Thursday June 27th 2013

In this issue

 

  • Fairport turns 25
  • Winetech 2013 - We'll be there
  • Challenges of finite resources
  • What's New?
    • Fairport Data Exchange
    • FieldRex
    • PocketPAM2
    • PAM
    • PDP - Precision Data Processor
  • A day in the life of a modern farmer - PocketPAM2 at work in May 2013

 

Fairport Turns 25

PAM version 1.0 was actually released in August 1989, however the first strike of the keyboard in the development of PAM was in June 1988. 

So much has happened in those 25 years. Apart from all of us getting 25 years older, the growth in technology on farm has been amazing. The power of computers, the birth of the internet and email, precision farming technologies, thanks to the amazing GPS technologies ... handheld devices (Palm to PocketPC to Smartphones)  ... Fairport has been there for the whole journey.  Many of you have been there for the entire trip. We thank you for the loyalty.  

 

Winetech 2013 – We’ll be there!

 

If you’re coming to the Winetech 2013 Expo in Sydney  (Darling Harbour) – July 15 -17 – please drop in and visit us on stand 4820. Check out PocketPAM2, GrapeForecaster  & PAM AusVit. 

 

Challenge of finite resources 

 

    • By 2050 the world population will require 100% more food than we produce today
    • But there’s only 12% more arable land available globally !
    • Analysts project only 5% more land will be cultivated by 2050 
    • Water demand is projected to outstrip water supply by 40% in 2030 
    • Farmers will need to increase food production dramatically … and with less fresh water. 

SOURCES: OECD-FAO, global water supply/demand model; agricultural production based on IFPRI computed general equilibrium model base case; A Daunting Task, Prof. Robert Thompson (2010)

 

So… 70% of the increase in food supply must come from efficiency improving technology. We had better get busy!

 

What’s New? 

 

FDE - The Fairport Data Exchange
The Fairport Data Exchange has been under development for over 6 months and is soon to go ‘live’. We have been testing it in-house for the past month and making more improvements. For more information, please visit the PocketPAM2 web page. 

 

FieldRex

FieldRex was released about a week ago and when the FDE is fully ‘live’ all systems will be ‘go’ – your consulting agronomists will have free use of FieldRex to do your crop scouting and recommendations. More inforamtion can be found on the FieldRex web page 

 

PocketPAM2

Since the beginning of 2013, there have been a total of 30 enhancements made in PocketPAM2. They include a number of useful reports that PAM transfers to the device. With the exception of a few of them, they have all been at the request of the users. Thanks for the feedback.

Almost every week, PocketPAM2 users receive a special PocketPAM2 Newsletter with news of new features. 

Yesterday we commenced a full rewrite of the program. Actually it’s not quite as serious as that. It is really a conversion. As we were releasing PocketPAM2 last year, the development tools we used were undergoing a full revamp to make applications faster and more user-friendly, especially for Android devices. We thought our timing was unfortunate. 

However, with 18 months of history now behind them, the developers of those tools now have made several enhancements and fixed a number of issues. We figure the timing is now perfect for us to make the conversion. The process is not huge. We hope no more than 2 months work. 

 

PAM

 

PAM development never stops. During the past months the following has been added or overhauled:

  • •Backup and Restore – now there are 2 complete backup & restore systems in PAM8. One to use to get PAM 7 data to PAM 8 and the new system which is much faster, for use once PAM 8 is fully set up and you have the PAM 7 data restored.
  • •PAM AusVit – A new phenology stages recording system has been added
  • •PAM – Budgets (and for PAM Enterprise users – Scenarios) – have had a total overhaul this year
  • •PAM – Individual Animal Records – many small enhancements added.
  • •Plans to ‘Actuals’– currently only one actual record can be associated with a planned event. This will soon change so that many actual records can be associated back to a single plan. Many reports will be enhanced as well… to display the plan number. 

 

Colin and Roger flew to Sydney for a day f discussions with one of our larger corporate PAM Enterprise clients in early June.  The result of that day will be a number of really good enhancements to the Livestock Section of PAM. Development of those should get under way very soon and we will make an announcement when it’s all done.

 

PDP - Precision Data Processor

John Deere recently updated their systems that they provide to us for our john Deere interfaces. Those are in the process of being included and will be ready for release soon.

The PAM - Precision Link interface is also under development and will be ready soon. 

 

A day in the life of a Modern Farmer 

PocketPAM2 at work – Early May 2013

“Our mixed farming enterprise is comprised of 6 farms run by a staff of 6. We run 11,000 sheep and  crop 4,000 Ha. Right now we are in the middle of seeding. We have 1 air-seeder (working 24 hours a day), 2 spray rigs and 1 supply truck. 

