Farm surveying is defined as the process of measuring and mapping out the position, topography, size and boundary of an area of farmland. It can also be defined as the process by which measuring of land is made on the farm. Such measurements by tables, plans or layout are done for specific purposes.



Reasons why farm surveying is important include the following:

  1. Determination of size of farmland: Farm survey helps to determine the size or hectarage of farmland.
  2. For feasibility studies: Farm survey is also important or useful for the preparation of feasibility studies.
  3. Proper use of farmland: Farm survey enables farmers to make proper use of the land.
  4. Location of farm buildings: Farmers can determine where to site and locate certain buildings or structures in the farm.
  5. Planning of farmstead: Farm maps or soil maps are useful in planning the farmstead.
  6. For soil classification: Characteristics and features of the various soil units are used for soil classification.
  7. Projection of yield: The yield or productivity of farmland can be projected.
  8. For collateral security: Results of farm survey can be used as collateral for securing loan from financial institutions.
  9. Acquisition of certificate of occupancy (C of O): Farm survey facilitates acquisition of certificate of occupancy (C of O).
  10. Determination of gradient of farmland: Farm survey also helps to determine the gradients of the farmland.
  11. Construction of roads: Road and others access ways can be constructed with the knowledge derived from surveying.



Some common surveying equipment or instruments are:

  1. ranging pole.
  2. gunter’s chain.
  3. measuring tape.
  4. prismatic compass.
  5. theodolite.
  6. arrows or pin.
  7. offset staff.
  8. beacons or pillars.

1) Ranging Pole

  • Ranging pole is made of wood or metal.
  • It is of varying lengths e.g ., 1.8m, 2.4m or 3.0m.
  • It is generally circular in section, though some octagonal types are obtainable.
  • It is usually painted black, bright red and white to enable it to be seen from a distance.
  • It has a pointed end.


  • It is used for marking stations.
  • It is also used for making straight lines.


2) Gunter’s Chain 

  • It consists of a series of dumb bell shaped links of steel wires joined together by three small rings.
  • One Gunter’s chain is normally 20.13m (66ft) in length.
  • It has brass handles at either side.
  • It is divided into 100 links so that each link is 19.8cm or 7.92 ins.
  • A link is the distance from the middle of the central ring to the middle of the next central ring.
  • The chain is entirely metallic.

Precautions To Be Taken When Chaining a Farmland

  • Pull taut chains, tapes or ropes.
  • Avoid errors of transposing figures on papers.
  • Equipment such as theodolite should be placed on a perfect horizontal plane.
  • All chains, tapes, ropes, etc must be properly aligned before taking measurement.
  • Avoid error of parallax when reading measurements.
  • Make sure the chain is not faulty before use.


  • It is used in taking short or detailed measurement of length and breadth.


3) Measuring Tape

  • It is usually made of linen or fine steel sheet.
  • It is usually marked on one side with metric units and the other side with the imperial unit.
  • The tape is of various types and lengths.
  • The tape is normally wound in a small case from where it is unwound for use.


  • It is used for taking measurement of length, breadth and height.


4) Prismatic Compass

  • It is normally placed on a stand.
  • It has a prism.
  • It has a compass card marked in degrees, half degrees, minutes and seconds, in a clockwise direction.
  • It has a straight slot.


  • It is used in taking bearings. It is also used in measuring angular distances.


5) Theodolite

  • It consists of a tripod stand, made of wood or lightweight metal in solid or telescopic legs.
  • The tripod stand forms the base of the instrument.
  • It has a lower plate which contains the graduated horizontal circle made of glass or brass.
  • It has a spirit level which is used to define horizontal plain against which angles of the elevation or depression are measured.


  • It is used to measure horizontal or vertical angles or planes.


6) Arrow or Pin

  • This is thin pointed steel wires of about 30cm long with one end curved into a ring.
  • A red cloth is normally attached to the ring so that it can be seen from afar.


