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Farm4Trade - The importance of record keeping
folder_openAnimal Health, Breeding, Livestock

Farming: the importance of record keeping

Estimated reading time: 6 minute(s)

Introduction

Regular farm record is a crucial tool to a successful farming business. Without farm records farmers have to rely on their memory in order to make decisions in their farm management and planning. However, human memory fades over time and the dearth of a farmer who uses his memory may result in the loss of information. 

Therefore, it’s extremely important for farmers to have accessible records for current and future farm management. 

How farmers collect data today?

There are numerous farm recording tools that farmers can use to record their information, such as: record nots manually on note books; Spreadsheet, Computer and mobile applications. Depending on what tool the farmer chooses to use, such tools must be able to provide information about what is happening on the farm and preserves farm records for current and future use.  Keeping farm records is therefore a fundamental management tool that can reveal both strengths and weaknesses in farming activities. 

Advantages of record keeping 

  1. Aids in determining the inflow and outflow, in economics terms, of the farm.
  2. Helps in setting proper pricing for animals which has to be sold at the auction.
  3. Provide insights for designing better breeding plans
  4. Supports in overall farm management.
  5. Assist in the formulation of economic feeding approaches in order to improve company’s  production.
  6. Track record of disease allows  to discover unusual animal conditions.
  7. Offers basis  to evaluate and select the animals ready to be slaughtered.
  8. Provide history of counteractive measures taken in the previous years in emergency situation, such as vaccines used to treat animals affected by diseases. 
  9. Provides a comparison between different year’s profit/loss allowing to  to set future objectives  for the farm.
  10. Useful  to verify the effectiveness of the work carried out within the farm.
  11.  Useful to  calculate approximately the cost of production.

Types of farm records and their uses.

  1. Animal identification records:  such as identification number, tag numbers,date of birth, sex, calving date, date of purchase, date of death etc.
  2. Calving report: such as calf number, sex and date of birth and any other remarks (father and mother etc.).
  3. Milk yield records:  Records daily milk yield of each cow.
  4. Growth records:  Record the weight of animals at different periods.
  5. Feeding records: Records the type and amount of feed available and given to animals with associated costs.
  6. Health and treatment records: Record of diseased animals and their history, signs, identified disease, treatment and veterinarian information.
  7. Breeding records: Records breeding practices on the farm including: failure and successful breeds.
  8. Animal History records: Records all information related to individual animals on the farm. 
  9. Financial records: Records financial aspects of the farm (Sales, expenses,  information about the price of milk, feed, vaccines etc.)

Conclusion

Keeping farm records is one of the most neglected activities in the farm management. Farmers  consider record keeping as time-consuming therefore they often ignore this practice. However, keep track of what is happening in farm is one of the most important aspects in order to improve both animal welfare and farm management. In addition, keep records of all the activities carried out within the farm may allow to avoid financial losses and to make more informed decision.  

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