Recordkeeping is an essential tool in any farming enterprise’s toolkit. In the old days the information pertaining to animals was noted on the back of a cigarette box. Nowadays, apart from the pressure of farming sustainably, the science of farming has become so complex that this option is simply not feasible anymore.
Information such as the identity of the calf’s dam, the time of calving, and how many calves were produced over the cow’s lifetime have become crucial in order to farm sustainably.
Years ago producers could still rely on their memory, but because agricultural science and the business of agriculture have become so complex, they can no longer rely solely on memory. Even the smallest farm needs a recordkeeping system that must be kept up to date almost daily. This information serves as a guideline when producers need to make future-oriented decisions regarding the farming enterprise, assess the progress of the business, or calculate how setbacks such as droughts will affect their financial outlook.
Different ways of collecting data
There are numerous recordkeeping systems on the market that producers can use. Some producers use a system that might entail standing in the kraal and making notes in a diary that are then entered into a system once the day’s tasks have been completed. This process is relatively uncomplicated.
However, there are other excellent systems on the market set up by agronomists or agricultural economists aimed at identifying the weaknesses and strengths in a farming enterprise, facilitating the management of the farm, achieving certain medium- and long-term goals, and managing risks more efficiently.
No matter which system the producer uses, it must generate accurate information regarding the farm’s operations so that meaningful decisions can be made in terms of future progress.
Which data to include
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