Record keeping is an important activity in any dairy enterprises. Farmers should therefore ensure that all farm activities are recorded promptly. Records are important to farmers because they can help farmers in many ways such as in making:-
- Management decisions
- Financial accounting
- Identifying problems
- Planning for the future
- Determining whether targets are met
In the dairy enterprise, several types of records are kept by the farmer. For a successful operation of a dairy enterprise the following records should be kept by the farmer. Pedigree and numbers of each animal kept on the farm, dates of heat periods, breeding, pregnancy checks, bulls used, animal health records deworming, vaccinations, performance records milk production, growth rates
Good records should have the following characteristics:
- Easy to update
- Easy to understand
- Up to date i.e. include the latest event (current)
- Easy to access
- Easily summarized
Several types of records are kept which include:
- Ancestry or genetic These include the maternal and paternal records
- Breeding records -sire, date of breeding, pregnancy confirmation, date of calving, and particulars of calf.
- Veterinary records – disease type, date and treatment
- Production – amount of milk (daily, weekly or monthly), butter fat, drying
- Feed records – these could be amount of concentrate fed for pasture grazed animals or the totals amount fed for zero grazed animals.
- Financial records – all financial transactions should be recorded.
Records are important because they give the animal’s ancestry and hence prove quality and increase the value of the animal. Records also help farmers in making management decisions. Farmers keep mainly two types of records; pedigree records which show the ancestry of the animals and performance records. Ancestry records are kept by the Kenya stud Book while performance records for dairy cattle are kept by Dairy recording services of Kenya (DRSK).
Farmers are encouraged to register their animals with Kenya Stud Book and maintain the performance records especially milk, with the Dairy recording services of Kenya.
The following are sample record cards that farmers can keep:
- Record Card for Daily milk yield
- Cow Identification and Health card:
- Breeding / Reproduction Card
- Calving Record
|Record Card for Daily Milk Yield|
|Cow Identification and Health Card|
|Cow identification||Health record|
|Cow name||Sire||Dam||Date Born||Illness/Event||Outcome|
|Birth date||Sire name|
|Date animal received||Number|
|Breeding / Reproduction Card|
Lactation No……………………Date of last calving……….……….
|Date on heat|
|Breed and owner|
Date and result
|Date to dry|
|Date to calve|