Farmers Attacked Again in Agricultural Studies

Quite by coincidence, a number of farming analysis reports have been produced at about the same time in different countries of the so-called ‘developed world’.

Now these reports have significant differences between them but many focus on the concept of sustainable farming – and they are also highly critical of current farming practices, machinery traders and so on.

The criticisms broadly come under a number of headings:

  • Farmers continue to mass-produce foodstuffs to maximize short-term yields at the expense of long-term sustainable development
  • This focus will inevitably lead to substantial depletion of the agricultural potential of vast areas of the planet, as things such as natural fertility and local water supplies are diminished
  • There is insufficient awareness in farming circles of the need for longer-term sustainable and environmentally-friendly agricultural practices.

Although some of these reports are rather more objectively balanced than others, it is hard not to see a common theme underpinning many of them suggesting that the farming community is somehow a (if not the) major ‘bad guy’ in terms of this important area. There is often a strong implication that a focus on profits today for farmers is drowning out any form of longer-term strategic planning.

Unsurprisingly, many in the global agricultural industry have reacted very poorly to several of these reports. Many feel victimised and picked-upon by what some regard as ill-informed and na├»ve “champagne environmentalists” who are always looking for a new thing to become irate about during their Saturday night dinner parties.

So, which of the two views is actually closer to reality?

It is probably fair to make a generic criticism of some of these farming practices’ studies.

Many are highly critical of ‘short-termism’ in the farming industry without taking into account the fact that farmers are only reacting to consumer demand. The consumer in the industrialized world has got used to cheap food and is demanding that it is ever cheaper. As comparatively few farmers can be accused of being rich and by contrast often operate in borderline ‘economic survival mode’ in things such as their finances and used equipment machinery, it is difficult to see them being guilty of achieving vast profit margins.

As a result, it’s possible to believe that many such well-intentioned reports are pointing the finger at farmers when they should, in fact, by pointing it at themselves as part of the consumer base.

Even those reports that do touch on the complexity of this aspect of the debate, often argue rather simplistically that the consumer will just need to get used to paying more for their food in future for the benefit of the environment. While that may sound reasonable, is anybody seriously suggesting that the chronically poor in many parts of the world who are dependent upon the developed world’s agricultural products, should be asked to pay more for their survival in order to protect rich people’s environments?

Many farmers are also highly critical of environmentalist groups making assertions related to environmental damage which are poorly, if at all, supported by data. When reading such reports, it’s difficult to escape the conclusion that some of the doomsday projections might be more credible if they had more supporting data and less qualitative speculation.

However, it will be unwise for the agriculture industry to entirely disregard these issues.

Anyone who has travelled extensively in what were once genuinely rural agricultural areas may be shocked at the clear devastation caused to the landscape and local wildlife by ‘modern’ farming practices. The long-term effects of this may well be catastrophic and that doesn’t take into account some of the more technical issues such as soil fecundity and water tables etc.

What is perhaps required is for farmers and environmentalists to stop exchanging broadsides in the form of papers and refutations and to start working together to define a common framework for the objective analysis of these issues. That’s just a short step from cooperating in defining joint remedial actions where required.

The Global Market For Drip Irrigation Growing With High Pace: Consumer Awareness Is Fuelling Market

Demand for drip irrigation systems is escalating in the global market. China, India, and other developing nations are stepping up their agricultural output and encouraging farmers to use modern methods of irrigation with a view to achieve higher yield. The ever-increasing population in Asia-Pacific and higher food demand are the key forces that continue to drive the demand for efficient irrigation systems. It is expected that farmers, especially those in more developed agricultural economies, will strive to enhance productivity to maximize returns from each acre. This is expected to maintain sustained growth over the next five years in the global drip irrigation market.

The global drip irrigation systems market report defines and segments the market, with analysis and forecast of revenue. The global drip irrigation market is estimated to grow from $1.8 billion in 2014 to $3.2 billion by 2019, at a CAGR of 11.9% from 2014 to 2019.

High efficiency for every crop type is likely to boost the demand for drip irrigation systems and this systems are used more often in recent years due to their prospective yield increase properties with water use efficiency, effective fertilizer application, and reduced labor requirements. Compared to flood or furrow irrigation, water usage in orchards with micro irrigation systems is less than 20%.