  • It is used during chaining for marking off chain lengths as measured.
  • It can also be used for marking stations.


7) Offset Staff

  • This is a graduated rod-3m long.
  • A hook may be fitted at the top for the purpose of pulling a chain through a hedge.
  • Each telescopic link is 0.3m (30cm) in length.


  • It is used for taking short offset measurements.


8) Beacon or Pillar 

  • It is made of rectangular block usually in concrete form.
  • Marks are usually inscribed on top of the block.
  • The beacons are always buried in the ground with marked head raised a little above the ground.


  • It is used for marking off points measured.
  • It is also used for the recognition of the measured or surveyed area.


General Maintenance of Surveying Instruments

  • All instruments must be clean after use.
  • Keep instruments in dry and cool places.
  • Those with metal parts should be oiled or greased or painted before they are put away for a long time.
  • Keep instruments away from heat and rain to prevent damage and rusting respectively.
  • Replace worn-out parts.
  • Use instruments only for the intended functions.
  • Let competent surveyor handle and use the instruments only or as he may direct.



Farm planning is a drawing or outline of a farmstead. It also involves the proper land use planning, i.e ., putting the land into use for which it is best suited without the risk of land degradation.


Importance of Farm Planning

  • It enables the farmer to make proper use of the land.
  • It also ensures the proper siting of certain buildings or structures in certain locations within the farmstead.
  • It ensures the location of livestock buildings in relation to other farm buildings.
  • It promotes the neatness and prevents pollution within the farmstead.



Farmstead can be defined as a farm house and all its production and processing structures. A farmstead is both a home and a production centre. In other words, a farmstead is the farmer’s dwelling place and production centre. Its planning is based on the system of farm, and on the need and comfort of the farmer’s family.


Factors Influencing the Siting of Farms or Farmstead

In planning a farmstead, the following factors must be considered.

1) Topography

  • Topography determines the location of farm buildings and structures.
  • Farm buildings or living quarters are usually located on high elevations for proper viewing of the farm.
  • Animal quarters should be located far from the staff living quarters.
  • Locate crops such as vegetables on low lying areas where moisture content is high.
  • Fish ponds are located on sloppy grounds
  • Irrigation farms are best sited on flat grounds.


2) Soil type

  • Crop farms are sited on soils that are fertile.
  • Pastures are sited on less fertile soils.
  • Farms buildings and structures are best located on poor soils.
  • Farm roads are best constructed on well drained poor soils.


3) Accessibility

  • Locate facilities within walking distance.
  • Provide good roads to facilitate the transportation of farm inputs.
  • Ensure easy accessibility and evacuation of farm produce.
  • Good accessibility makes marketing of farm produce possible.


4) Water supply

  • Adequate water supply is needed for human and animal use.
  • Livestock structures should be located close to source of water supply for easy cleaning.
  • Water is required for irrigation purposes.


5) Health / Hygiene

  • Erect livestock units against wind direction.
  • Locate animal units far away from human residential houses to avoid health hazards.


6) Nearness to Market

  • Nearness to market reduces distribution or transport cost.
  • It exposes products to many buyers.
  • It reduces the need for farm storage facilities.


7) Drainage

  • Adequate drainage is important to avoid water-logging.
  • Gentle slope facilitates proper drainage.
  • Good drainage makes movement easier within the farm.


Reasons for planning a farmstead

  • It allows for proper utilization of resources without wastage.
  • It makes the farmer to be more responsive to market demand.
  • It encourages efficiency of farm activities.
  • It makes coordination and control of farm operations easier.



Some specific principles are required for farmstead layout and these include:

  1. Plant crops on the best soil within the farm.
  2. Livestock buildings should be located on the poorest soil within the farm.
  3. Buildings should be located in easily accessible areas.
  4. Farm building should not be located on slopes to avoid erosion.
  5. Residential and office buildings should be located far away from livestock building to avoid the noise and unpleasant odour from farm animals’ wastes and dungs.

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