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Poultry – Introduction

October 14th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Poultry - (Comments Off on Poultry – Introduction)

Poultry – Field Birds

Introduction

October 14, 2010

 Intent: To establish the viability and management practices of “small flocks” of laying chickens (layers), on seasonal pasture, free roaming except at night.

 Parameters:

  • Capital Investment; North Slope Farm.
  • Daily Management; North Slope Farm.
  • Site Details; infrastructure and fields managed by North Slope Farm.
  • Enterprise; 3 total flocks of 50 birds each, annually.  Each year 50 new chicks will be started and at the end of the season the oldest flock will be retired.  Each flock will yield 2 seasons of production, over a managed lifespan of 3 seasons.
  • Flocks will be managed according to Generally Accepted Organic Practices, with a focus on access to outdoors, and Organic Feed.  Ideally investment dollars will be directed to local businesses, ie; feed from Rosedale Mills in nearby Pennington, NJ.  Chicks currently purchased from Moyers Chicks, in Quackertown, PA, due to past business and good reputation. 
  • Regular records will be kept of costs and production.  North Slope Farm will be responsible for costs and income of the operation.
  • Information about the project, including annual summaries, will be shared on our website under Special Projects; Poultry.

 Data Points:

  • Baseline value of a dozen eggs wholesale: $4.50
  • Retail value: $7

Summary as of October 2010:

Farm manager and trainees currently manage two flocks of layers.  The ‘08’s have been retired from production, so the ‘09’s are the “old girls” now.  The 210’s (chicks started in 2010) are out of their baby pen, into the big girl housing but not yet on pasture.  Their coop is built into a fenced yard for the winter, so they will not be on pasture until Spring 2011.  They are first in line for special treatment though – vegetable waste from market garden as well as hay and sprouted grains for scratch.

2010 was hard on the field girls with serious losses to foxes.  We anticipate increased pressure as cold weather sets in.  To avoid loses over the winter we need to enclose the girls, ideally into a large greenhouse, but at least a fenced yard.  The winter setting for the 2010’s is established but where we’ll park the 09’s is still up for debate.  Getting them into a situation where we can build extra protection from the winter extremes is the priority.  Also critical is to have them near to our winter water source.

The costs of the enterprise are primarily in Feed.  Labor is the other major item.  The labor required at minimum is Morning and Night.  The opening of their coop in the morning, freshening bedding, filling feed and fresh water.  Evening chores include closing coop, securing feed and collecting eggs.  We typically visit the coops up to three times a day, collecting eggs and checking feed and water in the afternoon.  Each week the field coops are moved to a new section of pasture.  The section of pasture has a perimeter of 330’ as defined by two 165’ lengths of “Poultry Net” (from GrowersSupply.com) – Cost at purchase $170 each.  We sort the eggs into Market (clean from coop) and Farmer (needs cleaning).  The farmer eggs are available to our trainees (and community investors) at reduced cost.  The Market eggs are rinsed prior to packing and selling each week.  Current average yield for thiry layers is 13 market dozen per week, at $4.50 – about $60 for a weeks worth of tending (not enough even to support a workers responsibilities at $10/hr).  The goal will be two flocks of 50 each, yielding 43 doz, or $190 for a weeks worth of tending.  The working assumption is that more birds than that would exceed our ability to manage optimally.

Future discussion:  Establish a viable wholesale cost.  Assess production management; strengths and weakness.  Assess production potential and identify limitations to operation.  Identify values and costs of enterprise not reflected in hard data collected.

Click on picture below to visit our Photo Sets at Flickr.com
Moveable Coop and fence

Invest in Agricultural Enterprise

October 14th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Community Affairs - (Comments Off on Invest in Agricultural Enterprise)

Agricultural Enterprise Opportunities

NorthSlopeFarm, West Amwell NJ, USA

October 14, 2010

A challenge for agricultural enterprise is capitalization.

 To provide an incentive for Farmers to invest themselves in regenerative, environmentally sensitive, quality production of locally valuable products and services,

Those with access to “underutilized” capital can invest it,

In Agricultural Enterprise !!

North Slope Farm is developing a public format to track the evolution of “small scale agricultural enterprise”.  The base data being the information shared on this web site and through our Training Program about the basic operation of North Slope Farm.

 We will track our new enterprises under the Category – Special Projects – Poultry.

