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Their big cash crop is, of course, apples. Dwarf apple trees start producing apples in 2-3 years and live about 35 years. One mature tree produces about 8 bushels of apples. They produce the most fruit between 10 and 30 years. So, about ⅔  the trees are mature and ⅓ are over or under their best years and produce zero to less than 8 bushels. For the sake of round numbers, I’m going with 6 bushels/year average. 1,100 trees an acre @ 6 bushels/tree = 6,600 bushels an acre.

IMO, they have three one acre apple orchards. I base this on the episode Applebuck Season.

AJ tells Big Mac that, despite his doubts, she can harvest the entire crop herself. She grossly underestimated the time that it would take her to do the hauling as well. At one point, they are going to honor AJ, and Dash says “I haven’t seen her all week”. AJ eventually finishes an orchard & collapses when she sees that she’s forgotten a lot of trees.

So, the question is “How much time did AJ spend on the trees she DID finish?”. Assuming 1100 trees an acre, and one minute to buck a tree, that’s 1100 minutes an acre x3 = 3300 minutes = 55 hours of work. IMO, that’s her portion of the harvest work with Big Mac doing all the hauling to get the harvest to storage. 

Assuming that WITH haulage, she averaged 5 minutes a tree, that’s 5500 minutes an acre x2 acres = 11,000 minutes. = 183 hours 20 minutes. That’s 20 hours a day for 9+ days. That’s why she was groggy from exhaustion. Then she collapsed when she realized that she’d forgotten the third orchard. IMO, she assumed that she could do the hauling as fast as Big Mac but couldn’t.

Post season four, they’ve got one orchard (presumably the west orchard) set aside as a vampire fruit bat sanctuary. (MANY people have pointed out “That’s an insane thing for a farmer to do”.) They’ve doubtless replanted and have three functioning orchards plus an acre set aside for the vampire fruit bats.  Barring magical growth, they lost ⅓ their fruit production for 2-3 years while the replacement fruit trees matured. The new orchard is still 5-6 years away from full production. Possibly, they got a government payment to compensate for their financial loss.

In bulk, you get roughly 2 (US) gallons of cider from 1 bushel of apples, so 1 tree = 3 gallons of cider. A barrel of cider = 36 gallons = 12 trees. So, one acre can produce slightly over 183 barrels of cider. With three acres, I assume they sell 1-2 barrels of hard cider per week to the local bars in Ponyville (I also assume that Equestria is more like England than the USA in cider consumption & consumes 11-12% as much cider as beer) This leaves them about 80 barrels to sell as sweet cider.

I assume they use 1 acre for the cider festival. The ponies act like this is a Big Deal, so I'm guessing they use a different cider recipe for the festival. (There are MANY). That's 183 barrels for that.

This leaves 1 acre for other uses. 6600 bushels is far more than can probably be sold retail in Ponyville. IMO, they make the rest into apple cider vinegar & either sell the vinegar or use it to make various forms of pickles (starting with pickled apples), or both

About 3% of the dwarf apple trees need replaced each year. That’s 99 trees cut down for firewood.  This would be about 28 cords of wood. IMO, 18 for their own use & sell about 10 cords. + there's a LOT of pruned branches, cleared brush, etc. that can't be sold but would burn just fine.

Corn, grapes, & carrots, are specifically mentioned or shown in various places. The Crusader’s clubhouse seems to be in a relatively unused part of the farm. Plus cows and sheep live there, and they keep chickens and pigs.

Corn would be planted in May & harvested in September. In the USA the average is 174.2 bushels an acre (slightly over double the world average) and parts of the corn belt get over 200 bushels an acre. With earth pony magic, I assume Equestria does that well too.

Grapes are perennials. New vines can be grown from cuttings or seeds. You would plant them as soon as the snow is off the ground. Harvest is late September to November depending on type. IMO, Sister Hooves Social is in October, after the cider fest.

