how many acres do i need?

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by mamato3, Oct 1, 2009.

  1. mamato3

    mamato3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Sw Missouri
    Were making plans to move next year so we can have our little hobby farm. We have been saving money to buy 5 to 20 aces outright. I really think with the price of land we wont get more then 10. I would like to raise mini beef cows, turkeys a few chickens and guines a pig and a few fruit trees. Could all this fit on 10 acres? The pig will be only 1 to raise and butcher. The cows i was thinking 2 heifers and a bull. How much land do mini cows need im thinking 2 an acre so if i could fence 4 to 5 acres for them that would do. The fruit trees will be on half an acre as i only want 3 to 4 of each apple and cherry and i was thinking the turkey could live in the orchard.
    So in all total an ace for the house, yard and garden an acre would go to fruit trees and the pig pen and 4 to 5 acres for the cows. So i could get by with a minamal of 6 acres. Does this seam to crowded? If it comes down to it i will buy a steer to raise and butcher.
     
  2. glenn amolenaar

    glenn amolenaar Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    609
    Joined:
    Mar 3, 2007
    Location:
    So/West Missouri
    I live in SW Missouri there is very little land here that will support a lot of livestock, you will need to build-up most any ground here unless you plan on buying you feed and hay.
    It can be done on 10 acres or less but takes a lot of work in most areas. I have around 100 acres 10 would make a nice family orchard the rest is always needing a little more of something. Watch what the area is like before you buy.
    Good Luck
    Glenn
     

  3. RJMAcres

    RJMAcres Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    259
    Joined:
    Sep 9, 2009
    We're in SW Missouri also.
    We grow and raise rocks.
    They seem to breed and muliply nicely.

    Randy
     
  4. Alice In TX/MO

    Alice In TX/MO More dharma, less drama. Supporter

    Messages:
    30,738
    Joined:
    May 10, 2002
    Location:
    Texas Coastal Bend/S. Missouri
    I really depends on the specific location. Does your ten acres have open land, or is it all trees? Is it rocky and hilly? Flat? What's the soil like?

    If you have ten acres of open land, then ten is enough.

    If you have 19 acres of forest and one acre of open land, then twenty is NOT enough. :shrug:
     
  5. TurnerHill

    TurnerHill Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    880
    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2009
    If you want to raise turkeys, you need at least 10,000 acres.

    Put your house on one property line, and the turkey enclosure on the opposite property line.

    Nasty beasts.
     
  6. Micheal

    Micheal Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,988
    Joined:
    Jan 28, 2009
    Location:
    New York
    If you get the land try multi-tasking, fence around the fruit trees and let the cows keep the grass/weeds/etc down. Let the turkeys follow the cows and spread out the manure. :eek:
    Also why a bull with only 2 cows? It's way safer and even cheaper to AI (artifical insemination) for that few.
     
  7. michiganfarmer

    michiganfarmer Max Supporter

    Messages:
    6,614
    Joined:
    Oct 15, 2005
    Location:
    Near Traverse City Michigan
    Grab as many as you can afford. Land needs to be grabbed up by homesteaders to keep developers from paving it all, and filling it with people who have no understandiing, or respect for the it.
     
  8. ronbre

    ronbre Brenda Groth Supporter

    Messages:
    7,817
    Joined:
    Apr 26, 2009
    Location:
    Michigan
    a lot of cheap land available in Michigan, and it sounds like your plan would work well here..with unemployment through the roof here and land prices the lowest in many years..with repos everywhere..you would do good to look at a Michigan farm on repo.
     
  9. Callieslamb

    Callieslamb Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    16,480
    Joined:
    Feb 27, 2007
    Location:
    SW Michigan
    You can do it! How much do you want to spend per acre? Do you need a house or are you planning on building? Do you need jobs?

    I have seven acres - all cleared. I have two calves (6 mos old now). They have 1.5acres to graze and it took every bit of it this summer due to drought. I rotate my calves between pastures (3 of them). I have 4 acres in hay fields. I keep 1/2 my hay the other 1/2 goes to the baler. It is enough hay in a usual year especially after we get the fields growing something makes good hay. I have chickens, small orchard and large garden. I don't have pigs, but I could squeak out a place for them on a butcher yearly basis, not to keep one around for breeding. Do I wish I had more land? Of course! I would love to have extra hay to sell. You could do what you want on 10 GOOD acres. But if you can afford more - buy more. With animals, it is better to be safe than sorry, unless you have available funding to easily buy their winter food if something goes bad.
     
