Farmer cheats: Keep a daily diary

One of the most underestimated management techniques on any farm is to keep simple, straight-forward daily diary. Not ony does it help enormously with planning and getting your thinking sorted out every day, it’s also an extremely handy way of checking what was done when, why, by whom and how.

That way you keep track of everything that is done and how you dealt with certain situations. African Farming got a few handy tips from a commercial farmer in KwaZulu Natal who has been keeping a diary for years. He uses an A4-sized diary with a set template on each page that makes it much easier to use. Headings include weather, where any observations about rainfall, frost or wind are noted.

Every staff member’s name is a separate heading, where what they have done for the day is described. Machines and implements have they own headings, usually their registration numbers, followed by a short description of what each tractor or implement did for the day. And so you can keep on adding categories, like livestock divided into herds or flocks, with descriptions such as what camps they are running in, stock numbers and so forth.

The farmer we spoke to also has a rough diary that he keeps in the bakkie with him, for making quick notes that he would transfer into his main dairy later.

Don’t even think of using your computer – a handwritten diary is a document that can’t be altered and it will even hold up in a court of law, as some farmers have discovered. And where would you find the time? Well, as this particular farmer points out, we all have time to be on our phones for at least an hour every day. That’s more than enough time to do get your diary up to date!

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