A passionate Agribusiness professional, Joseph Wambugu, is on a mission to improve food security in Africa. His areas of focus are mechanisation and small-scale farming.
For Joseph, mechanisation is an enabler of timekeeping. Forward-planning and acquiring the right agricultural machinery are the two critical practices that farmers can adopt to improve the timeliness and accuracy of farming activities.
Today, most people talk of precision farming, but in simpler terms, timeliness and accuracy in farming operations are a common denominator among all successful farmers.
If you are a farmer, small or large-scale and you have never worried about the time to start and finish activities on your farm, this article is for you! A farmer should worry twice as much (if not more) about accomplishing tasks on time than hitting the target yield. Yield is a consequence of timeliness!
It is critical for farmers to always ask themselves if they are accomplishing tasks (planting, spraying, harvesting, etc) on time. Farmers may be unable to observe timelines due to various obstacles such as misplaced priorities, lack of knowledge, labor shortage, unavailability of machinery when needed, just to name a few.
Overcoming these obstacles and beat deadlines may require a farmer to spend some extra cash, but trust me, the benefits of investing in timeliness and accuracy are far-reaching. In many instances, the benefits of timeliness can be measured. Or easier still, the losses due to untimeliness are most evident.
For plant growers, for example, planting their seeds on time and at the right depth is perhaps the single most critical activity in making a profit. If your planting application goes bad, then you are on for a bad crop season!
A practice that all farmers can employ to improve timeliness is forward-planning and being “equipped”. A lack of forward-planning could cause things to slip up or get forgotten. Being “equipped” allows the farmer to execute activities at the right speed and efficiency especially during shorter timelines.
By being “equipped” I mean acquiring the right agricultural machinery!
Farming activities are very dynamic and there are very many factors to consider when making decisions. Having in mind the uncertainties of the weather and the unpredictable market demands, all farmers should understand the importance of accomplishing activities on time when opportunities present themselves.
When a field operation is performed, there is normally an optimal time for this operation with respect to the value of the crop. If the operation is performed earlier or later, the value of the crop may decrease due to changes in quantity and/or quality.
Remember that every farm activity has a limited timeline to accomplish and the timeline varies from one crop to the other.
To finalize, I am not sure where you are aware of the following realities that:
- If you have been a farmer for 50 years farming annual crops, you have had only 50 chances to plant your seeds in your career life of farming,
- Seeds that emerge three days after the first seed emerged are considered to be weeds because they can hardly catch up with the rest.
These two realities should teach you two things as a farmer:
- You must minimize errors and improve accuracy and precision while planting your seeds because you have only one chance to try per year,
- Farming is a game of strict rules. The farmer must do what he must when he must!
Mechanizing your farm activities will help you keep time and be efficient.
By Joseph Wambugu