  10. Michael Kawalek

    Michael Kawalek Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    1,064
    Joined:
    Jun 21, 2007
    I've let my neighbor run his cattle and horses on our homestead for a season. On 50 fenced acres 6 cattle and three horses ate the grass down to dirt in 6 months. So, figure for the California foothills, no more than one "animal unit month" (AUM) for every acre of ground. This is a very liberal number because it doesn't represent year round sustainable grazing, but intense grazing to reduce fire danger. In Missouri you could have a somewhat higher AUM, but you have too many animals for that acreage.

    I'd suggest not getting a bull, but have your females inseminated instead. Also, have two pigs instead of one because they are also social herd animals that need the company of their own kind for full productivity. The land should be divided into paddocks so you can "rest" individual grazing areas, while utilizing others. Budget some supplemental feed to cover shortfalls till you have first hand experience how productive your individual peice of land is.
     
  11. salmonslayer

    salmonslayer Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,069
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Location:
    Missouri Ozarks
    We just bought a farm in SW Missouri with similar desires. We got 11.5 acres with about 2 acres in trees, 7 in great pasture and the rest for buildings and garden. I had the cooperative extension service check the pasture and it was in great shape and its currently getting three cuttings of fairly high quality hay a year.

    However, I figure I could only put two Dexters or lowlines on pasture and sustain it with rotational grazing on the 4 paddocks. We are also going to have a couple of hogs for yearly slaughter and a small orchard etc. We are already looking to see if any land is available in the area to use for additional pasture and also a couple acres of forested (doesnt have to join our property) to use for wood for our wood furnace and maybe to put the hog pen and we cant even move onto the property until spring.

    A neighbor has a similar size property with 5 horses and the horses have made a mess of his pasture and he has to buy hay. Get as much land as you can and be realistic with expectations. My property already has a pond, barn, good fencing and years of good pasture management which is an advantage but it is still going to cost us a chunk of change to prep for the modest uses we plan.
     
  12. mamato3

    mamato3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Sw Missouri
    Thanks for all the replys. I had thought about AI for the cows but figured it cost a lot. Im hopping to do rotating grazing system 3 or 4 1 acre fields is what i though i could do. As long as i could sell the 2nd pig that would be great.
    We have yet to find anything were still in planning and seeing whats out there. I was hopping for no more then 2,000 an acre. We may do a land home package and live in a mobile for a couple of years tell we get our house built. Though i have been looking at small farms with a house already there. Problem is we are not handy so the home has to be in good condition only cosmetic. Which is hard to find on the loan amount we could get. Hopefully land and farms will be cheaper in the spring. Were willing to go almost any were in SW Mo or SE KS not sure about NE Ok or NW Ar. As long as there is good schools and a walmart close by we cold move but i dont think i could handle move to far from home and family though if i did it would be somewhere a bit warmer. I hate cold weather.
     
  13. mamato3

    mamato3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Sw Missouri
  14. salmonslayer

    salmonslayer Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    5,069
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2009
    Location:
    Missouri Ozarks
    We bought in Wright county and with a house, 2 garages, barn, trailerhouse for the MIL, greenhouse and 2 other outbuildings it was 95K.

    We looked for a long time (couple years) before we found just what we wanted. Place needs a lot of work but the bones as they say are great and we made sure to have the resources to put into it. The place in Seneca looks pretty interesting; keep us posted.
     
  15. o&itw

    o&itw aka avdpas77 Supporter

    Messages:
    3,432
    Joined:
    Dec 19, 2008
    Location:
    central Missouri
    Be careful ablout buying land only. I can show you places where you can get the land for less than $1000 and acre, for 20 or 25 acres. But it would cost you a fortune to get electricity into it. Then maybe another $10k for a well, etc,etc.

