Far Acres Farm is what my grandfather, Frank Arna Robinson, would have named his farm, except that he was afraid that the local youth would append a "T" to his initials some Spring evening. Times have changed, and the local youth apparently has figured out more stimulating ways to spend Spring evenings. I live on Frank's farm, but nobody has made enough money from it to really call themselves a farmer since about 1927, when 6-milker operations with a butter/milk/egg route were eclipsed around here. There is still one real farm left in South Hampton: Heron Pond Farm (formerly Valley Acres Farm when the Syvinskis were running it) has a farmstand and PYO berry operation on New Hampshire Route 107 A just north of the New Hampshire/Massachusetts state line. They're organic except for the sweet corn and potatoes, and they've recently completed certification.
We hay land we own in town, and hay several neighbors' land as well. We use a disc mower-conditioner, an 18' tedder, a 3-point hitch bar rake, and a baler with kicker to make small square bales, usually about 40 pounds each. We used to own a John Deere 2840 80 HP two-wheel drive tractor to cut and bale, but the transmission gave way too much trouble and it's someone else's problem now. The John Deere 6210 we replaced it with has been quite reliable.
Our hay is mostly Orchardgrass and Bromegrass, with some Timothy and Red Clover (in a good year, more Red Clover than Leafy Spurge). We apply horse manure and shavings to the thin spots, but we've a lot more land than we have manure available. We hired a commercial lime applicator to put down 2 tons an acre in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Over the past few years we have been completely renovating 3-5 acres a year, plowing them and putting in small grains for a year, and the following year planting Mammoth Red Clover and generic Timothy.
Our major weed problem is leafy spurge, but we've had some success against it; Maybe this was partly the lime we spread - it helped the grass and legumes. Maybe this was our practice of avoiding a second cut. Maybe it's the manuring we've done. Maybe it was the flea beetles we got from the USDA experimental station in North Dakota. Alas, I can't say which, but we've had at least a 75% reduction in the population in most fields...
We have a small herd of Dexter cattle for meat and resale. The Dexter is one of the smallest cattle breeds, with a mature bull weighing 800 pounds or less. They are multi-purpose, but we have only raised them for meat and for sale. If the genetics are good, they can be quite hardy. We keep our bull with the herd, so we've had several mid-winter births, and those calves did well. Our animals are largely grass-fed, but we do supply grain and vegetable fodder in addition to our own hay in the winter.
We rent a barn, arena and paddocks to Kinney Hill Stables (603-394-7621), a small-scale horse boarding operation. The barn has 10 stalls sharing a 90' x 180' indoor arena, and about 10 acres of turnout. Several of the boarders pursue Combined Training , and others Dressage or pleasure riding. Since the stables adjoin a fairly big area of conservation land, a good deal of trail riding goes on.
Far Acres Farm