Farmers face many challenges. One of them is managing their labour force during tough economic times and increasing wages.

HOURLY RATE R14.25 2015/16: R13.37
WEEKLY RATE R641.32 2015/16: R601.61
MONTHLY RATE R2 778.83 2015/16: R2 606.78
DAILY WAGE R128.26 2015/16: R120.32

for a farm worker working nine hours per day

With the continued rise in wages, it has become of utmost importance that farmers, especially those with large workforces, must monitor the productivity of their employees accurately and keep track of labour-related costs.

For this reason, many of South Africa’s most successful farming businesses have turned to Time Management Solutions (TMS) to electronically record all labour costs. TMS is a product of Farm Costing Solutions, a South African-based company offering a one-stop solution to easily record and manage all costs on a farm.


The TMS system is an easy-to-use, time saving means to electronically record and budget for labour-related costs. Farm workers are issued with a ‘tag’ that they swipe against a portable reader device when they arrive at work and leave in the evening. In this way the number of hours worked are accurately monitored.

TMS is also ideal to record piece work. Workers swipe their ‘tags’ against a portable ‘reader’ when they have completed a specific task. The system then automatically calculates each worker’s wages based on the work they have completed, for example, how many bags of oranges were picked during that day per orchard.

This information is easily available and the system interfaces with various payroll systems, such as VIP, Donkerhoek Data and FCS’s own Crest Payroll. Additionally, reports are easily accessible for absenteeism, lateness, short time, overtime, daily hours and weekly hours.

The TMS system offers the following benefits:

  • Measuring of productivity per employee/ team/farm
  • Significantly decreases payroll processing time and administration work
  • Saves costs through accurate monitoring
  • Can be used as evidence in disciplinary hearings
  • Leads to a more effective and efficient workforce
  • Statistics and data are instantly available
  • It is user friendly for the farm workers
  • Customised for individual farmer needs
  • Has a readily available support system of trained specialists
  • Pays for itself by cost savings – excellent return on investment


ANTON MULLER, FROM LABORIE BOERDERY, in Letsitele in Limpopo Province, says: “Wage increases, economic pressures and the current drought make it an absolute necessity to have a system like TMS in place that would manage labour as effectively as possible.” Anton manages the citrus side of the Muller Family Trust and his cousin, MICHAEL MULLER, is in charge of avocado farming on Doornfontein in Polizi. On the citrus side they employ 30 permanent workers and 70 seasonal workers and between 12 and 20 workers for the vegetables. Michael employs 70 permanent workers and 120 during the season. This huge labour force during a long season that stretches from March to November made it a necessity to monitor all labour related costs and productivity.

They started to use TMS almost two years ago. “The system has paid for itself within five months,” says Anton. “We are managing our labour much more effectively and are in total control of all labour costs.” He added that TMS is not only about labour – the many software packages make it possible to improve the entire farm management.
MALAN GROWERS, from the Patensie region in the Eastern Cape, have been using TMS for about 3 years. They farm with cucumber and brinjal (6 hectares in greenhouses) as well as citrus. They employ 160 permanent workers. This large workforce and the demands of intensive farming is a huge challenge. HILDE MALAN, production manager, says that since they have implemented TMS, most of their headaches have disappeared. Stricter control over their workforce has resulted in an increase in productivity. The accuracy of the system takes a huge load off the shoulders of administration staff. She wholeheartedly recommends the system and emphasises the exceptional after-sales service that is available, often at the most impossible times.

“I needed something to accurately measure the productivity of my labour force, which has become one of the biggest costs on the farm,” says ADRIAN WALTON, owner of the LUPUS DEN citrus farm in South Africa’s Eastern Cape Province. Walton has greatly increased the productivity of his business after implementing TMS. Minister Oliphant said on 3 February 2016: “Wage adjustments are morally right so as to ensure that workers’ earnings keep pace with the rising cost of living while boosting the purchasing power which benefits the economy.” Most farmers accept the fact that they must provide sustainable jobs where hard work is rewarded. This would provide the worker with dignity and set him or her up on a ladder to a better life.


In reality not all workers are equally motivated and it is difficult to monitor the productivity. For accurate monitoring and motivation, TMS is invaluable, especially in these demanding economic times.

For more information about how your business can benefit from TMS, contact Val Harker at: Landline: +27 (0)21 556 2561 Cellphone: +27 (0)82 518 2300 Email: