By recordkeeping you know if the business is profitable

20-01-2014 Mw. Philomena Nshanjano (age 72) runs a farm of 28 cows. She lost her husband years ago, she runs the farm on her own, where the labour is being done by workers. Her seven children have jobs elsewhere, and are annually informed about the farm business and policy. Mw. Philamina assumes that her eldest son has the right skills to manage the farm when she retires, in partnered ownership with her other children.

Mw. Philomena keeps records and accounts of the technical en financial achievements. She has a manual how to calculate the cost, gross profit and other figures. She told the Agriterra mission her cost were on average 320 USh. The milk price varies, ca. 500 USh in the wet season per litre, up to 800 USH in the dry season. Her income last year was 14 mln USh. (calculations check: 28 cows x 10 litres/day x 365 x 200 USh profit = average 20 mln).

She is eager to learn from looking back in her accounts and searching for improvement, an attitude she learned from her father. An example she gave was feeding maize to the cows; she calculated afterwards that this was not profitable. She has paddocks and improved pasture and makes silage in order to feed her cows better in the dry season. Making silage is done through chopping the elephant grass in a hand chopper and then put this roughage in a hole in the ground, covered with plastic. The roughage is condensed with the aid of a big barrel filled with water which is being rolled over. Then covered with plastic and the sand out of the hole is put on top of it. She has good experiences with silage, feeding in the dry season. She also takes specially care for the water needs of her cows.

Her goal in 10 years is to expand her farm to 50 cows and deliver 1.000 litres of milk a day. The cows then will be better fed, the mechanisation has increased, and in particular the milking and the zero-grazing has become normal the year round. She has made a tiny start with a manual of her business operations, so when the children take over everything she does is registered in protocols.

She would like to broaden the activities of the farm furthermore with a conference building where people can have meetings, eat and sleep and perhaps do workshops on the farm and in the field. 

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