Subject: Agricultural Science
Topic: Farm Records
Learning Objectives: by the end of the Lesson, the learners should be able to:
1. Define the term farm record;
2. Mention and explain the types of Farm Records;
3. State the importance of Farm Records;
4. Prepare any type of farm record.
Lesson Summary / Discussion
Definition of Farm Records
Farm Records can be defined as documentation of farm routine which enables a farmer to keep track of his farm activities for the sake of accountability and good management.
Farming is a form of business. A farmer therefore needs to keep records of his farming activities so that at the end of the season he will
be able to account for his time, and be able to say what has happened
on his farm. The farmer should be able to recall what crops or livestock
he has produced and how much it has cost him to obtain his yield. If a
farmer keeps such a record, he will be able to compare his profits and
yields from one year to the next. The farmer with good records will be
able to compare his yields with those of other neighbouring farms
during the same growing season and determine whether he is doing a
good job or not.
Good farm records also enable the farmer to control his production plan. For instance, he will know whether his birds are laying well or whether they are not being given enough feed. If a poor production trend is ohserved early enough, it can be casily corrected to avoid heavy issues.
Simple records should be kept for a small farm. A farmer should try to
keep accurate, full records of his activities if possible on a daily basis.
There are special ruled notebooks which the farmer can buy from the
local bookseller or bookshop for purposes of record keeping. Such
books have different columns for the date, the type of activity and the
cost of the operation. The farmer can have one note-book for cropping activities, one for livestock, one tor wages and another for sales and receipts. Nowadays, even a farmer who is operating a small farm can afford to put all his transactions in the computer. Computerising all activities will make life easier for the farmer. He should however, complete each of the records as soon as the operation
or transaction has been completed. The farmer should check his records on a daily, weekly or monthly basis.
To keep good records, it is important to be able to measure quantities accurately. The farmer must know how much land, in terms of hectares, he has planted to a specific crop. He must not guess the areas used for each crop or guess the quantity of the yield he obtained. He must measure by using a weighing scale, how much
maize, cocoa bean or cowpea he has produced from a given area.
He must know how much fertilizer he applied to obtain his yields. All the information should be put in his record-book. The farmer must know how many times he has weeded an area and how many men he needed for this operation and how long the exercise took. These are all part of his cost of production. If he eats or gives away part of his produce, he must record it, so that he will have a true picture of his total production and income.
Importance of Farm Records
1. Keeping Farm Records Helps the Farmer to Plan for the Future: When a farmer has kept good records over the years, he is in a good position to plan properly tor the future. For example, he will know how much land he needs to obtain a certain amount of crop yield. He will
know how many birds he needs to house to produce a given numberof
eggs in one year. From these, he can tell how much his production will
cost him and how much profit he should expect. In a good agricultural
area, the farmer can compare his records with the average for all the
farmers in his locality if they all keep good records. This will help him
to plan accurately for the future.
2. It Enables farmers to determine capital investment and profit gained: Good farm records also help the farmer to know how much he is
earning as income from his farm. He should keep records of what food
substances he uses from his farm for home use. He should pay himself
and members of his family who work on his farm sufficient wages to
keep them on the job, but not more than they can earn in any other job
in their locality. A farmer with good farm records stands a better
chance of getting loans from a local bank or being better assessed for
the purpose of paying tax.
3. It helps farmers to rate their performance and improve on their farm management:
When records are kept, they are useful in improving the standard of
management on a farm. Some agricultural advisory officers keep good records of their production on government farms. A farmer can
compare his records of performance with those of the agricultural advisory officer as standards to measure how well he has done. A group of farmers in the same locality may get together at the end of a season to compare their yield and management. They will learn from one another on how to improve their management on various enterprises. By so doing, good record keeping helps to improve the farming business in the entire community.
Types of Farm records
- Farm diary
- Farm inventory
- Production records
- Input records
- Consumption records
- Sales Records or Profit and Loss Account
The above stated Farm Records are discussed below:
A farm diary records the different farm operations and when they are
carried out daily and throughout the year.
Farm inventory is a detailed list of all items on the farm including household goods, furniture etc. The inventory is usually kept in a big hardcovered notebook. these days, the record is kept in a computer.
