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AGRO SOLUTIONS: Seven secrets of success for small farmers

Know yourself  Make sure you know your strong and weak points and what you can do or can’t do. If you are not happy on…

Know yourself 

Make sure you know your strong and weak points and what you can do or can’t do. If you are not happy on the farm you will struggle to make a success. Farm animals or crops you have a ‘feel’ for. Most importantly, make sure you really want to farm; if not you will easily become bored or distracted and lose focus on essential chores. 

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Watching soccer on television or going to town while your cattle are without water will soon bankrupt you. If farming is not for you, don’t even try it. 

Manage your finances carefully 

Unless you have an off-farm income or are running a fast-turnover business, you are likely to be short of money from time to time. And this may happen when you really need to spend money, for example, on buying feed for your animals. So, it is crucial to look after your money and invest the most in those enterprises on your farm that bring in the most income. Beware of debt and keep your personal spending separate from your farm account. 


There is nothing to stop you from dreaming big. At some point you will have to expand to keep up with inflation. But don’t be in a hurry; farming is not a get-rich-quick affair. Take things step by step as your business allows. Draw up a simple business plan, emphasising your main aims and goals, but don’t try to do too much at once.

Know what’s happening on the farm

Farming is a 24-hour job. You have to be on call all the time in case something goes wrong. You also need to check and double-check that all is well before you go to bed.

You must be prepared to get up again if something out there is worrying you. It is your business, so it is up to you to see that your animals and crops are thriving. Losing focus for just one day can be disastrous. 

Maintain your farm 

If there is one thing that would cost you money in the long run, it is neglecting machinery and infrastructure. It is far cheaper to look after these things properly than to fix them when they break or fall apart. 

Anticipate problems 

Get to know your farm and business well enough to anticipate where problems can arise so that you can take preventative measures. For example, livestock and crops are susceptible to diseases at specific times of the year, so take precautionary steps in advance.  

Stay informed 

Try to attend at least a few farmer information days every year; and talk to fellow farmers as often as you can to learn what they are doing. You can learn from mistakes, but there’s no excuse for being uninformed.

Source: farmers’ weekly