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Author Topic: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow  (Read 1221 times)

docsal

  • Joined Feb 2017
Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« on: February 25, 2017, 10:01:01 am »
Have just taken on a 4 acre Croft just outside Aberdeen. Am a complete novice but aim to have a forest garden, an orchard and space for a couple of sheep and pigs over summer for meat.
The plot has been empty for several years and the fields are in a poor state. I want to have 3 acres ploughed, harrowed and sow green manure to improve the soil prior to starting our various projects.

Does anyone know of a contractor we could hire to do this? The ones I found on the internet laughed when I told them about the size of our holding!
Voss Electric Fence

Factotum

  • Joined Jun 2012
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2017, 08:35:50 pm »
You need to make friends with your nearest farming neighbours rather than try to engage a contractor who will be interested in larger jobs only - it's not worth their time to come to your 3 acres. A neighbour might see it differently and have a bit of time to plough your ground as a start for you...

You could ask at your nearest Agri supplier to get local contacts, get to know the folk in your village or at the village hall if there is one.

Good luck.

Sue



Scarlet.Dragon

  • Joined May 2015
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2017, 03:20:30 pm »
Factotum is right.  You could get in touch with the machinery ring to see if they can put you in touch with the local farmers in your area, they're usually pretty good.  Having said that, most farmers these days have machinery that will be too big/awkward for the land you've got (mine is several acres larger and I struggle to get small enough machinery in)! 

Pigs would make a reasonable job of clearing it for you, theoretically, with just 4 acres you could get a self propelled plough and do it yourself, and as for harrowing and seeding, you're as well with a quad bike and tow along (I do mine this way - and have switchable implements on a single frame to enable me to aerate, tine harrow/scarify and roll; with a separate seeder).

If you're planting a forest garden, you may not need to improve the ground first, but be warned sheep will strip the bark from any newly planted trees and kill them so you'll need either really good fencing or to allow the trees to mature before you bring in the livestock.  Depending on the type of sheep and pigs you're aiming for, they may be just fine on the land as it is; this time of year all land looks bad, especially if it's not been 'used' for a few years; that may be to your advantage though!

Oh and you probably can't put livestock on newly sown fields (for at least a couple of years), as they'll poach it dreadfully.  There's no point putting pigs on newly sown ground as they'll root it back to mud anyway, so you may want to re-think your plans a bit?  Native/primitive/rare breed sheep are excellent at weed clearance so you may want to think about sectioning the land and using a combination of sheep and pigs to clear a section at a time, then plant it up as you go. 
Excellence is the result of caring more than others think is wise, risking more than others think is safe, dreaming more than others think is practical and expecting more than others think is possible.

stufe35

  • Joined Jan 2013
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2017, 01:49:27 pm »
Try your local vintage tractor club, there will often be an enthusiast with all the kit but no where to use it, will be delighted to come and work on a plot that size.
If there isnt a local club, look out for locally for an enthusiast or another small holder who might be happy to come and do the job for you (or will know someone who will). Tell tale signs are tractors in domestic garages..implements in gardens etc. Don't be afraid to just knock on their door and ask if they know any one who would be interested in..........the worst they can say is no.

Expect to pay by the hour rather than by the acre on this scale.
« Last Edit: March 02, 2017, 02:10:53 pm by stufe35 »

Rupert the bear

  • Joined Jun 2015
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2017, 07:07:59 pm »
Try your local vintage tractor club, there will often be an enthusiast with all the kit but no where to use it, will be delighted to come and work on a plot that size.
If there isnt a local club, look out for locally for an enthusiast or another small holder who might be happy to come and do the job for you (or will know someone who will). Tell tale signs are tractors in domestic garages..implements in gardens etc. Don't be afraid to just knock on their door and ask if they know any one who would be interested in..........the worst they can say is no.

Expect to pay by the hour rather than by the acre on this scale.
Our local boys come and"play"/practice traditional methods when needed have had hay park reseeded this way and surplus hay made and taken off.well worth asking around

bj_cardiff

  • Joined Feb 2017
  • Carmarthenshire
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2017, 08:43:47 am »
Do you really need to plough? Whats the fencing like? You could ask a neighbour to graze it down for you with cattle. In this area contracters are so paranoid about damaging their equipment (rightly so) that they wouldn't dream of driving into a rough field as you never quite know whats lurking under the grass if its not been grazed for a few years. The field could be littered with rocks, rusting equipment, overgrown ditches and very wet bits. Might be best to speak to your farmer neighbours and ask what the field was like before it was overgrown and if they vouch for it. They might know someone that would plough if for you?

docsal

  • Joined Feb 2017
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #6 on: March 14, 2017, 01:07:58 pm »
Thanks all!
Asked neighbours who recommended a chap who does their ploughing. He was very friendly and came round for a look and a chat. He says it was ploughed about 7 years ago, not harrowed and now grass/weed covered with years of matted growth. He doesn't think a plough would get through it. And yes, as above there may be unknown 'stuff' lurking. He recommended Round-Up, followed by controlled burning!!!!! 'Maybe on  Sunday when everyone's at church'!!!!!!! Not at all keen to do this!
He reckons pigs would be our only alternative. We had hope to use pigs in the other fields in due course.
Meantime I think I'll brush cut a section and cover it in black plastic and see where we get to.
Any better ideas welcome.....

clydesdaleclopper

  • Joined Aug 2009
  • Aberdeenshire
Re: Aberdeenshire - trying to fhire someone to plough/harrow
« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2017, 05:39:04 pm »
instead of plastic why don't you use a deep mulch (about 10 inches) of wood chip. It will kill off the vegetation and will rot down to improve your soil as well.

Our holding has Anglo Nubian and British Toggenburg goats, Gotland sheep, Franconian Geese, Blue Swedish ducks, a whole load of mongrel hens and two semi-feral children.

 

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