Agriculture

A simple guide on starting your own cucumber farm from scratch

In many nations of the world, the agric sector has been proven to be one of the major income generators. As a matter of fact, no nation can survive without a vibrant agric sector or putting in place a provision for the importation of food for its citizens. So as an entrepreneur if you are looking for a business to start, you can consider starting your own agriculture related business and one of the business you can successfully start is a cucumber farm.

Cucumber is a vegetable that is widely consumed all over the world in different form due to the health benefits it posses; in some quarters, cucumbers are referred to as super – food simply because of the overall health benefit one stands to gain when it is consumed. Some of the health benefits of cucumber are; it is a good source of vitamins A, B1, B6, C and D, it is used to stimulate hair growth and it is also used for the treatment of skin irritation. Cucumber are also effective in the fight against cancer, they are also used in the treatment of diabetes. They can be used to cure bad breath, hangover and to rehydrate the body.

Photo/courtesy
Statistics as it that cucumber happens to be among the top 4 vegetable that is cultivated and consumed on a global scale. No doubt starting a cucumber farm can be considered to be relatively cheap and it is highly profitable. Now let us quickly consider the steps to follow to be able to start your own cucumber farm from the scratch;
Starting a Cucumber Farm – Sample Business Plan Template

1. Conduct Your Feasibility Studies

Conducting a research and a feasibility study of the line of business you want to start is just the wisest thing to do. There are various species / breeds / varieties of cucumber and there are regions where these species can thrive the most; conducting your own research and feasibility studies will give you the information you need to start your own cucumber farm in the right location. Truly, the report you get from your feasibility studies will give you a clearer picture of the cost implication of starting a cucumber farm and how you can easily attract customers to buy from you once your cucumbers are ready for harvest. One good thing about cucumber is that it can be cultivated all through the year as long as there is adequate supply of water.

2.Write Your Business Plan

Writing a business plan for any business you are about to launch can never be over emphasized. Although the average farmer won’t bother writing a business plan, but the truth remains that if you can successfully draft your own business plan for your cucumber farm, then you will be certain that you will do pretty well with the business. Your business plan will prepare you to run an organized farm. As a matter of fact, with a good business plan, you can easily attract loans from investors and financial institutions to grow your cucumber farm into a highly mechanized farm.

3. Acquire Farm Land in a Suitable Location

Although cucumber can grow in any location as long as there are sunshine, and water supply but it grows very well in a rich humid soil. So if you want to struggle less and save operational cost, it is advisable that you choose a farm land that is located in an area that is humid and highly fertile – a farm land close to a water bed is ideal.

The truth is that if you choose to cultivate cucumber in an area with scarcity of rain and far from a river, then you will spend more on irrigation and operational cost et al. Just make sure that you consult expert to help you with a good location to start your own cucumber farm since you want to cultivate it on a commercial scale.

4. Prepare Your Land and Plant Your Cucumber Seed

Once you are able to secure your farm land, then the next thing to do is to prepare the land before planting your cucumber seedlings. Part of what you need to do to prepare your farm land for the cultivation of cucumber is to clear all the grasses in the land, till the land and apply fertilizer (especially if you are not interested in organic farming) and then dig holes of about 2.5cm deep to plant the cucumber seeds and then ensure that each hole is spaced 40cm apart to allow for good growth. You can also prepare your cucumber farm land (in rows and columns) to allow for easy passage of both human and tractors for the purpose of watering, weeding and harvesting.

5. Harvest and Market Your Cucumber

The fact that cucumbers are generally consumed all over the world because of its health values makes the vegetable very easy to market. The truth is that, you are likely not going to struggle to market your cucumber simply because cucumbers are always in high demand. So all you need to do is to inform locals that you have cucumber to sell and they will come rushing to your farm.

You also have the option to either sell in wholesale or retail your cucumbers in a fruit / vegetable market around you. You can also become a major supplier to companies who are into the processing of cucumbers. Just ensure that your cucumbers are big, green and attractive and you will struggle less to attract customers.

