Among the many agricultural enterprises that come to mind when a person thinks of farming, growing sod probably isn't high on the list. People generally think of farming in terms of fruits, vegetables, and waving fields of grain. Yet growing sod is one of the more versatile farming niches available today, for a variety of reasons.
Starting a sod farm business means identifying your customers so you can determine what type of sod to grow. Sod customers range from homeowners looking for a nice, green lawn, to highway departments seeking erosion control, to professional sports stadiums wanting the perfect field for play. Other venues include parks, golf courses, business landscaping, and even school playgrounds. Different needs call for different grasses, so identifying who will be buying your sod is a crucial step in starting your own sod farm business.
The type of land where you plan to grow your sod is also important. Having relatively level land with good soil makes growing and harvesting much easier. Your water source is another critical factor, because you can't always rely on the right amount of rain - so drainage and irrigation must be taken into account. Some agricultural areas have rules or restrictions on the amount and type of fertilizer that can be used, so check with a local agricultural extension office to get that information.
The next consideration is equipment for planting, mowing and harvesting your crop. While your specific needs will be based on the size of your operation, you can plan on needing a tractor with attachments for seeding, fertilizing and mowing. You will also need a heavy roller to pack and flatten the soil, and a sod harvester that will cut your sod into either squares for stacking or long rows for rolling.
How many cuttings you can get per season will depend on your soil, the type of grass you are growing, fertilization, and climate.
Depending on who is buying the product from your sod farm business, you might need to consider delivery and installation. If commercial landscaping companies are your primary customers, they will likely handle these steps themselves. However, if you are selling to retailers or directly to homeowners, you will need to provide delivery. If you decide to also do installation, hiring employees to handle some of the heavy lifting might be a wise decision.
Considering the expansion of suburban lifestyles, starting a sod farm business could be a great choice for someone wanting an agricultural career.