AGRICULTURAL PAPERS, No. 6.
“ System of Seeping Farm Accounts.”
[Bt Mb W. E. Trent.]
It was with no little surprise I received a communication from our worthy hon. secretary, Mr Bruce, requesting me to read a paper at the present meeting. Believing it was only on agricultural matters that the members of this association desired information, I felt a large amount of diffidence in coming forward for such a purpose, and I replied that it would be a great piece of presumption on my part if I considered I could teach the farmers of Lincoln anything relating to agriculture tW- they did not already know. To which the secretary replied, suggesting that I should read a paper on “ Keeping Farm Accounts.” On receipt of this I felt more at ease, and had much pleasure in acceding to the request. Therefore, gentlemen, I now come before you not as an agriculturist, but as a business man, who has applied the same rules and principles to an agricultural speculation, as he has been in the habit of applying to mercantile pursuits with considerable success. In the matter of “ Keeping Farm Accounts,” I do not propose to tell you that the system I have adopted is the best and only system, but I shall content myself with explaining to you the particular method I adopt, leaving it to yourselves to judge bow far my system may be improved upon or modified for the purposes of any particular branch of farming to which any of my friends might wish to apply it, and I think, when I have explained my system in detail yon will find it a very simple affair, and quite within the comprehension of persons of ordinary intelligence, and professing to be business men. When I first-became an agricultural proprietor I was carrying on a manufacturing and mercantile business. 1 commenced an account in my ledger called “ Farm Account,” as it was necessary for m® to account for all expenditure on account of the farm. In those days I treated the farm as one of my customers, and a very bad customer it proved to be, for it was a long time before I could see any return whatever for my outlay. When it was necessary to make any disbursement on account of farm, I merely made a journal entry of the same—Farm Dr to so and go for so much, posting the amount to tho. debit of farm account. When any goods in from the farm the entry was Goods Dr to Farm for so much. This was pi«ynd to the debit of goods account and credit of farm account. But at tho end of the year when I took stock, I was rather surprised to find what a large amount my customer Farm owed me, amounting to some thousands of pounds, and only a few hundreds to its credit • This set me thinking that possibly some expenditure might be dispensed with ; but which were they, out of all the heap of figures before mef This proved to me that I must adopt a different system if I would know what operations were remunerative and which left a loss. In short, I found that my accounts must he kept in detail, and be more explicit. I accordingly set to work and dismembered my farm, by dividing it into paddocks, each paddock talong the same space in the ledger that the farm formerlytook. lalsoopenednumerous other accounts, the nature and object of which I purpose presently to explain. In making this important change, the first thing I did was to take stock of the farm and everything appertaining or belonging to if First came the cost of the freehold ; next the improvements, such as breaking up the land and fencing; then came an account lor permanent improvements, such as well, building, stockyards, gates, plantations, metalled roads, &c., &c. By this means I ascertained the amount disbursed in purchase of land and making it into a farm ; this was capital employed from which there was to be no direct return. Then came another account very similar for plant, such as steam engine and pumping gear, water tanks and pipes, chatfcutter, shafting, belts, carts, waggons, ploughs, and implements of all kinds. I opened house account, cattle, sheep, pig, and poultry accounts. By the aid of these various accounts I was able to ascertain accurately the total of money sank, which I treated as capital locked up. My next object was to ascertain the cost of every operation carried on upon the farm, viz., what this paddock cost for ploughing, another for weeding, and so on. In order to do this systematically, it was absolutely necessary to distinguish one paddock from another to avoid confusion- It then occurred to me that if I gave each paddock a name it would take up a large amount of unnecessary room in a timesheet. For instance, One thousand pounds expressed in figures Will occupy far less space than the words nineteen pounds. I, therefore, decided the better plan wonld be to number the paddocks consecutively from No. 