Any farm, no matter the size, is only as good as its management. There are four pillars that every farm manager must keep in mind when running their operation: people, livestock, assets, and feed. People are the most important asset on any farm. Without a good team of employees, it would be impossible to get any work done. Livestock are next in importance, as they are the main source of income for most farms. Assets such as plant and equipment are also essential, as they are necessary for carrying out farm work. Lastly, feed is vital for keeping livestock healthy and productive.
- People (staff, employees, workers, labour)
- Livestock (sheep, beef, dairy)
- Assets (plant and equipment)
- Feed (crops, fodder, forage, pasture)
People (staff, employees, workers, labour)
Farmworkers are the backbone of the agricultural industry, and their hard work is essential to keeping our food supply running smoothly.
However, managing farm workers can be a challenging task. There are a few key things to keep in mind in order to effectively manage farmworkers.
It is important to establish clear expectations and guidelines for your workers. They should know what is expected of them in terms of work hours, duties, and conduct.
This expectation can be clearly defined and communicated through a contract or employee handbook.
By setting clear expectations, you can foster a positive relationship. Maintaining positive employee relationships is crucial for any business, but it can be especially important on a farm. Good employee relations will lead to a more productive and efficient workforce.
There are a few things you can do to build positive employee relationships, such as providing fair compensation, encouraging open communication, and investing in employee training and development.
You need to be aware of and comply with the relevant labour laws in your area. These laws can vary from country to country, so it is important to do your research and make sure you are up to date on the latest regulations.
Laws include things such as disputes and protections for both employees and employers, safety standards, and wage requirements. There are a lot more areas to be across, but this will give you a start.
You need to be able to communicate effectively with your workers. This includes being able to understand their concerns and needs, as well as being able to give clear instructions.
By working with farm staff, you can evaluate what works best for designating tasks.
By utilising tools in the workplace, you can develop stronger communication methods.
For example, many young people are used to being on their phones and can adapt to task management software quickly. There are many apps and tools for time management, calendars, task management, rostering, compliance and so on.
Do your homework and you're sure to be rewarded.
Compassion and Support
You need to be able to provide adequate support for your workers. This includes things like providing adequate housing and break areas and access to healthcare and other benefits.
By keeping these things in mind, you can better manage your farm workers and ensure that they are able to do their jobs effectively.
Livestock (sheep, beef, dairy)
Livestock are a key farm management pillar because they are deeply integrated into the entire system. Let's explore this a little further.
Livestock provides food, fibre, and fuel for the farm as well as many other products and services. Livestock also provides organic matter for the soil, which helps to improve its fertility and structure. In addition, grazing animals help to control weeds and pests, and they can be used for ploughing and tilling fields - though, make way for robotic and automated tractors!
Furthermore, livestock can provide income for the farm through the sale of meat, milk, eggs, leather, wool, and other products. Consequently, it is essential for any farm business to have a healthy population of livestock.
Without farm animals, the farm would quickly fall into disrepair and would be unable to produce the food and other goods that it needs to survive.
So, when you look at farm livestock in this light, it makes sense that animals make up one of the four pillars.
Assets (plant and equipment)
As anyone in the farming business knows, plant and equipment are essential for a successful farm.
Not only do they provide the necessary tools for planting and harvesting, but they also help to improve efficiency and productivity. In addition, plant and equipment can also help to reduce costs by automating tasks that would otherwise need to be completed by hand.
In order to be successful, farmers must have the proper tools and equipment. Some of the most common items found on a farm include tractors, ploughs, combines, and harvesters. These machines are essential for planting, tilling, and harvesting crops.
Farmers also rely on trailers, trucks, and other vehicles to transport their goods to market. In addition to machinery, farms also require a variety of supplies, such as seed, fertilizer, and feed.
Assets can include the titles of land parcels through to machinery such as quad bikes, milking parlours and upkeep of parlour equipment to stockyards to irrigation equipment and so on.
Without these essential items, farmers would not be able to produce the food that we rely on every day.
As a result, assets such as plant and equipment are essential for any farm that wants to be successful. without them, it would be difficult to compete in today's market.
Feed (crops, fodder, forage, pasture)
Feed is one of the most important aspects of running a successful farm. Without high-quality feed, animals will not grow and thrive.
There are three main types of feed that we touch on that are used on farms: fodder, forage and pasture.
Fodder is typically used for livestock such as cows and dry stock. It is usually made up of conserved hay and silage, and it provides a balanced diet that helps animals to grow.
Forage is another type of feed that is often used for grazing livestock. It typically consists of grasses and other plants that animals can graze on.
Such examples of forage include:
Pasture is a type of feed (also known as a forage) that is used for grazing animals. It is usually planted with grasses and other plants that grow similarly to grasses that are suitable for grazing.
Common species sown by themselves or as mixes in pastures include:
All three types of feed are essential for a successful farm. And how you choose to integrate the varying feeds is determined by your comfort of risk, market conditions, production system, operating environment, and many other contributing factors.
Given that feed makes up a dominant expense on a livestock farm, manage this with attention to maximising utilisation with things like feed conversion efficiency, and calculating cost benefits to meet your farm production and financial goals.
By keeping these four pillars in mind when managing, any farm can be run effectively and efficiently.
Until we meet again, Happy Managing!
- The Dedicated Team of Pasture.io, 03 May 2022