Running a farm is hard work and any farmer will tell you that. In the modern era more and more people are turning to nature to find a better lifestyle by purchasing smallholdings and having a go at raising their own stock and produce. One of the first things they have to establish, however, is where to purchase the goods and equipment they need to run their enterprise. Fortunately, the number of farm supply stores around the country means buying items such as fencing supplies and animal feedstuffs is a far easier task than it was years ago.

How a first-time smallholder can keep their yard and stock safe:

Fencing

This is one of the most important aspects of land management, however large the acreage you are caring for. Fencing can consist of stone walls, hedges, post and rails or wire. Barbed wire is often used as a deterrent for animals to stretch over and reach into neighbouring ground, but it is dangerous and can cause severe damage should an animal be caught up in it.

Normal mesh fencing is used for lower areas and should really be topped with a rail if there is livestock in the fields. Post and rails are more aesthetically pleasing and last a long time if treated well, however more expensive, hence the preference for wire. Hedge trimming and stone walling are a job best left to the experts as this is a trained skill. Electric fencing is useful for splitting fields for strip grazing and protecting young plants from marauding stock, but should always be clearly indicated as such to prevent humans touching it unwittingly.

Ground management

Grass does grow on its own but still needs care. Farm supply stores will have a wide range of fertilisers and seed to treat paddocks and keep the grass in good enough condition to feed stock through the summer months. Those wishing to plant vegetables may find that the ground needs turning before the young plants can be put in place. The farm supply store is the perfect place to find the right kind of rotavator for your ground as there will be experienced staff to advise you on which machine will suit you best.

Clothing

It will be impossible to run a smallholding without purchasing the right type of clothing and footwear, which should not only be well-fitting and comfortable but should be waterproof and in the case of footwear, be able to provide grip and protection.