Most farmers today have a clear objective of becoming successful at the cattle post by producing more and at the same time being financially stable. Well for one to achieve such it is very important to start by keeping records. Keeping records is one thing most farmers are not keen about. They feel it’s a lot of work and not necessary, but it’s not, it’s a way to keep track of what is going on in the farm. There are a few basics about record keeping that one should know about:
- Records should not be very complicated information that one has to type every day, it can be a form in its simplest form that can be filled (Modisar Farm Management application)
- Should provide all the necessary information that can answer any question the farmer or the buyer would ask just by looking at the records.
- Should be updated every time an activity is done or if there is any change at the cattle post (ko morakeng), this then means it may be done everyday
- The record keeper should be able to take responsibility of the care they give to their moraka.
Importance of record keeping
- Records allows the farmer to be able to make accurate and informed management decisions that will help maintain or improve the cattle post` profitability.
- They allow the farmer to be able to track disease attack incidents and be able to prepare for such.
- Allows the farmer to be able to check inventory on how many livestock are there and how much feed is available.
- It also helps in obtaining funding from different institutions if one wants to expand the business, as the records will be proof of what the farmer will say about activities of the farm.
- Records bring trust and confidence between the farmer and the workers, and the level of production will also indicate such improvement or decline in production.
- Records also helps the farmer to budget well for the cattle post activities and for the future
- Records will indicate how production changes in seasonally and will bring the knowledge and the ideas of how to take care of livestock for each season that comes.
Types of records that can be kept
- Weight of livestock: the farmer can choose a system of when to weigh the livestock and keep a track record of that to indicate growth in the livestock
- Milk production: records of how much each cow produces in liters of milk
- Breeding production records: these records may show the mother father of the offspring and how many each breeding cow has given birth to.
- Disease vaccination records: these are records that are kept to indicate the date, medicine, method of application of medication and the person who did the vaccination and to which cows or bulls or weaners. Also include the disease name which was vaccinated against.
- Inventory records: these are records kept to keep track of feed, medication and farm tools that are bought or misplaced. There should be a registry that is done to show how much feed has been given to the livestock and how much is left and also the medications that have been used and those that are available.
- Visitors record: Keep records of people that visit the farm: this is so that minimizing of pathogen transfers
- Record for number of livestock in the farm: record the number of livestock that died, that were bought, that were born and culled ones.
- Records of diseases that affected the livestock: the name of the diseases and the medicine used to fight the disease. Also the follow ups that are done to prevent the spread of the diseases further.
It is best to understand how your cattle post/farm operates especially if you are not there all the time, but records can give you a sense of presence since you will be able to track and note every activity that takes place. Remember accurate, up to date and informed records can make the farmer’s decision process easier and faster.