In a world where just about every industry is racing toward automation operating on artifical intelligence – farming has remained wholesome and true to its roots. Modern day, there are many farmers who still use non-tech equipment. There’s no denying, the most reliable & time-tested tools we use to cultivate large amounts of land are timeless. They never seem to go out of style or utility. If you travel across the Midwest, you’ll recognize properties with older farm equipment and a familiar grassroots charm.
Every farm is different. However, when it comes to the use of certain tools, there seems to be no correlation between profitability and innovation. Other tools have been modernized, with non-electrical options. Today, the utility and practicality of classic and non-electric farm equipment remain very much intact.
On that note, we’ll be delving into some of the most important non-tech tools that you can and should be using today on your farm.
Simply known as a whirligig, this comes in handy especially with DIY fence installations.
In particular, it proves useful when setting up steel T-posts and cattle panels. Its utility comes into play when attaching the post to the panel. The wire clips normally used for that purpose can be cumbersome to work with. However, the tie wire twister ensures that your fence installation will be a speedy and efficient process.
The come along can generally pass for a steel cabled hand winch. This is yet another non-tech piece of farm equipment that comes handy when repairing or installing a fence around your property. When posts lean too much to one side or the other, a come-along restores balance by pulling the crooked post toward a supporting post until it reaches the correct position.
Hand carts have been used since time immemorial.
It might not be a conventional farm tool, but it’s useful for a number of tasks when cultivating and maintaining your land. The Handcart earns a well-deserved place in the tool shed, offering a lightweight vessel that allows you to carry immense loads by hand. It’s specifically useful for carrying hay, heavy and awkward equipment, and large loads that otherwise could not be lifted off the ground with ease.
A handcart is a multi-functional tool that’s excellent for moving everything from other tools, to fertilizer, seed, plants, topsoil, cattle or livestock feed, and even injured livestock.
As an added benefit, it can help transport newborn calves from one place to another.
Compost equipment is an essential accessory for the ecologically conscious farmer.
It offers a convenient place for waste disposal. Additionally, it disposes of that waste in an environmentally friendly manner. The composter also serves as a storage unit whose contents can double up as fertilizer, or feed. Of course, this depends on what you use it for, but a composter is an environmentally friendly farmer’s best friend. What’s more, the composter can be used as a source of natural cooking fuel if the proper procedures are implored. That means that proper composting will allow you to produce enough gas to cook meals for your family every day.
For example, microbial decomposition requires a mixture of carbon and nitrogen. These gases occur naturally when you’re composting unused or overripe foods. In nature, carbon is both an energy source and makes up about 50 percent of microbial cell mass. Nitrogen stems from the proteins, nucleic & amino acids, enzymes and co-enzymes essential to cell growth. When composted waste begins to break down, these gases are emitted at a 30:1 ratio of carbon to nitrogen. A higher ratio means that there’s not going to be adequate nitrogen to optimize the growth of microbial populations. Thus, the compost won’t reach the proper temperature and the degradation process will be slow.
As a general rule of thumb, if you’re composting a lot of green or moist foods, like plant cuttings, fruits & vegetables, they’ll tend to be high in nitrogen. The brown or dry foods will tend to be higher in carbon, ie. leaves, wood chips, sawdust, etc.
There are even compost accelerator recipes online, like this one. The process is controllable and pretty safe, helping you to maximize the benefits you’re getting from farm products you’d typically waste.
A startup in Israel developed a composting unit that converts organic waste into enough gas for 2-4 hours of cooking, as well as 5 liters of liquid fertilizer, each day.
If you’re livestock farming, then a manure spreader is a must-have.
Animals tend to excrete or defecate in a haphazard fashion. They may do it around fields, helping to fertilize the soil. However, it’s essential to distribute manure thinly and evenly across the ground. This will help plants grow with sufficient nutrients, and ward off flies, mitigating contamination runoff. Most farmers use a manual manure spreader as it’s quite necessary for both production and profitability.
A farm jack isn’t too dissimilar from your ordinary car jack. In other words, its primary function remains more or less the same as a car jack, with slightly different applications. Aside from being an off-road accessory for trucks, it can also help pull out stubborn T-posts from the ground. A farm jack is basically good at any job involving squeezing, lifting, pulling, or pushing something you can’t lift by hand.
A bump gate, just as its name suggests, is a self-opening and self-closing gate which allows you to navigate your property without exiting the comfort of your vehicle. As one of our clients says, “it’s the little things that make a big difference.” This gate attachment opens through contact with a vehicle bumper and swings back into position once the car is safely through the gate. They’re cattle-friendly, as cattle aren’t able to press them open at will. They also help disabled, and elderly farmers maintain autonomy with basic tasks. It’s highly convenient in that the driver doesn’t need to get out of the vehicle, while it’s functionality does not require electricity of any kind, keeping costs low. As well as proving an adept livestock barrier, a bump gate is a necessary farm accessory for any farmer navigating large amounts of land.
Of course, most farmers also use electrical machinery like tractors, balers, combines, plows, mowers, planters, seeders, and sprayers. However, new-tech can prove to be a nightmare for farmers looking to simply traditional farming if you’re not tech savvy with lots of money to invest.
There are thousands of items that can be categorized as non-tech farm equipment. Most of these tools are very affordable, widely available, and easy to use. These items are still found on rural farms around the US, and the rest of the world. The aforementioned list is only the tip of the iceberg. These kinds of tools will always have a place in farm life, regardless of the advances of modern science and technology.