We operate 7 infield devices running PocketPAM2  (PP2) – 1 Windows tablet, 3 Apple devices and 3 Androids.

My day started 4.50 am this morning filling spray rig 1 from a plan created on PP2 on my Android device yesterday. This plan was built up using a chemical tank mix created some days earlier on my phone. I use a special paddock which we call the “QA Paddock” to create plans. These plans are then sent to the PAM computer (via 3G) for system wide use (that is, to be picked up by all other staff on their devices). 

Just prior to starting the job in the paddock I converted plan to an actual (The plan has remained exactly as it was for future use) and in the process, entered start time and weather conditions (obtained by accessing our DAFWA on farm weather station which is updating a web site every minute, accessed as a short cut next to my Pocket Pam icon on phones home page.) 

During the job I leave PP2 in “Actuals” edit mode on the paddock area selection, and edit worked areas for each paddocks as each one is completed.  At the end of job I reaffirm the chemical batch numbers that have come through from the original plan and let inventory recalculate chemical use from areas covered. Finally I enter in job finish time.

My next job is to journey into town to pick up more chemical as we are awaiting new stock for both spray rigs. I add the new chemicals to inventory complete with batch numbers and other information. I then send the inventory data “To Pam” as it will be required by the spray rig 2 operator. This leaves the spray plans and data on my phone for further editing . 

When the spray rig 2 operator comes in to the chemical shed, he sends his data to PAM via 3g and then retrieves PAM data inventory data (that I sent in earlier).

Meanwhile the shift is changing on the seeder and paddock seeding plans which have been sent from PAM  are being converted and edited to actual seeding operation and areas updated in PP2. One paddock has a new seeding operation added to it as the planned variety has run out part way through. The second section of the paddock with the different variety is directly recorded as an “Actual” along with its own group of consumables and costings automatically generated for this area. This recording is done on a tractor mounted iPad which is used to also run software that monitor air-seeder blockages. The PP2 data is sent back to the office by the seeding manager after he has a quick review of the night shift entries. The iPad sync’s to PAM back in the office via 3g by the operator using his iPhone as a wireless “Hot Spot”.

I returned to my spray rig and as I had some new chemical I open the same plan in PP2 as before to change the batch number assigned in the plan the new batch number for the new chemical saved the updated plan now for future use. I now reopen the adjusted plan and change paddock and consumable’s detail etc.  Convert the plan to an actual and repeat those same steps as I used for the first tank... 

While spraying, the supply truck operator has rung in checking on which variety to load and I look through my inventory on PP2 to find the location and batch number of the seed ready for the seeder.  I pass this information on.

Meanwhile, the stockman has moved some sheep out of the paddock that I am about to spray. He recorded the mob move on PP2 on his phone and sent in immediately to PAM in the office so others have the access to the latest locations of the sheep. He stops me up to ask which silo to move the hydraulic auger into as he has just emptied out a silo on another farm and needs to know the location of the next feed for the livestock.  The information is passed on from the PP2 inventory.

I do a stock take in PP2 to write off the batch numbers for the chemical batch I’d finished earlier and the feed silo finished by my stockman.  I notice that the supply truck driver has also done a stock take to remove the batch numbers from the crop seed system’s pick list. I also noticed that he entered a manual task in PP2 to record that he had cleaned out the truck, auger and silo 

I continue spraying and add in a new weather record against the job as the wind direction has change direction. As the day progresses along I field a call (one of 40 to 50 for the day on my Bluetooth earpiece) from a livestock agent wondering whether the sheep we’d offered for sale were ready . I check my Livestock report in PP2 on my phone and find they still have a few days left of their ESI withholding period from a treatment done some  months ago and determine they need to wait until the next week.

I pull up alongside a fence and check on the pasture and create a recommendation in the FieldRex module in PP2 for the spray rig no 2 to complete tomorrow. The list of paddocks and consumables plus rates are sent by SMS and email as a notification to the staff. They will receive this job prefilled on their smart phones when they sync from Pam to their PP2 devices .

9:40 pm and the Spray rig pulls in the yard. While it’s fuelling I complete last paddocks areas and finish time records. Then sync all PP2 modules into the PAM office computer and do a “fromPam” afterwards to receive data from all other devices synced in during the day. 

Time for bed knowing the office is right up to date and seeder is still out there creating more records.

In Dads day he started with a team of horses, a lantern at night and bags of seed manually lifted. His generation has morphed into this world via open cab tractors and no hydraulics, right up to auto steer tractors and remote in field offices. He just asks –What’s the next few years going to bring. “

 

 

 

 

Coogee Commercial Centre
3/83 Mell Road, (PO Box 7041)
Spearwood, Western Australia, 6163

T: +61-8-9 367 5814

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