On the basis of crop type, the orchard crops market dominated the global drip irrigation systems market in 2014. The Vineyard market is projected to grow at the highest CAGR during the period under review.

With Extensive R&D, Manufacturers Are Finding Competitive Edge In The Market

Substantial investment is made by global players in R&D to manufacture substitute products, which are environment-friendly such as fertilizers and soil improving agents. Modern methods of gardening, landscaping, and horticulture invests in drip irrigation systems due to their higher efficiency. The global market for this systems is witnessing newer product innovations and patent registrations, signifying the progressive demand for latest technologies, especially for the past couple of decades. Companies such as Netafim Limited (Israel), Jain Irrigation Limited (India), The Toro Company (U.S.), and Lindsay Corporation (U.S) are the most active market players, and are constantly updating their product portfolio by means of constant innovations.

Irrigation with the help of drip system has gained a wide acceptance in the global market over the last decade. Initially, several irrigation installers and other service providers did not include drip irrigation in their offerings because they were not familiar with the components and proper installation practices. However, the benefits of drip have slowly made it an indispensable part of the irrigation machinery manufacturers’ and installers’ portfolio.

There are various components that are assembled for installation of a successful drip irrigation system. Understanding what these components are and their roles in the successful customization of this systems helps farmers to utilize it to its fullest advantage.

Looking forward

The global demand for drip irrigation systems is expected to grow at a significant rate in the coming years. Although Netafim Limited (Israel) and Jain Irrigation Limited (India) are the largest supplier of such systems in the world market currently, The Toro Company (U.S.) and Lindsay Corporation (U.S) are likely to pose significant competition in the coming years. Historically, the global market for drip irrigation systems has been dominated by Asia-Pacific and Europe, owing to agriculture modernization and optimum use of water per hectare cultivated area. However, over the last decade, the demand for this systems from the RoW region has significantly increased. This has been primarily due to water scarcity and demand for water for irrigation.

Starting Small and Making It Big in Poultry Farming

The demand for eggs and poultry meat has been overwhelming and still rising.

In This article, I will take you through all you need to know about the production of table eggs from poultry birds. Poultry farming for egg production, though laborious is a very profitable business. It is a business you could start at a small-scale even in your backyard with as little as 250 birds and begin to expand as you start to make profit.

The birds begin to lay egg daily from twenty weeks old and continue to do so for the next fifteen weeks, at the end of which the exhausted birds are sold off as meat for profit. There are lots of benefits in raising poultry birds, even their wastes, which is cleared off twice a week, can be sold off as manure to plantation owners for additional profits.

Eggs are sold in paper or plastic crates and need little or no packaging

You can Start your poultry farm business with day-old chicks and feed them growers marsh till they are twenty weeks old, at which time you would transfer them to layers cage and begin to feed them layers marsh. But if you are inexperienced and wish to reduce the risk of possible loss, or perhaps you wish to start making profit at once, you may decide to purchase 18 weeks old birds (point of lay) at about 900 or 950 Naira per bird and they will start producing egg within the next two weeks.

For the benefit of complete beginners, below is a detailed breakdown of what the daily routine of running a poultry farm business looks like.
30 minutes farm inspection and 3 hours for:

a. Pumping, Testing the water delivery system and nipple

b. Calculating and evenly distributing one-third of daily feed ration

c. Egg collection

This routine is repeated twice: (12:30 pm and 5:30 pm) daily.

Eggs are sold daily

Feed bought weekly and manure cleared twice a week.

Layers become exhausted after about 15 months and are sold off as old layers for consumption.

New set of chicks and purchased and the same process is repeated.

Success factors to have in mind when starting up a poultry farm business.

There are vital factors to consider and put in place when starting up a profitable poultry business, and here is where many beginners make a lot of mistakes, incurring heavy losses as a result.

