Despite farming business not being a walk in the park for most farmers especially with the market dynamics continuously changing, there are certain farmers who always seem to hit it right year in and year out. These farmers always tend to have above average yields, high quality crops or livestock and achieve above average profit margins in their farming operation.
I am sure you have at least once questioned what their biggest secret is.
Below are 5 farm management practices that can be adapted by any farmer to stay on top of their game;
- Have a plan and stick to it.
Farmers that do well have a properly drafted plan for their operation right from the beginning to the end of the year. For example, if you are a poultry farmer, have a plan at the beginning of the year that details the approximate yield per day and month, a marketing plan and how much you are likely to make from sale of eggs, your expansion plan, when to purchase or service machinery, when the birds will be vaccinated, and the expected costs for each expense item.
A plan will ensure that your operations run smoothly and it will also aid with decision making such as when to take a loan.
Besides having a drafted plan, make sure you stick to it and take the time to thoughtfully evaluate the plan on a regular basis, making any necessary adjustments caused by changes that might occur in the course of the year’s operations.
It can be difficult to stay on task and look at the long-term strategy without getting sidetracked, but remember, it’s a marathon not a sprint, hence keep your eye on the prize and stay focused!
- Keep proper records.
Farmers that consistently make money know their numbers right. They know exactly how much the farm is yielding at any given time, how much money they are making from sales, the losses and all the costs involved. With this knowledge, they are always looking for ways to mitigate losses, minimize cost and increase their profit margins.
- Pay attention to details.
Farmers ought to pay attention to the smallest details in all aspects of their farming operation. Pay attention to things such as hygiene measures which could bring about diseases to your animals, small and unnecessary costs that could build up with time and theft from employees. For crop farming, make sure the soils are not too wet or too dry and keep fertility up to date without overspending.
- Knowledge is power, be informed.
Great farmers are curious and are aware that learning never ends. They make use of trusted resources that give well researched farming insights as well as learn from their peers. They constantly seek information on market prices, agricultural policies and economic institutions for purpose of leases, credit and loans, crop protection methods, soil management and fertility, energy efficiency techniques, technology, marketing trends, among others. Farmers need to do their homework and never seem to be satisfied with what has been done compared to what can be done.
- Be adaptive.
The world we live in currently is ever changing and at times quite unpredictable. A successful farmer has to be open minded enough to try new things and adapt to changes as fast as possible. For example, technology is something that farmers cannot run away from because it is making farm operations easier and more efficient. For instance, farmers are now learning how to incorporate technology in their operations such as using artificial intelligence like driverless tractors or using social media platforms like Facebook and WhatsApp to market their products.