Carrots
Depending on the variety and local growing conditions, carrots may take anywhere from 2 to 4 months to mature. Carrots can tolerate some frost -IMO they'd be harvested right into December. They don't like it TOO hot, but they can take it. You can assure a prolonged harvest by planting some every week. They'd plant them on Winter Wrap Up, stop for awhile during summer, start again in fall. Fresh market carrots usually yield 8 to 12 tons per acre and can yield up to 20 tons. A bushel (without tops) weighs 50 pounds. One acre produces , say, 500 bushels. IMO more than enough

 

Chickens
need less grain if they can free range & forage for part of their food. 1 lb. of grain = 4 chickens for 1 day.
If they can't (at least during winter) 1lb grain = 2 chickens for 1 day
You waste less grain if you use a trough to feed them.
1 acre of corn would more than feed 24 chickens + a rooster for a year
According to the American Egg Board, hens lay about five eggs a week. So that means your average hen lays about 260 eggs a year. 6,240 eggs a year. 17 & 1/7 eggs a day.
IMO, they eat some, use some for baking, & sell the rest
They could sell the excess eggs directly or make pickled eggs out of them

Sheep
Purdue University recommends the following pasture program for a 100-ewe flock of sheep, stating that if you properly manage and fertilize your pasture, 30 acres should be sufficient to supply a flock of 100 ewes and 150 lambs each year. 

IMO, as much or more than needed for the herd on the farm.

Sheep can eat straw (good for roughage), but can't live on just straw. They should NOT have more than about 1 lb. of grain/day -it will permanently wreck their digestion over a long period.

Lactating sheep SHOULD get 1 lb. grain/day until the lambs are weaned. Minimum of 3 weeks, average 9 weeks, could be up to 13 weeks. Ewes with more than 1 lamb should be given extra forage but NOT extra grain.

Cows
Still working on it, but the herd in Applebuck Season was 30-35 cows.
Average cow gives about 2,500 (US) gallons of milk a year.
Average cow needs about 3 acres/ year of pasture + 3 lbs. grain per gallon of milk produced. That's 100-120 acres of pasture for the cows.

Zap Apples
Unknown amount, but assuming 8 bushels a tree, 1 bushel of apples makes about 14 (8 oz.) cups of jam or jelly.  1 tree makes 64 pints of jam or jelly. 1 cup of jelly takes 3/4 cup of sugar.

 

Grapes
Grapes are perennials. New vines can be grown from cuttings or seeds. You would plant them as soon as the snow is off the ground. Harvest is late September to November depending on type. IMO, Sister Hooves Social is in October, after the cider fest.

So, IMO, Sweet Apple Acres is 200-300 Acres 

with 130-150 of it being pasture

  • Brohoof 3
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Great research work here. I never really thought about the land area the Apple family owned until I read the earlier issues of the comics that had Granny Smith stated that they gave away a parcel of land to the city government for them to build a playground when a huge monster was causing earthquakes in the area. It made me think that the Apple family owned alot more land back in the day before the events of FiM and sold off some of it as time passed. 

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  • 5 weeks later...

Thinking about it further, I'm working on an article about this over in Fimfiction. 2 bushels of unshelled corn (still on the cob) = about 1 bushel of shelled corn. I'm assuming that the cows need 20 acres of corn for their winter feed + milk feed. I'm also assuming that the cows & sheep can tend to their own crops & do some labor on Sweet Apple Acres, even though this isn't shown. (For their size, cows can haul as much as horses although slower -and in Equestria they are bigger than the ponies). IRL, cattle are the most used draft animal in the world.

The Homestead Act (late 19th century) gave farmers 160 acres of land. I'm assuming that means that 1 family can work at least that much land. I'm also assuming

1) They have a few acres planted in this & that and grow most of their own food + sell a bit extra in their stand.

2) They move their garden crops every year & the pasture is fallow fields. (for instance, cabbage should not be planted in the same place in less than 3 years)

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  • 10 months later...

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