As you clicked to read this blog, I can assume that you are a farmer wanting some tips on how to more effectively manage your farm. Am I right?
The good news is that there might be something you can start to do right away.
We recently conducted a poll on our social media channels and we were surprised to see almost 40% of people who responded* are missing a valuable and simple trick to managing their farm better. And that trick is record keeping.
How many times have you planted crops and they have either flourished or failed and you could not remember which seeds you’d used, when you planted them, how much fertiliser you used, when you irrigated…? In the cases where they flourished, perhaps you’re missing a vital piece of information that would enable you to replicate the success the next year. In the case where the crop failed – are you going to continue to make the same mistake again?
A seed packet on a smallholder farm – this helps to remember which seeds were planted where
What is record keeping?
Farm record keeping can range from being as simple as keeping a paper diary along with storing the seed packets or it can be much more detailed.
There are even free tools available for pre-planting budgeting, such as Budget Mkononi. This tool allows you to build a personalised budget and see how profitable your business could be.
Things to keep track of in your records:
- What crops you planted
- Approximate area of land planted
- What seeds were bought
- Where seeds were bought
- How much the seeds cost
- Irrigation schedule
- Type of irrigation used
- Fertiliser and pesticide used
- Fertiliser and pesticide schedule
- Fertiliser and pesticide cost
- Time taken for crops to grow
- Amount harvested
- Value of produce grown (how much did you sell them for?)
- Weather, labour input (man hours)…, and much more
It is easy to feel overwhelmed when you start keeping records, so start simple and gradually build up your records over the years as you learn more. The time that you will save in wondering what type of seed you used and where you got it will add up quickly.
An example of using farm records to make decisions was shown to us by David, a farmer for 14 years and a former petrol pump user.
“When you note down your records you see you are making something, but with fuel costs in the end, all you see is a big loss. It is keeping records like this that helped me see that getting a solar pump would be a good choice”.
Let us know if you have any really good tips and tricks for keeping quick and effective records for your farm. You can get in contact with us via Facebook .
* data from 58 small-scale farmers who answered our social media poll
At Futurepump we are experts in the manufacture of solar irrigation pumps. We want to help smallholder farmers across the world grow crops sustainably all year round. You can find out more about our work and bigger mission across futurepump.com
We are not agronomists, we just want to help you get the most out of your farm sustainably. So, for more help on record keeping, budgeting and farm management it is a good idea to speak to an agronomist in your local area who can provide you tailored advice for your farm.
A Futurepump SF2 solar water pump watering crops from a gravity fed pond