Record Keeping – What Every Farmer Must Know
Recordkeeping is an essential step to having a successful and profitable agribusiness. Records are useful in measuring a farm’s production and financial performance.
A farmer’s key areas of production records include breeding, feeding, harvesting and field records.
On the other hand, financial recordkeeping entails listing a farm’s income and expenses, as well as preparing accounting statements such as a cash flow, balance sheet and income statement, which paint a financial picture of the present situation and serve as a planning guide for future decisions.
To read more about financial recordkeeping, refer to our previous article; Bookkeeping for Farmers and Agripreneurs
Remember, the less accurate your production records are, the less accurate your financial projections will be.
Surprisingly, most farmers regard recordkeeping as tedious and complicated. Trust me, it will be worth your time and effort when you start reaping the benefits.
Proper records will give you the information you need; to make sound business management decisions, prepare accurate income tax returns and obtain financial credit/loans.
As a farmer who has not been keeping proper records, you must be wondering where to start. For starters, you could simply purchase an exercise book from your local shop and start keeping records. If you are tech-savvy, use an excel spreadsheet which you can store in your google drive to access and update it anywhere any time.
I recently interviewed Gladys Soy, a successful poultry farmer in Kenya, about recordkeeping for her agribusiness, “Recordkeeping is the heart of my farming business. I started with a physical book which was quite useful but it got really old and some content rubbed off with the ink as time went by. After I learnt how to use excel, I have never looked back. The spreadsheet I used contains critical information such my layer’s flock record and their mortality rate, feeding consumption, eggs records such as collections and sales, and records of vaccination/medication given to the birds.” Gladys explained.
Below are samples of Gladys’ recordkeeping templates on Excel;
|Date||Opening stock (No. of eggs before the day's collections)||Daily eggs collections||Cumulative eggs count (opening stock + eggs produced)||Sales||Breakages||Closing stock|
|No. of crates||No. of pieces||Total no. of crates||Total no. of pieces||No. of crates||No. of pieces||Total no. of eggs sold (in trays)||Total eggs broken||No. of crates||No. of pieces|
|Month||Week||Birds age||Mon||Tue||Wed||Thu||Fri||Sat||Sun||Total||Remarks (e.g. cause of death)|
|Jan-20||1||4 weeks||2||4||0||1||0||2||0||9||Eaten by rats|
|2||5 weeks||0||1||4||2||5||6||1||19||Eaten by rats|
|Month||Opening Stock||No. of birds dead||No. of birds sold||No. of birds added||Closing stock|
|2/5/2020||Additional layers birds at 3 weeks old||200||30,000|
|2/5/2020||Pembe starter||150 kgs||9,600|
|2/6/2020||Maize grains||300 kgs||12,000|
|2/6/2020||Soya meal||541 kgs||500|