1 upwards, in order to avoid mistakes about the identity of each paddock, I commenced on the first paddock in the front on the lefthand side and numbered them in rotation order; so that if any doubt existed as to any particular paddock, the person in the Jilammo. had only to commence counting from the first and they would soon arrive at the right paddock, [Mr Trent here exhibited a plan of his farm.] Having arranged and classified my various paddocks, I drew out a sketch of a timesheet to be filled up by the farm manager. This time-sheet allowed for about twenty men’s names to be placed in a vertical column on the left-hand side of the page. The page was next divided vertically into seven other divisions ; six of these were headed with the names of the days of the week, each of which had a wide space to pnt'. down the nature of the operation earned oft opposite the operative’s name, u well ss the number of paddock operated upon. Each day’s space had two smaller columns for days and hours. For instance, if a man worked eight hours at a job he was marked one day ; if be worked ten he would be marked one day two hours. If, again, he worked four hours «aeh at two different jobs, he would be marked four hours for each. I had 600 of these timesheets printed at a cost of about £2; half of these sheets were bound into a book to be kept permanently on the farm, to be filled in end written up each day. At the and of the week it 6 the manager’s dare to send me a duplicate copy on one ci thetoow Meets. Tliefe ttflfa-fbMt# JWJpf flslpr 9WM9I Sp HfW
paddock or work, and charge it to account accordingly. But in order to arrive at the just price or value of work done, it is necessary for me to value the time of the horses. By a careful account I have kept, I have ascertained that the total cost of keeping a working horse in proper condition all the year round, and one year with another, is about 6s per week—that is, if you principally grow your own feed and do not purchase oats at a dear time. But as horses cost money, and the more they are worked the sooner their value is depreciated, and you must also allow for the cost of wear and tear of harness and implements as well as shooing. Taking into consideration those facts, I decided on charging 2s Gd per day for the use of every horse that is worked, charging nothing for a horse when he is sick or idle. Having arranged this matter, I am now able to tell the cost of a day’s work as follows; —Ploughing—Single furrow, one man, 5s ; two horses, at 2s Gd —los. Double furrow, one man, 5s ; three horses, at 2s Gd—l2s Gd. Scuffing, one man, 5s ; three horses, at 2s 6s—l2 6d. Harrowing, one lad, 3a4d; two horses, at 2s6d—Bs 4d. Rolling, one lad, 3s 4d ; two horses, at 2s 6d —8s 4d. Waggon, one man, 5s ; drink, Is ; four horses, at 2s Gd—l6s; subsoiling, one manand plough ss, 2 horses at 2s Gd—los; one man, ss; boy, 2s ; three horses, at 2s Gd —14s 6d ; £1 4s Gd. Drilling—two men, at 5s ; one boy, 2s ; one horse, 2s Gd—9s Gd. Having these details to work upon, it is necessary to have a book ruled similar to an ordinary Tradesman’s Day-book for dates, items, pounds, shillings, and pence. This book also has an index and wages numbered. The name of each account is put into the index with the number of the folio on which it may be found. In this book the following are the principal accounts I have opened :—An account against each paddock, from No 1 upwards, freehold, buildings, permanent improvements, general expenses, fuel, stable expenses, kiln expenses, horses, blacksmith, cattle, oat crop, chicory crop, &c, and a separate account for the cost of each building in detail, also accounts for each matter that it is necessary to know the cost of work ; done by contract does not go into the time-sheets at all, but is charged in one gross sum when completed. This, I think, will be sufficient bookkeeping for an ordinary farmer, and by this means he can tell to a shilling the cost of every crop he grows, as also the cost cf every operation in detail, such as ploughing, harrowing, reaping, &c. But apart from this, there is another great advantage in keeping a time book —for instance, at the end of the page there is a column for remarks, which, for the purpose of noting down any special matters, is as useful as a diary. Here should be entered such matters as the following :—When a certain horse was taken possession of ; when a cow calved ; when certain important operations are commenced or completed; when produce is delivered to the town ; when goods are received in return. It is also exceedingly useful for the purpose of reference in comparing one year with another, and in watching the progress of certain operations, and comparing the amount of time relatively consumed in carrying