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FAQ

Field Track FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Use this section to help answer some of your most frequently asked questions about Field Track. If your question is not on this site, please use the Field Track User Club support forum, or the support query form to ask your questions. You can review the help file online at: Online Help File

Why is Field Track so cheap?
Many people do indeed ask this question and the answer is quite simple and to your advantage.

Field Track was designed many years ago for our own farm. Several versions and requests later I personally decided to 'tidy' it up and make Field Track available to farmers, as I considered (and still do) that most farming software is expensive and written with little passion to the needs of the user. A computer user requires a fast and robust way to record information. Complex, or over simplified products are still available today and many are marketed extremely well.

Field Track could easily be priced at several hundred pounds, however then I would have to market the product to warrant the high price. This gets you into a catch-22 situation. The more you spend on marketing, the more your costs become.

I use and consider Field Track extremely good at the task it does and if it cannot sell on these merits alone and provide you, the farmer, with just what you want then I would need to spend money on marketing, which defeats why I decided to share our arable recording solution with you in the first place.

As farmers ourselves I would no more go out and spend 800 on something I could probably do in a spreadsheet than the next man. The truth is crop recording is quite simple to do on paper, so it is a bit of a con to say it is easier with a computer. This is where Field Track started from. It was designed to be better than pen and paper. The reality is that this feat alone is easier said than realised, as I'm sure many a computer user maybe aware. What Field Track does is quite complex from a development point of view but is was designed from my personal needs and requirements, which makes it quite a unique product. Field Track was not designed out of a book, or followed some development giude. No, Field Track was created and written by a working farmer with a bunch of farmer friends chipping in making sure it did what it was supposed to and did it well! Field Track was designed with a true passion for record keeping and computers. Making money from it would be welcome but was not actually why it was created.

If you want to see what a true appreciation of computers provides then give Field Track a try, as the farmers that went into creating Field Track certainly deserve it.

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Upgrading Field Track
Depending which version of Windows you are using, upgrading from an older version of Field Track can be a little involved.

Field Track 2.x can only effectively upgrade from version 1.17.20 Field Track files, so it important that you were at least on version 1.17.20 of any previous version and this version has at least being run once. Version 1.17.20 can be downloaded from the Support - Download page.

To convert your old MS Access data files to the new 2.x version of Field Track, the Windows OS must have the MDAC (ADO) system files installed. Windows XP comes with these files pre-installed, so if you are using XP the MDAC installation file is not required. All other versions of Windows will require a MDAC install file to be run before upgrading to Field Track 2.x. These files are available on all Field Track CD's, or can be downloaded from Microsoft MDAC 2.7 Files. You can also pre-test your machine to see if MDAC/ADO is installed by running this file: ADO Test Program (42Kb).

When Field Track runs for the first time it will detect you have no data and will offer an upgrade option, which will require selecting and then Field Track will ask for the location of your previous Field Track installation. These steps are detailed in the provided help file, or in the online help mirror.

The upgrade process does not affect your old Field Track files, as it a completely separate program. Any problems with the upgrade thus can be corrected and attempted later. Common problems with the upgrade process are no MDAC/ADO system files installed, or corrupted MS Access database files from your old Field Track version.

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Checking for updates & news
Field Track includes its own upgrade system, where it will check the Internet for new releases, inform you of the changes and then download and install the latest version for you. You can also check the Internet for the latest news about Field Track from within Field Track itself using the available options in the "Help" menu.

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Setting up email to work in Field Track
Field Track uses something called an SMTP server to send email back to Co-ordinated Computer Integration, for purposes of feedback email, or registration details when you purchase Field Track.
 

A "SMTP" server is your ISP's outgoing email server and Field Track will require to know this server's name before it can send registration details, or emails. Your ISP and email client software will know this server name and you can use the provided help file, or online help mirror to assist in finding the server's name for your ISP. Review the help section "Configuration" to find information about your "Email Settings".

Should you change your ISP (Internet Provider) you will need to change the SMTP server address within Field Track to re-enable its email abilities.

If you use the Field Track Registration/Email functions, then Field Track will also require access permission through your Internet firewall.

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How do I register Field Track?
Field Track can be registered online through the “Help” - “Registration/Account” menu option. Enter your details here and Field Track will create, or update your details at the central Field Track user database. Once you purchase a specific licence logging on here will update your licence within Field Track. All new licences are lifetime licences and work on all your computers.

All Field Track updates are free, so existing customers upgrading to the latest 2.x version of Field Track simply need to send in their registration details with a short note detailing their account details (this can be in the registration information of course.)