    There are more places in SW and south central MO than anywhere else, especially over in the Ava area. If you are willing to do the mobile home thing you should be able to find a place reasonably with utilities already there (if you don't have to commute to a workplace). Another thing you have to be careful of....despite the weather in the past couple of years, the area usually gets no appreciable rainfall for the last couple of months of the summer. Because of the (basically gravel) subsuface to the soil, water drains very quickly. Don't expect to have any pasture for the months between August and November.
     
  16. Windy in Kansas

    Windy in Kansas In Remembrance

    Messages:
    11,076
    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2002
    Location:
    South Central Kansas
    I have to wonder if your concept of an acre might be wrong. An acre is 43,560 square feet in size with the square root being 208.71.

    If you have a house of 2000 square feet the foot print of it on 43,560 stills leaves 41,560 for lawn. That is really a lot of unneeded mowing. Less lawn and mowing means more time to enjoy the rural life.

    For orchard--if you had a total of 8 trees and each was 20 feet in diameter they would only take 3,200 square feet leaving 40,360 square feet. Of course you wouldn't want them touching but I was trying to make a point. I would suggest a trip to visit Stark Bros. Nursery in Louisiana, MO in order to see the sizes of dwarf, semi-dwarf, and full sized apple and cherry trees. I'm all for easy picking so dwarf or semi-dwarf would be my choice. You do need to understand that dwarf trees don't live as long. What I'm getting at is that with dwarf or semi-dwarf you can pack a lot of trees into an acre.

    Here is an interesting link showing a commercial orchard of dwarf trees. http://ucce.ucdavis.edu/files/repositoryfiles/ca3309p4-62675.pdf Chest high, loaded with production. Tree population of 1000 to 1500 per acre with yields of 15 to 20 TONS per acre.

    With the 41,560 from the house acre and 40,360 from the orchard acre you will have 81,920 square feet for lawn, garden, yard, parking, etc. which is almost 1.9 acre for them.

    I would suggest cutting back on those uses and instead add it in for the cattle. I agree that running a bull makes no sense. The expense of a herd sire, feed, etc. would promptly pay for A.I.

    We all start with some conceptual ideas and just need to tweak them as we learn more about an area and what livestock count it can support, etc.

    Best wishes.
     
  17. 7thswan

    7thswan Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    23,896
    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2008
    Location:
    michigan
    Don't think I could have enough land, but the Taxes is the stopper. You also might not need as many trees as you think. Mine are producing for their first year and have too much. We loan our bull out to two neighbors, no charge. Our soil is so nice here, there are many diffrent crops Farmers put in. So much just depends I guess.
     
  18. airotciv

    airotciv Well-Known Member Supporter

    Messages:
    1,758
    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2005
    Location:
    NW Oregon
    We have 5 acers and have a small orchard (2 apples, 1 peach, 1 nectrine) and plan on adding a few others. The garden is about 30'x100' plus a small green house. We have 2 goats, 2 sheep, 1 Black Angus and butcher her babies about every year or so, plus 40 ducks and chickens. And we have more than enough room. I don't think we could keep up much more. The more land the more upkeep. Its all in the managing of the land and livestock. The ducks and chickens have freerun, but we do rotate the larger animals in different pastures. What the cow/sheep won't eat the goats will. Everyone seems to be happy and healthy. Hope that helps.
     
  19. Tracy

    Tracy Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    845
    Joined:
    May 2, 2002
    Location:
    PA
    They ain't growing no more land. Get all you can afford.
     
  20. mamato3

    mamato3 Well-Known Member

    Messages:
    530
    Joined:
    Nov 1, 2008
    Location:
    Sw Missouri
    Thanks you guys were lots of help. After looking online last night and reading what you all said. We are going to put our goal at 4 to 7 acres of good open field land with a few trees and mostly level land. We will look for a home with land or do a land home package. We decided since were not used to having lots of land 5 acres could make us happy and we could buy a steer from my dad to raise for the freezer. I love those small fruit trees so i could plant those along side my garden in my yard area. I know i was off with what i could put on an acre but my math is bad so i just guess lol. So i guess my yard could have a garden a small orchard and the house so the other acres could be used for cows, turkeys and pigs. And the chickens will go they were want.
    our dream is 20 to 40 acres but we can start here. And sell this land later if we still want more.