Readers ask about farm plans

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Alfred Moyo from Katete in Zambia’s Eastern Province asks: “Do you offer farm plans?”

A very good question Alfred because the farm plan is the foundation upon which your farm business should be built. I have been remiss in not discussing this before so I must thank you for bringing it to my attention.

The farm plan is usually drawn up by the farmer, with the help of his consultant or mentor, when he, or she, is about to start farming a new farm, or when there is a need to rehabilitate, upgrade and improve the existing farm.

You would have to send me some fairly extensive information on the proposed farm before we can start the farm plan. This would include: hectares of land available for cultivation; ha available for grazing; all water sources – river, dam/s, boreholes, irrigation furrows; borehole depth and pumps used; availability of power; the slope of various fields; details that would allow me to find the farm on google earth; soil types; current fencing; irrigation available or not and current infrastructure. I would have to know whether you wanted to run livestock or plant crops or run a mixed operation.

You need a good map of the farm, preferably to scale, but a freehand drawing of the area will do as long as the acreages, rivers, dams and fences are correctly indicated. Google Earth is a fine tool in the farm plan toolbox.

Every bit of information helps to build the picture you need for a good farm plan. This applies whether you are looking at 1 000 ha for a dairy milking 600 cows or 5 ha for a field of fresh produce for the local market.

Once you have done the farm plan – you can look at the business plan.

So Alfred, let’s get cracking – if you’re prepared to do the homework, I look forward to the challenge of working out your farm plan with you.

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