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The value of keeping good farm records

Modern farm enterprises are becoming more and more business orientated and it is as important to be a successful farm business manager as it is to be a good producer.  A key step in being a successful farmer is maintaining a good quality and accurate record-keeping system as it plays such an important role in your business.

Legislation governs what information must be kept and for how long and we all recognise that this has created an administration burden for farmers.  However, farming is just like any other business in that its records are helpful in developing and improving your businesses productivity.

A complete and accurate farm records system will help maintain your businesses’ profits, or make your farming business more profitable for the future, while determining what both the businesses’ efficiencies and inefficiencies are.  There are many efficient farm record systems available ranging from the more traditional hand written books through to modern computerised systems.

You could have a visit from Government officials at any time, during these visits the officials will review your on-farm records and if these records are not up-to-date and correct then penalties could be applied.  Your records need to be accurately updated on a regular basis to explain your actions.  Therefore, the better your records are, the easier it will be to explain any problems, giving you peace of mind.

Cattle and sheep record keeping
Your movement records for cattle and sheep must provide the necessary information for you and any visiting officials. 
Some of this information includes:

  • on and off farm movement records
  • official ear tag number/identification mark
  • births, deaths and cause of death
  • notification to the British Cattle Movement Service (BCMS) of all cattle movements within three days of the movement taking place

Spray and fertiliser application records
A record of your fertiliser usage must be kept so that you can satisfy record requirements.

Some of this information includes:

  • name of chemicals purchased
  • quantity purchased
  • Nitrogen (N) Phosphorus (P) Potassium (K) ratios
  • field name / field number
  • area covered
  • rate of application
  • disposal of chemicals
  • date of waste chemical and method of disposal

Veterinary records
Your animal medicine record book should satisfy your responsibilities to keep all the information required by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra), Animal Health and Farm Assured officials on the purchase and administration of medicines.

It is essential that your farm records are kept up-to-date, for more information or assistance with your records contact our Agricultural team on 01228 711888.

Posted: April 28th, 2015

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