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Hi all, my first post so bare with me. I'm also new to the practice of producing grain so keep that in mind before you completely tear me down.

A little rundown of what I'm trying to do. I am building a small poultry farm on the Big Island of Hawai'i and because the price of importing feed is so expensive, I have begun to toy with the idea of processing my own. I have done some nutrition calculations to determine a complete diet for broilers and concluded that in my area both sorghum and oats should do fairly well. I'm looking to run around 5-8 acres of total production at one time. I understand that many of you will be scratching your head at why anyone would want to plant such small acreage but the cost to import, and the deterioration of quality of raw materials during transport really doesn't make sense either.

What has me going in circles right now is what type of harvesting equipment would be the most beneficial in a situation like mine? Some research on the internet has turned up a few mini combine rigs, mostly produced in India and China, but there is little information out there about people actually using them. There are also several brand names which all produce a very similar product.

My operation is very small and currently I run a BCS 853 walk behind tractor with multiple implements for most of my on farm tasks. One option is to purchase a sickle bar mower for the BCS and just lay out the crops and come back through and process everything by hand. I've seen some homesteaders take this route however I really would like to do things a little more efficiently.

Does anyone have anything that might help me out? Are there any dealerships in the lower 48 that might be able to provide some information?

Thanks.
 

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What would it cost to ship an antique pull-type or sp combine?

I'm have decent mechanical skills so maybe that wouldn't be your thing but alot of them old rigs look pretty simple and can be repaired with fairly common parts...

I really dont think you would wanna Combine 8 acres walking behind something 3ft wide. Your time has to be worth somthing..

Also can you grow corn there?
 

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I think 361turbo is probably on the right track, look at importing an old combine.
Wouldn't corn be a better option for you to grow there? Sure more expensive than oats and sorghum but will produce more bushels too. You can definitely grow it with your climate year round, the seed companies do it with parent seed all the time.
 

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Wonder if you could ship a cylindar + concave from an old massey 92 or 510, something not too big.

Weld it up to something you could putter along with. For chickens it's probably not all that important that you separate the chaff out of the grain.

Cut things with the BCS, thrash it with this home made contraption and not have a lot invested.

One idea..
 

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What would it cost to ship an antique pull-type or sp combine?

I'm have decent mechanical skills so maybe that wouldn't be your thing but alot of them old rigs look pretty simple and can be repaired with fairly common parts...

I really dont think you would wanna Combine 8 acres walking behind something 3ft wide. Your time has to be worth somthing..

Also can you grow corn there?
Exactly what I was thinking, like a 55 or 4400 JD or super 92, even maybe a F or G gleaner. Light enough a guy could maybe get it across the pond reasonably.
 

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Whatever you get research parts availability because that will be the weak link. DHL can pretty much get a part anywhere in the world in a timely fashion but they are expensive for that service. Just keep that in mind. You may want to look at ALI BABA website for ideas on what you could do on a small scale like that.
 

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I think driving to the store would be simpler. A cereal or grain grown in the tropics will be instantly diseased.
 

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Thank you all for your replies. I will definitely look to see what I might do about importing an older model machine. I have basic welding and decent mechanical skills so that is a definite possibility. I know someone who is working on putting together a shipping container and may have some additional space available at a decent rate. I will look into this for sure.


Corn is definitely an option, and something I have considered and will ultimately try. The problem with corn comes to marketing not only the birds but any excess production feed. The granola types out this way prefer products that do not contain soy or corn. They are willing to pay a premium for the hassle, a 50lb bag of non-GMO feed sells here for close to $25. I was paying $15 for the same thing in Ohio.

I think driving to the store would be simpler. A cereal or grain grown in the tropics will be instantly diseased.
There have been several studies done with growing grain on the Big Island. Where I am we average 60-70" of rainfall each year so it should be possible to grow cereals and grain. I don't know anyone doing it, and I do plan on doing a small trial run soon prior to scaling up and investing in any type of equipment. We will see...
 

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With your climate would the grains ever dry out enough to get harvested? With 70 inches of rain a year sprouting could be a serious issue if you were to lay it down in a swath. would it work to harvest the entire plant with mostly mature grain attached, haul that to the birds and let them do the harvesting? I have thrown armfulls of ripe wheat in with the chickens and they have it all harvested pretty quickly. If you are planning on storing the grain you might need some form of balage or silage.

It might be a lot easier and cheaper to buy a sea can or two of whatever you need in mini-bulks and have it shipped in.
 

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You need a test plot combine. Perfect fit for you, less finding one, shipping, etc. Have you considered free ranging / rotational grazing the birds on the crop? They will clean it up nicely, just size the areas accordingly.
 

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To bad on the corn. I was going to suggest a picker and just harvest it on the ear and grind it or just let them pick it off. The few times I've done this they seem to be super efficient at cleaning the ear...

Think I would also get a small tractor such as a kabota or some sort of old tractor like M farmall or maybe a ford from the same era. Super easy to maintain and parts galore.
 

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Scratch Cooking your Poultry Feed a great idea!

Hi all, my first post so bare with me. I'm also new to the practice of producing grain so keep that in mind before you completely tear me down.

A little rundown of what I'm trying to do. I am building a small poultry farm on the Big Island of Hawai'i and because the price of importing feed is so expensive, I have begun to toy with the idea of processing my own. I have done some nutrition calculations to determine a complete diet for broilers and concluded that in my area both sorghum and oats should do fairly well. I'm looking to run around 5-8 acres of total production at one time. I understand that many of you will be scratching your head at why anyone would want to plant such small acreage but the cost to import, and the deterioration of quality of raw materials during transport really doesn't make sense either.

What has me going in circles right now is what type of harvesting equipment would be the most beneficial in a situation like mine? Some research on the internet has turned up a few mini combine rigs, mostly produced in India and China, but there is little information out there about people actually using them. There are also several brand names which all produce a very similar product.

My operation is very small and currently I run a BCS 853 walk behind tractor with multiple implements for most of my on farm tasks. One option is to purchase a sickle bar mower for the BCS and just lay out the crops and come back through and process everything by hand. I've seen some homesteaders take this route however I really would like to do things a little more efficiently.

Does anyone have anything that might help me out? Are there any dealerships in the lower 48 that might be able to provide some information?

Thanks.

Dear Brad, Thanks for taking the time to reach out! I am excited and enthused about your endeavour to raise poultry, grow your own feed and just generally be resourceful. I just shared this post with some poultry farmers in Kenya who have similar issues with feed prices and wanting to start a successful poultry farm.


The Kenyan farmers in question similarly dealing with low acreage but every little bit counts. Producing your own feed will definitely help. Cultivation on a small scale needs equipment that can multi task and work well in small spaces. A great US company that has crossed my radar is Ventrac/Tilmor which targets farmers like you. A great youtube video by a very nifty owner of a sub-compact John Deere is worth a look: Tractor Time with Tim


I would be delighted to learn more about your project - please PM and I will share my email.


Warm regards.
 
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