out similar operations in different paddocks. To keep a complete set of books it would be necessary to use the following ;—The ledger, journal, cash book, bill book, wages book, delivery book, and wages account book, and letter book. The ledger to contain the grand totals, both Dr and Cr so as to show the balance of profit of all accounts or loss’ accounts, inwards and outwards, assets and liabilities. The journal answers for all goods inwards or outwards; for instance, if I buy one hundred bushels of corn for the horses of Mr Smith, the horses must be charged with the corn they consume, and Mr Smith must have credit for the value of the com supplied. I then make an entry as follows : —96. Stable expenses—Dr to John Smith, £lO. 104 For 100 bushels of oats, 2s, £lO. If I sell Mr Jones, the butcher, 6 head of cattle, I make the following entry —24 W. Jones, Dr to cattle account--£6O. 35 For 6 head of cattle, at 300 s, £9O. The cash book should be a doublepaged book, having double-money columns and a margin for the date on the left-hand side of each page ; all money received should be correctly entered, with the name of payer and date on the left-hand column of the left-hand or Dr side of the book, and when paid into the bank the total amount should be extended into the right-hand column of the same page. The right-hand, or credit page, is devoted to disbursements and checks and bills payable when they fall due. This book should be balanced with the Bank pass-book once a month. Bill book—This is a printed book that can be purchased at any stationer’s, one end being devoted to bills payable, and the other to bills receiveable, with proper spaces for names ot drawers and acceptors, date, time, amount, and due dates. Wages book — For this a small pocket-ledger with index will answer very well Each man's account should be headed with name in full, date of engagement, and rate of wages. In my own employ I used a printed book with duplicate pages ; when a man applies to the manager ioF his account it is filled in like a credit note, with the number of days work from date to date, also rate and amount, and any deductions for cash on account of stores supplied, the one half is torn out and given to the applicant, upon which he can draw his wages, and the butt remains in the book as a permanent record of the transaction, and is entered into the journal once a month. Delivery Book.— This book no person disposing of goods should be without, and saves a vast amount of disputes in business for instance, do you send a grocer a box of butter, you enter it in duplicate to the person you send it stating the date and number of pounds, he receipts the butt of the book, and tears out the duplicate and gives you credit for the value. Invoice Book.—This is a most important book, and saves a large amount of trouble in hunting up accounts which frequently get mislaid. This is a book made of sheets of brown paper and numbered, having an index; lit foot, like a portfolio; on receipt of an Invoice pf account it should be checked over, and, if found correct, pasted on one of the brown paper leaves, folded up, and endorsed with the person s name, date, and amount, and indexed to bis name, and once a month the various amounts should be journalised and placed to the credit of m§ various creditors in the ledger, and the debit of pach account it pwy be found necessary te open. By adopting this system a former on d^X B sail t*h the Hi? indebted-
who might think it worth while to adopt -ny plan of keeping farm accounts, and that is never let the work £?et behind ; the task of filling up the time sheet should be religiously performed every night, and while the events of the day are fresh in the memory, the writing np of the various accounts can be better done once a week, and will not take more than half-an-hour or so according to the number of hands employed, and I trust that should any one do me the honour of thinking these few remarks on farm accounts worth their adoption, that before long they will be able to show me a very great improvement on my system, and should such prove to be the case, I shall be most happy to adopt it, and if I have not succeeded in rendering my ideas sufficiently plain and intelligible, I shall be happy to answer any questions that may be put to me on the subject. Israelites and Agricultural Pursuits. (From the It is with unalloyed pleasure that we in. form the readers of the “ American Israelite that the Council held in the City of New York has, with great unanimity, adopted the following plan of leading our brethren into agricultural pursuits ; The Executive Board of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations was instructed to appoint out of their midst a Committee of Five on Agricultural