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Some features do not work?
Several key features will only work if you are using the "Professional" version of Field Track. Development costs a lot in time and money. For an extra cost you can gain better features through the “Professional” version of Field Track.

You can buy either Field Track “Client”, or "Professional". If you decide to upgrade at a later stage you will require the purchase the “Professional” upgrade.

Please review the help file to see what extra features and services are available with the Field Track ”Professional".

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How do I create part fields?
You can simply 'Add' another field and give it a field name similar to that used in the original field you are trying to split. You will also need to change original field's cropped area figures to match the remaining area after the field split. To keep cropping histories correct you may also want to change the part field's "Base Field" number to that of the original field.

Field Track also offers a split field creation process under the "Records" - "Create Split Field" menu option, where it corrects the original field's cropped area, as well as uses the correct "Base Field" number.

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How does stock control work?
How stock control works is covered extensively in the help file provided by Field Track. It is also beyond the scope of this FAQ to cover it in great detail.

The Field Track stock control system is a simple idea in a complex user environment. Stock, as a whole, is in 4 parts:
Product
Stock Link
Stock Item
Stock Inventory

The "Product" holds the information for the product. The "Stock Item" is an item of stock, so can be the same name as a "Product", or something named differently. "Stock Item" holds the stock levels and current price. The "Stock Inventory" is a list of purchases and sales, which then create a stock level and average price. The "Stock Link" simply links a "Product" to a "Stock Item". The idea of the "Stock Link" is so you can link a single "Product" to more than one "Stock Item". "Stock Items" can thus be based on a store location and/or a specific name. For example one "Product" can thus be link many different stock item names (difficult product names). In this latter example a single chemical product can have many different brand names (Stock Items).

Using stock control is simpler than it first appears. Create your "Product" in your product database. This can be used regardless of stock control, so the use of stock control is up to the individual and can be used on an individual basis. To engage stock control, simply link the "Product" to a "Stock Item. A "Product" can be linked to an unlimited number of "Stock Items". When applying a multiple linked "Product", Field Track will ask which "Link" to use.

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Stock levels do not alter after an application?
This is a common feature people overlook. The stock system uses the Stock Item's "Roll-Up/Close Date" to only affect records in that season, or time frame. When a stock item is created it is given the computer's current date and time, which will probably be after the application date and time. When you create a Stock Item be sure to make its date and time before the application's.

The Stock Item's "Roll-Up/Close Date" can be edited at any time and the figures recalculated.

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What is the 'Opening Balance' in a Stock Item?
When you create a new Stock Item the opening balance and total cost are semi irrelevant. As long as neither one has an entry they will be ignored. If Field Track complains that the balances need entering it is because one, or the other has an entry and if one figure is entered, the other is also required. Clearing both will not present a request.

The opening figures are mainly used when you close a stock item, which clears your purchase and sales inventory ready for the new season of stock. Any remaining stock will be entered into the opening balances. A new Stock Item generally will not have any opening balance, however you can enter them if you so wish.

An opening balance does not always mean you need to enter what is in your shed. For example you create a Stock Item for the Nitram currently residing in your shed. You do not enter this as an opening balance. The opening balance remains blank and you enter a "Purchase" to account for the Nitram.

The Stock item's opening balance does, however, provide an area to tweak the figures should you require to do so.

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How does 'Main Income' work?
The latest version of Field Track has implemented a far better way for Main Income to calculate your income when you have a shed full of grain and no direct way to allocate this to a field.
 

By default Main Income is based on the field's area, as a field area will exist. You can change this in your "Configuration" settings to "Yield Based" "Yield Based" will mean the field's income will vary depending on your yield records. "Area Based" will give all fields the same income/area.
 

Main Income is very simple to understand. Your Main Income list is NOT field specific and will always display sales as per the "Sales Crop" type. For example, regardless of the field you are looking at the Main Income list will always show, for example, your sales of "Feed Wheat". This list is for all the sales and are not specific to that field.

Main Income works on the prinicple that you have, for example, 1000 tonnes of wheat in the shed and several wheat fields. As you sell this wheat you can allocate income to all your fields marked with a "Sales Crop" type relative to the wheat in the shed. E.g. "Feed Wheat".

Field Track takes the total income of your sales, e.g., 36,000. It then either takes the total area, or total yield for the fields with a matching "Sales Crop" type. For each field it deduces what percentage the field is of the total area, or yield and then allocates that percentage of the total sale value to that field. For example, if field X's yield is 10% of the total yield for "Feed Wheat" then field X gets 10% of the total sale value (10% of 36,000). The result means that your incomes will always balance regardless of incorrect yield entries. It also means that the field's income will be better understood than previous versions of Field Track.

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