This is the GAPAC FieldRecon™
For the Ag
Renaissance FieldRecon page, go to http://www.fieldrecon.com
Version 6 is ready
for use in 2006
|FieldRecon™, How to make it work for you and your
Why you need it.
Have you ever wondered how there might be a better way to keep up with the
huge amount of paper files we generate over the course of a season?
From insect counts, planting dates, crop stage and maturity, spray dates,
weed history, fertility records, and others, it can get pretty hard get
our hands all the data we need to give good consulting advice. Sort
through paper, files, or notebooks, or relying on a grower to tell
us, or to remember ourselves, retrieving this needed information is
difficult and can be slow.
Under the guidance of the GAPAC, both through a lot of
emails, faxes, phone conversations, and a couple of sessions at our Annual
Krueger, of AgRenaissance Software LLC
has developed such a program. The GAPAC voted to pursue the
development and funding of the project at our business meeting on February
21, 2002. FieldRecon™ is being designed from the ground up to
benefit the consultant and the grower. Data entry, with a little
training and practice, should be competitive with the amount of time that
hand written records require. If a candy vendor in his
step-van delivery truck generates computer invoices for his customers, we
professional consultants can do the same for our farmer clients.
How you can use it.
For example, if a grower has
sixty fields, FieldRecon™ can print him a report of the data from all his fields
from the most recent scout trip; next, if he needs to spray, FieldRecon™
can produce a
second report that includes just the ten fields where with recommended
insecticide applications. Other examples: With the click of
the touchpad (mouse) see what week of bloom any given field is in,
produce a season history of any given field, or to see how many times you have sprayed a given
field, variety, weed history, and more. The time required for
data entry should not be greater than that need for writing, provided, of
course, that you have at least a working level of keyboard and computer
skills; otherwise, be careful before you invest too much.
Pocket Recon... This really speeds up scout data
communication. Data entry time requirements are competitive with
paper, but the flow is so much faster. Sync with your laptop, and
you have all their data ready for a review and a report. You know
what time a field was done, who did it, whey they f
Updates Link From the password protected area
of the Field Recon web site there is the latest program
There is also an Optional Sample Database from Carl
Hobbs data on two growers whose names have been changed to protect
AgRenaissance Software LLC
877-518-8030 to obtain a user id and password.
PIV (1.5 GMHZ PIII okay, but the more the better)
or equivalent. FieldRecon™ will run on less. Most
people think they have to have the PIV-M, or Mobile Pentium
processor. This is good, as it drains the batter slower, and is
more compact, making the size of the notebook and its cooling fans
smaller. To me, this is no big deal, as the regular PIV is a
cheaper processor, the jotto desk keeps the notebook secure since I
don't move it around much, and the power inverter eliminates the need
for me to worry about battery life.
Avoid any unit with Windows ME. Windows 2000 or
Windows XP better.
Gig Hard Drive, 40 better.
MB RAM ! 128 probably good enough 512 better.
16 Meg Video Card, 32 better.
SXGA Display; HPA is okay, but not as easy to read in
CD RW recommended over DVD to make backups easier. DVD
would, however, give you the advantage of being able to let your
children watch a movie while riding. DVD? Well, many
laptops have combination, or multi function CD drives, capable of
reading CD's, recording/rewriting CD's, and playing DVD's. While
this is really pretty neat and cool, if they're like mine, they may do
all that, but they don't do any of it as fast, especially reading
a GREY laptop instead of black, as it will run cooler.
Get an extended warranty! They usually run about $200
to extend the warranty from one year to three.
Add Microsoft Office Software, at least the Small
Business Edition; the Professional Edition contains Power Point and
Access, and runs about $200 more.
Add an Ethernet card instead of RW CD ROM, then add
(if you don't have) an ethernet card to your desktop at home.
When you get home at night, bring in the laptop, plug into the
ethernet network cable, and copy your files to the desktop.
Go to Dell's Website
and configure a notebook system to meet what you need.
Bottom feed inkjet printer
Top feed would be
okay, but paper would get blown and absorb more moisture. Do what you
have to do to mount the printer level on the console or seat, while
still making it secure. I use a small shelf board and a bungee
cord. Get a box or something to take paper with you. Use good
quality inkjet paper. Store it flat in the truck! Take only a 2 - 3 day
supply, to keep it fresh and crisp. This will cut down on paper jams.
Consider the number of pages per minute a printer can print and price of
ink refills; usually the cheaper the printer, the higher priced the
cartridges are and the slower the output. If you have to wait two
minutes for five pages of reports to print instead of one minute, it can
make a big difference in time in getting around to all your growers. I
am not afraid to print while the truck is moving. Keep spare cartridges
with you; canned air for emergency cleaning is another good idea.
You will probably, in all honesty, have more printer problems than
NOTE: The printer
must be level to print and feed paper. I had to shim mine up with
a small block of wood. Also, crank the engine, THEN start the print job,
as the cranking can cause a power drain from the inverter to the printer
and make the computer and printer lose communcation.
1-877-455-6886. They make units that are fixed pedestal mounts
that mount directly to floorboard or bolt to your seat brackets.
The basic unit I use the model 5167, about $156. The mast is
removable from the floor mount and adjustable for either driver
and passenger to use comfortably.
You need a power
inverter to convert 12V DC to 110 AC. The more wattage the better, but
400 Watts should power the printer fine. Better yet, get a 2-plug
unit, one for laptop and one for printer. Sometimes when I start a print job, then
crank the truck, I lose power, so crank the truck, then start your print
job, or leave it off until done. A 2-plug unit (400 watt) should
cost about $60; look for them in the car stereo area or in the Camping
and RV Accessories area of the major discount stores. Be sure cooling fan has
ventilation and that unit sits flat. I RECOMMEND DIRECT WIRING TO
I have made extensive use of Compact Flash Cards for easy
data backup and fast transfer of large files, much more efficient than
CD-R's. You need:
A Compact Flash (CF) card, 128 MB or better.
A PC to CF adapter, that allows you to use the PCMCIA slot
on your notebook for writing to the CF card.
A USB Card reader for your desktop, either a "multi
card" or CF reader. This way, you can rapidly move data files
from machine to machine.
Other hints to keep the laptop running cool:
Always park with the windshield away from the sun.
Leave windows down for inproved ventillation.
Leave the hinged display up.
Consider a GREY laptop instead of black.
If the computer gets too hot, crank up, turn on the air
conditioning, and cool it down before trying to use.