Setting up of the poultry pen: The poultry pen should be constructed in such a way as to ensure that it is airy, spacious and comfortable for the birds. The block work for the four corners of the pen should not be more than two couches. The rest of the wall should be covered with wire gauze for security. The roof should be done with asbestos sheet instead of Zinc so as to minimize heat during the hot weather. The things to bear in mind when erecting a poultry pen are; comfort, ventilation, temperature, light, the size of the gutters in relation to the size of the cages you wish to purchase. Getting the poultry house right is so vital to running a profitable and viable poultry business that I recommend contracting the service of an experienced technician for the purpose if you are not familiar with it.

Battery cages: Poultry cages are indispensable in running a large-scale poultry business for profit. The cages come in varied sizes, quality, capacity and price to suit your budget and need and they are equipped with drinking nipples and feeder. It is more hygienic and less laborious. And in addition, it reduces the rate of egg breakage.

Feed: Adequate feeding is very important in running a poultry business and the birds lay eggs according to how well they are fed. As your business begins to grow, you may need to start-up your own feed mill, in order to maximize cost.

Water: water is vital for the survival of the birds, as well as for good sanitation. It is necessary to check the nipples from time to time to ascertain if they are all dispensing water and to ensure there is no leakage also. Leaking nipples will get the birds wet and this constitutes another problem.

Veterinary care: you would also need to contract the service of a competent vet doctor for routine and periodic preventive vaccination for the birds.

Birds: this can be day old or Point of lay birds. When purchasing birds, care must be taking to buy good strains. In Nigeria, there are over 20 different laying strains or trade names of laying chickens.

Poultry attendants, experienced managers and veterinary services are expertise needed.

Land: It goes without over-stressing the need for adequate agricultural land to support expansion, preferable in a non- residential area as wastes may constitute hazard for close neighbors.

Delivery van: As your business grows, you may need to acquire a delivery vehicle for the ease of egg distribution.
Poultry farming for table egg production is a highly profitable venture which you could start-up even in your backyard with as little as five hundred thousand Naira make a turnover that is over 200% of your start-up capital within one year on the sales of eggs alone.

The Weakening Dollar – Is It Good or Bad News for Farmers?

If you follow the financial news at all, you will have seen that after a period of relative strength, our dollar is now slipping back against a number of the other major international currencies.

The obvious question for many farmers is whether or not this is going to be a good or a bad thing?

The advantages

Having a weaker dollar means that many of our agricultural products are going to appear more attractively priced to our overseas export markets. That’s obviously going to help those farming concerns with a big export portfolio immensely because almost inevitably farm produce is very price sensitive.

It might also help a little in terms of our own domestic markets.

That’s because our own produce is going to look increasingly competitive when viewed against certain foreign imports. So, any farmers planning a foreign holiday might be disappointed because they’re going to find that the prices are rising but for many with export ambitions, the weakening dollar might well be both good news and a commercial opportunity.

The problems

There is, of course, a flip side to the above argument.

Anything we are purchase outside of the country and bring in as an import, notably agricultural machinery, is theoretically going to start becoming more expensive. The logic of that is pretty inexorable because clearly a dollar is going to buy less of the currency that the transaction is taking place in and which the, let’s say tractors, are priced in initially.

That also holds true for things such as a fertilisers or chemicals brought in from overseas – in fact anything that our industries aren’t producing domestically.

The on-the-ground reality

A weaker dollar over the short to medium term isn’t necessarily likely to lead to a sudden crisis in escalating prices for imported items.

That’s because the importers of equipment and other farming products will very probably have purchased their existing stock back in the days when the dollar was stronger and that means that the domestic market will be insulated from potential currency-related price increases for a period of time. They may also have used a certain standard business facility, called forward currency contracts, to cover the risk of this very eventuality coming to pass (i.e. a weakening dollar).

If the situation continues into the medium to longer term though, there would appear to be a very high probability of things such as farming equipment increasing in price.

So, the obvious question arises as to just what this means for you?

If your markets are largely domestic then the advantages are likely to be relatively minor. By contrast, the disadvantages of a weakening dollar could potentially hit you hard if you are thinking about purchasing significant new capital items in the medium term, though that again assumes that the weaker currency becomes a trend.

In such a situation, it might be prudent for you to consider taking advice as to whether it would be sensible to purchase your equipment sooner rather than later while stocks of stronger-currency procured items remain in the dealerships.