Pursuits, said committee to solicit donations of land, farming implements and money, and to divide said lands into farms of eighty acres for one family which it can have for tillage free of rent for seven years ; after the expiration of seven years, that family may buy those eighty acres at the price the land was worth when it first settled on the same, and the money received by the Executive Board for the said land shall immediately be re-invested by them for other land and to be given to new settlers on tho same conditions. At the first meeting of the Executive Board the following gentlemen were appointed on that important committee : Hon. Moritz Ellinger of New York ; Hon. Julius Freiberg of Cincinnati; Emanuel Wertheimer of Pittsburgh, Pa. ; Lazarus Silverman of Chicago, and Hon. Simon Wolf of Washington. D. C. The Executive Board instructed that committee to appoint sub-committees in every leading city in the United States, and which they no doubt will do promptly. The fri ends of this great measure will please assistthe committees with advice and donations. Direct your communications to Hon. Moritz Ellinger, New York, or to Lipman Levy, secretary of the Union, Cincinnati, Ohio, who will bring the views before the Committee. All donations of land, farming implements, and money must be deeded to the Union of American Hebrew Congregations, who are the custodians of the trust for the only purpose that it has been given. We appeal to our brethren throughout the length and breadth of the United States to give this important measure their hearty support, not with mere words of encouragement, but with deeds, deeds that will tell and enable the Committee on Agricultural Pursuits to place at least fifty families on fertile land, fully equipped to go to work and become practical farmers, whose success will lead thousands of Israelites into farming pursuits and remove from us the reproach that we are only shopkeepers, consumers and not Producers. There are already 150 families organised in the city of New York ready to go to farming as soon as they receive the aid necessary to give them the start; but, of course, nothing can be done un’il the means are at hand, which we hope that the committees appointed will soon have, for the Israelites are not a people who are appealed to in vain, especially when measures are to be carried into practice giving the poor man a chance to make a living for himself and family as a farmer, inhaling the pure air and seeing the glories of God as they manifest themselves in the vegetable kingdom, kissed by the dew and warmed into life and ripeness by the sun which sweetens existence and urges men on to be grateful to God. and sing His glories in the same spirit as Israel did in Palestine of yore, when they were all farmers, free and independent, making of their land a paradise and their Government the pattern of the future Republic of the world. A new glory awaits the house of Israel; let us by our acts become worthy of it.
Russia and Grain Exportation
Sr. Petersburg, Aug 8.
Reports of the Russian Customs Department show that the export of grain during May was 1,223,500 chetwerts, less than the corresponding period last year, 1,000,000 of this decrease was in wheat and 200,000 in oats. The export of grain for the first five months of the present year was 13,948,579 chetwerts against 18,411,150 chertwerts the corresponding period last year. Three millions chertwerts of this decrease was in wheat. The “Times” says: Russian traders are anticipating a large export of grain during the present month, which combined with the encouragement given by foreign capitalists to a third Oriental loan, has sent np the rouble from 22| upon London to 249-16. Nothing could show more forcibly the enormous resources of Russia after the fearful havoc by drought, hall and grasshoppers ; but, nevertheless, the decrease of grain exports, as compared with the corresponding months of 1878, to the amount of 3,600,000 bushels, is a terrible falling off for a country pos. sessing wheat-growing soil as large as the combined area of France and Austria.
Hystericus Sheep Disease.
(Healdsburg Flag, Aug. 7.)
Michael Young reported last week that his sheep were still dropping off. Some have been cut open and in them found that the small stomach was as dry as a bone, so dry, in fact, that no hope of curing the disease could be entertained. John N. Bailhache lost 1,500 dols. worth of cattle some years ago, with the same symptoms and identically the same affection of the digestive organs, brought on, as was supposed, by their eating the remains of cornstalks that had been chewed up and spill out by hogs. In this case the poison milk-weed theory prevails.
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