 Agricultural Enterprises currently listed:

  • Poultry – Field Birds

 How North Slope Farm can help you invest in Agricultural Enterprise:

  • Shop from Local Farmers!!  Join us at Farmers Markets!!
  • Ideally North Slope Farm hopes to establish its Trainees in positions of responsibility, managing valuable resources to regeneratively produce products and services for local communities.  Each Trainee has their own hopes and desires but most will be challenged by available capital to invest in long term plans and effort.  To encourage investment by outside parties – sympathetic to the real challenges of doing good – North Slope Farm can serve to partner with Trainees, active and graduated, and individuals or groups from the community who would like to actively invest in Agricultural Enterprise.
  • To discuss agricultural investment opportunities email – northslopefarm@comcast.net ; subject Agricultural Enterprise

Crops Available October 2011

October 7th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Crops Available Now - (Comments Off on Crops Available October 2011)

Crops Available Now from North Slope Farm

Updated October 19, 2011

 Markets – 

North Slope Farms own;

Eggs – free range, organic feed, full outdoor access

Salad Mix

Arugula

Tat soi

Beets

Carrots

Garlic

Scallions

Limited quantities of:

Kale

Swiss Chard

Peppers

Tomatoes

Eggplant

Radishes

Speciality Herbs 

 

Fruit Products from Solebury Orchards, PA (not organic)

Honey Crisp Apples

Apple Cider

Apple Juice

Applesauce

Apple Butter

Peach Butter

 

Products from Davidson’s Exotic Mushrooms

Shitake

Oyster

Crimini

Portabella

Maitake

Special Projects

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Special Projects - (Comments Off on Special Projects)

2010 064

Special Projects are how we allow for interests and opportunities that fall outside our set practices.  Individual trainees can design their own special projects or like with our Poultry Project, the farm manager might define a production effort as a special project until it proves itself over time.  Winter Production and ‘TableTop Greens’ are other examples of this.

Planting

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Planting - (Comments Off on Planting)

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Planting is one of the most rewarding tasks at North Slope Farm.  It is a major step that takes the seedling from the Greenhouse element to the Crop Care element.  Many steps lead up to a successful planting, and then the job has just begun.  Cover those soil blocks you planters!!!

Infrastructure

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Infrastructure - (Comments Off on Infrastructure)

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Infrastructure is another element that is tied into all the others.  Nothing would happen without the infrastructure the 1. ties us all together and 2. allows us the energy and resources to feed production systems.  The time we all spend talking about how investments in Infrastructure can be designed to feed agricultural systems is what will lead to sustainable societies.

Handling

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Handling - (Comments Off on Handling)

Washing Intro

The difference between a fresh product and an excellent fresh product is Handling.  The niche that local agriculture can fill is to produce quality products close to the market, THEN handle them professionally and their customers will be back each week!  Here in lies the greatest challenge for small scale operations – washing, cooling, packaging and distribution.  To handle these issues professionally takes investment in infrastructure, expense that only pays off with large scale production.

Greenhouse

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Greenhouse - (Comments Off on Greenhouse)

seedling greenhouse 4.2009

Greenhouses are here to stay, and in our urban state, it seems likely that the future will include a greater and greater percentage of production in controlled climates.  Detail oriented managers will find great success in the greenhouse.  It is definately less forgiving than the outside environment.  Our greenhouses provide us with the opportunity to produce our seedlings, provide winter shelter for livestock, increasingly we are looking to increase winter production and generally a nice place to be on a sunny December day!

Equipment

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Equipment - (Comments Off on Equipment)

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We have a number of tractors and small engine driven implements like a ‘walk behind’ mower and rototiller.  The second year of Training is when we introduce our workers to these power tools.  As workers develop their skill and interest they are encouraged to “be the one the gets the job done!”  Equipment at North Slope Farm has never been our greatest strength but we strive to provide trainees with multiple opportunities to experience the power, danger and effectiveness of the combustion engine and its ‘Power Take Off.”

Crop Care

September 28th, 2010 | Posted by miker in Crop Care - (Comments Off on Crop Care)

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Crop Care is always on the Task List.  There is always some way we can care for our crops.  Weeding is one of those tasks that we hope to outgrow but still invest many worker hours, especially on closely spaced crops like carrots and salad mix.  This element also includes irrigation, trellising, mulching and pest control.