FARM PRODUCTION CYCLE
This page is based on an article in Goat Biz by Barry Arnett "Planning a Goat Calendar"
Planning when activities on your farm happen spreads the necessary work throughout the year. This allows you to determine when it is most convenient to do various tasks. For example, if you know that next year a family member is planning a major family reunion in January you might want to "move" your kidding time from your usual January dates to April. Obviously this means you should "move" your typical breeding period from August to November in the prior year. Several of the activities that you do on a normal basis, such as weaning and vaccination of kids, would also need to "move".
In business terms, this type of planning is called "developing a production cycle" and is used to gain efficiency and effectiveness. Expenses can be timed to buy when materials are less expensive. Revenue can be timed to sell when prices are high. Just as importantly, quality can be increased by adding consistency to those tasks that would benefit from being done in a careful and orderly way.
An example of a goat-planning calendar that was developed by Kentucky State University for their Research Farm can be downloaded by clicking the button below.
This calendar allows the farm management to plan their purchases, schedule their labor, and manage their cash flow in a somewhat predictable manner. The result is a reduced inventory, minimized waste, and a predictable cash flow. In other words, it is more efficient to plan your work and expense so that you can make a higher profit!
Any calendar would need to be "tuned" to your farm and your management system. For example, if you have determined that it is more profitable in your area to sell your goats in April rather than October, as shown on the diagram, then you would need to adjust your breeding period accordingly. Clearly, nature will somewhat limit your ability to manipulate the calendar but you do, indeed, have quite a bit of flexibility. Obviously, you may want to add or remove items from the calendar shown so it is customized to your individual situation.
Establishing a calendar of events on your farm, will not revolutionize your goat business but it could very well be more profitable and make your life just a little bit easier than "business as usual".
Finally, don’t forget to schedule yourself for some education during the year (such as KikoFest). Make an investment in yourself, it will pay off!