Lastly, you must ensure that you make use of the right pesticide whenever pest attack you cucumber farm so that your cucumber can come out beautiful. Another option that you can choose if you want to go into cucumber farming is to go the organic way. Cucumbers that are grown organically are more expensive than normal cucumber and you stand the chance of making more profit.

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Dairy practice

CARE AND MANAGEMENT OF DAIRY GOATS

The dairy goat’s popularity continues to increase rapidly as morepeople discover the dairy goat’s appeal, utility and productiveness. The female dairy goat is a doe; the male, a buck; the young, kids; and a castrated male, a wether. Their life span is eight to twelve years. Some of the basics to know about the care and management of dairy goats are:

Photo/courtesy

FEEDING

Dairy goats need a year-round supply of roughage, such as pasture, browse or well-cured hay. Winter browse and pastures should be supplemented with hay. Milking, breeding and growing stock need a daily portion of legume hay, such as alfalfa. Kids and bucks need a balanced grain ration and milkers should be fed a standard dairy grain ration. Kids are milk fed until two to three months of age, but should be consuming forages such as pasture grass or hay by two weeks of age and grain within four. All dairy goats must have salt and fresh clean water. Mineral supplements are desirable.
Dairy goats have fastidious eating habits and are particular about the cleanliness of their food. Their natural curiosity may lead them to investigate newly found items by sniffing and nibbling, but they quickly refuse anything that is dirty or distasteful.

PASTURE
Dairy goats will graze grass pastures, but prefer to browse brushlands and a varied selection of pasture plants, including non-noxious weeds. Dairy goats seldom thrive when tethered. They may be kept in a dry lot if fed adequate roughage and allowed shade and space for exercise. Dairy goats are curious and agile and require well built fences for containment and protection from predators.
In temperate climates, one-half acre of land per milking goat should be plenty. Under arid conditions, people must guard against the danger of overgrazing. Overstocking in temperate climates is also bad for goats, since it increases reinfestation of internal parasites. Rotational pasturing is one of the successful controls.

HOUSING
Dairy goats are kept successfully in all climates. They do not need elaborate housing, but do require clean, dry, well ventilated, draft free shelter. Dirt pen floors are preferred over cement. At least 15 square feet of bedded area should be provided for each goat. The outside exercise lot should provide a minimum of 25 square feet of space per animal, well-drained and properly fenced. Dairy goats have a strong herd instinct and prefer the companionship of at least one other goat.
Bucks should be kept in separate quarters away from milking does.

MANAGEMENT
Ideally, goats should be dehorned when they are very young. It is advisable to wait until they are 1-2 weeks of age and in good flesh to be sure they are healthy and not coming down with neonatal diarrhea. If discolored skin is fixed to the skull in two rosettes, horn buds are present. Moveable skin indicates a naturally hornless condition.
Hooves should be trimmed frequently to assure proper development of the hoof.
To check the health of goats and determine suspected illness, it is useful to know their normal physiological values. Pulse is about 83 per minute ranging from 50 to 115. Respiration is around 29 per minute with a range from 15 to 50. Body temperature is about 103.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
Keeping good weight records is important for proper feeding and medication, besides good management. Tapes can be used for estimation of weight by measuring the heart girth behind the forelegs. There also exists normal growth curve to age-weight relationships. For large breed male goats, they are in average as follows: 1 month-25 lb., 3 months-55 lb., 6 months-85 lb., 9 months-110 lb., 12 months-130 lb., 18 months-155 lb., 24 months-170 lb., 36 months-205 lb. For smaller breeds and females, these standards are less, proportionate to the lesser adult body weight.

Mechanical Planters

Mechanical seed drills 

Precision seed drills for small farms- designed to work in conventional or mini-till conditions, especially suitable for large seeds distributed by discs. Auger and rotative axle for fertilizer distribution-fertilizer placement: openers or offset double disc- connected to tractor via hydraulic arms and 3-point linkage. Manual row markers and 50 litres seed hopper and 60 litres fertilizer hopper capacity for each row. Simple and strong frame with only one metal beam: easy mounting and different row spacings possible. 

Two rows planter
Two rows precision seed drill in operation