broilers and require more room, but farm to table restaurants have raised the amount of demand for local meats. Regarding pastures ratios, you will want to have at least two to two and a half acres of pasture per calf/cow unit and of course extra room for hay production. Clearing small areas of wooded areas will help give you more areas for cattle to graze and allow you to have more total livestock. Selling the timber is possible to and worth exploring as an option by talking to a mill.

    Turkeys

    Domesticated turkeys bring in a little under four hundred million dollars in income and which makes Virginia the sixth out of the nation in Turkey based on the number of heads. Much like the broilers, which Virginia is ranked tenth nationally, Turkeys don’t require as much land as cattle and they are also in high demand especially around the holidays.

     Livestock in Virginia: Other Livestock Products

    Milk (three hundred and eight million dollars) and eggs (ninety-seven million dollars) are still very high on the list of commodities in Virginia. As these are by-products of from the list above, it’s easy to see why Virginia Farms are expanding and producing at such a high rate. Hobby farmers are very likely to have egg-laying hens, and a vegetable garden and with the mild climate the possibilities are endless as to what to grow.  

    Livestock Land

    The good news is that this type of farm doesn’t necessarily need to be the highest of quality. You will need to have more room than quality and as long as there is enough for the animals in question to graze and forage, it will be enough to start with. As time goes on, you will want to either set aside extra land to grow grains to bulk the animals up. Virginia has the space and the temperate to start your dream livestock farm. 

     

  • farms for sale

    Virginia Farms for Sale

    Farms for sale in Virginia are plentiful. Depending on what you want, properties range from 5 acres to hundreds of acres, small quaint properties to sprawling estates.  But finding your dream farm for sale can be daunting if you do not have a good idea of what you want. Purchasing a farm for sale, you will want to be educated and well informed about the market in your area. Write down the must have’s and what you could do without. Continue reading

  • Virginia Farm - Lavender

    Begin your Virginia Farm: Lavender

    So you are thinking about buying a Virginia Farm, or transitioning Virginia Farmland into a functioning farm? One way to utilize a portion of land, large or small, is planting lavender fields.  Lavender fields can be vast or small, and are fairly low maintenance.  Continue reading

  • Growing Small Grains in Virginia
    Today, many Virginia farmers are choosing to grow their own grains in the face of rising food costs for themselves and their livestock. Barley, feed corn, grains, oilseeds, soybeans, and wheat all flourish in Virginia and with a steadily increasing demand for cereal crops across the world, the investment in growing grains quickly pays off. When managed properly, cereal crops provide for excellent and healthy grazing and high-quality silage or hay. Small grains have the potential to provide supplemental nutrition to livestock, as a hay crop while doubling as a winter cover, and as silage, and can also provide a farmer with a scavenger of residual nitrogen from fertilizer.
    Grazing on Small Grains
    Livestock farmers interested in growing grains should keep in mind that grazing should only occur once the plants are well-established and in their vegetative stage. Silage or hay harvest should occur only between flowing and early seed fill. Corn, on the other hand, is one of the few annual crops that provides quality forage after seed maturity. The high yields and high quality of corn oftentimes make it the first choice for silage production in Virginia.
    Forage Potential of Virginia Small Grains
    Though cool-season cereal crops form the backbone of many farms across Virginia, many farmers fail to take advantage of the tremendous forage potential these crops provide. Provided that farmers take a soil test to determine the land’s lime and fertilizer needs, Virginia farmers have had excellent results with high-quality small grain forage production. For those interested in growing cereals or for those who have established operations but don’t use their crops for forage, the following crops are well-adapted to Virginia, can be used as supplemental nutrition for livestock through grazing, and can easily be worked into their forage production system:
    Wheat is an incredibly versatile cereal crop with excellent winter hardiness and good potential for silage, pasture, or hay production. Because it can be sown later in the fall than barley, it is a good choice for planting following a soybean or corn harvest. Wheat is also a smart choice for sites with less than ideal drainage as it can withstand wetter soils than barley or oats. Tall wheat varieties have immense forage potential when planted earlier than normal and at a higher seeding rate. Planting wheat earlier also increases the potential for the crops to recover from residual nitrogen from the previous summer crop. If managed properly, farmers can allow livestock to graze on wheat in the fall and again in the early spring, then harvest it for hay or silage.
    Barley produces excellent quality silage and hay, but at lower yields than other small grains. Barley tends to be more difficult to grow than wheat because of it isn’t as cold hardy and because of its sensitivity to acidic soil conditions. On fertile, well-drained soils, the barley quality is excellent, and its ability to thrive in sandy soils makes it popular in eastern Virginia where it can be difficult to grow other small grains.
    Triticale, a cross between rye and wheat, is gaining popularity throughout the country as a forage crop because of its high forage yield. It is tolerant of acidic soil conditions and well-adapted to a range of soils, including sandy soils.
    Rye is probably the most tolerant of the small grains, growing well in cold conditions and a variety of soils. Like wheat, rye can be used to provide excellent fall grazing, good winter ground cover, then excellent grazing again in early spring. Rye produces good quality silage much earlier than other cereal grains, and because of its rapid growth, it si the most productive of the small grains for pasture.
    Winter oats, though less cold-hardy than common wheat and barley varieties, survive most winters in Virginia and produce high forage yields. Winter oats also produce a high-quality silage though yields are lower than with other small grains. Extremely dry or wet conditions can hurt yields as winter oats are best adapted to well-drained clay and sandy loam soils.

  • Agri-tourism: A Growing Trend

      In the last decade, farming has become a rising trend where people have been leaving their desk jobs to take up farming because some want to get away from the rat race, start a slower paced life Continue reading

  • Intro to Farms

    The return to farmland and farms has been a growing trend among entrepreneurs, as well as retirees. Approximately 8 million acres across Virginia are in fact farmland Continue reading

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