All items are kept on separate pages in the book or computer. The list of items in the larm inventory will include typc and quantity of seeds, chemicals such as tungicides, herbicides and pesticides, fertilizers, number and type of tractors, ploughs, harrows, ridgers, drills, combine harvesters, livestock feeds, as well as numbers of cutlasses, hoes, axes, rakes, wheel barrows, watering cans, seed boxes, sprinklers, spades, chairs and tables, notebooks for keeping records, cold room facilities, feed mill, farm houses, dogs, livestock (chickens, turkey, goats, sheep, rabbits, pigs, cattle, dlonkeys, horses ), silos, shelling machines, dryers, feed bags, egg trays, vehicles and computers.
It is important to update farm inventory records from time to time so as to enable the farmer to know the status of each item and therefore permits restocking at appropriate times so that farm operations can continue unimpeded.
When a farmer is engaged in a fattening operation, he necds a different type of livestock record. In his casc, he should kecp a rccord on each animal. His recorel notchook should show the weight on the date he begins to teed the animals and the weight on the date he stops feeding
Them. He can then have a measurement of how well the animals have grown over the period of fattening. Growth in this case is measured in terms of the increase in the live weight over a given period of time. The live weight gain of growing stock compared to the amount of food
eaten during the period is known as the ‘conversion ratio’. This index is a
useful measure of how well an animal produces meat. If a growing pig
eats 20 kg of feed to produce a weight gain of five kg in one week, then its conversion ratio is 20/5 which is 4 kg/kg gain. A farmer will need a
good scale to measure the feed offered to the stock, left-overs and the
weight of the animals at the start and at the end of the trial.
Apart from animal consumption recorcds, the farmer may also use some of the farm produce for home consumption. This should also be
recorded. The value of what has been consumed in the houselhold should be the cost of these items if they were to be bought in the open market.
The input record booksk should have a separate page for every plot. The
book should carry the type of crop on each plot showing the plot size
and the identification or number of the plot, the date of planting as well
as the amount of seed or planting materials used. Other inputs to be
recorded include amount of fertilizer, and herhicide applied, cost of spraying with insecticides and the quantity used and cultural operations such as the number of hand weeeding that were carried out, the number of labourers used as well as their wages.
For farmers who keep animals on their farms, it is good for them to keep
some records on these animals. The farmer must know how many of
each type of livestock he has, how they got to his farm and when or how
he disposes off these animals. Input records will include the amount of
feed fed to poultry or cattle, sheep and goats, type and quantity of
different drugs given to the animals during the different stages of their
For crops, their yields are rended for each plot atrer harvest. For the
rice crop, both the pady rice weight, as well as the weight of the milled rice are recorded. Tlese figures will give the farmer an idea of the efficiency of his rice mill.
In a good livestock tarm, let’s say in a poultry farm for instance, the farmer may want to know how many birds he has in lay, how many eggs he obtains in a day how much food the birds eat in a day to produce that number of eggs, and how many birds survive from day to day or from week to week.
These records help to check stealing of animals and also lets the farmer know of births and issues due to diseases.
A separate record should be kept for each farm stock. In a breeding stock, the farmer should krep records of his matings. For example, a sheep breeding station should have a breeding record which shows the
number or name of the ewe, the number or name of the ram it is mated to, and the date of mating. When the ewe delivers, the date, weight and number ot lambs should be rccorded. The records should also show what difficuties if any, the animal experienced in giving birth. These types of records allow the farmer to know how well his female animals produce and how well they can rear their offspring.
The sexual power of his male animals can also be proved. All breeding
animals that do not reproduce well should be removed from the breeding stock and sold for food.
Sales Records/Profit and Loss Account
A farmer has to keep a simple account book of his sales and reccipts as well as his expenses and purchases. Each time he buys or sells anything, he should record the date, the details of the operations as well as the amount involved.
Done studying? See previous lessons in Agricultural Science
Lesson Evaluation / Test
1.Define the term farm record.
2. Mention and explain the types of Farm Records.
3. What are the importance of Farm Records?
4. Prepare any farm record of your choice.
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