New Website, User Conference Keynote, "Best Practices" for Livestock Production Centers, Part 2
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 FarmSMART                                                  October 2011 

In this Issue:

New Website

User Conference Keynote 

"Best Practices" for Livestock Production Centers, Part 2


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Harvest time
Harvest time at 1855 55th Avenue.

As harvest winds down here in the heartland, we encourage you to take a quick tour of our October newsletter.  

We've begun posting multimedia presentations from this year's FBS User Conference on YouTube.  

This month's Best Practices article describes how large production systems organize their livestock centers. 

Our Support Q&A answers the question, "What's Sarah been up to lately?"  

Finally, take a few minutes to visit and participate in our new blog site.     


User Conference Keynote Now OnYouTube 

The 2011 FBS User Conference keynoter Joe Dykhuis relates a compelling story of the challenges and rewards from aiming for higher standards in a growing, complex family business.  His presentation is chock full of personal experience and practical advice.  

Joe Dykhuis Keynote
Joe Dykhuis's outstanding keynote presentation is now on the web!

 Now you can experience his full presentation through YouTube and learn about:

  • Why just hearing the "hum of the tires" and the "roar of the engine" is not enough to keep you "out of the ditch." 
  • Why Dykhuis Farms had to radically revamp their information system to allign with their mission statement. 
  • How "piggybacking" increases efficiency and effectiveness. 
  • The exceptionally high standards Dykhuis Farms set for themselves and trading partners. 
  • How they get the right people involved. 
  • How they're fostering a culture of information and accountability.

To view this one-hour video, click on the link below, and let us know what you think! 

How Dykhuis Farms makes quality decisions through quality information
How Dykhuis Farms makes quality decisions through quality information

Apply "Best Practices" to Livestock Production Centers Part 2  

 Editor's noteThis article continues a new series on the "best practices" FBS users have developed to improve effectiveness, efficiency, internal control and compliance from their information system.  

Stages and Farms

Modern, large-scale livestock systems can achieve "best practices" for accessible and meaningful reports and simplified data entry by organizing livestock production centers into a standardized hierarchy based on three levels. Last month we examined the first level--Type--which classifies livestock flows as either Breeding, Group or Continuous Flow. 

This month we "drill down" to the next two levels: Stage and Farm. 

Level II: Stage 

Generally stages represent the phase in an animal's production cycle. Examples built into FBS include:

  • Breeding(Swine or Beef)
  • Nursery
  • Finishing
  • Steers
  • Heifers
  • Mixed (Miscellaneous category)
  • Transfer (Specialized temporary stage)
  • Dairy
    • Dry Stage
    • Transition
    • Lactation
Livestock Center Stages
Figure 1.  Stage setup in the FBS Center screen.

 FBS E.CLIPSE management accounting requires each livestock production center to be associated with a specific Stage in the Center setup screen. (See Figure 1.) These stage settings direct the flow of work-in-process (WIP) costs throughout the production "assembly line." 

Level III: Farm 

All livestock operations--regardless of size--will have one or more production centers associated with Type (Stage I) and Stage (Stage II). However, larger more complex operation require another dimension: Farm. 

"Farms" are identified in most production systems by unique location, ownership and occasionally stage. Farms are often associated with contract growers. 

So for accurate accounting and meaningful analysis, you must create livestock production center (farms) for every combination of stage and grower/owner. For example, if a grower owns both a nursery and a finisher two production centers are required since they represent different production stages. Livestock centers, though, don't have to be defined for each physical location (barns, floors or rooms) since that level of detail is tracked through FBS Location codes (which we'll cover later.) 

Large livestock producers have developed various best practices for accessing and reporting their companies' stages and farms. Here are several real-life examples. 

Livestock Center Example 3
Figure 2. Three-digit system where nursery centers begin with "2," finishers with "4," and wean-finish with"5."


Livestock Centers Example 2
Figure 3. Alpha codes represent grower names. Breeding centers begin with "2," Nursery with "1" and finishing with "3."


Livestock Center Example 3
Figure 4. The fourth digit (1) identifies breeding centers in this company.

 Regardless of how you arrange your farms and stages in your center list, make sure you follow these "best practices:" 

1. Use the same number of characters for all livestock production center codes.

2. To expedite data entry and reporting don't make the codes any longer or more complicated than necessary.

3. Use one of those characters to designate the stage.

4. This standardized approach will allow the use of "wild cards" for filtering reports by stage.  In Figure 2, finishers can be selected by entering "4??."  Nurseries can be retrieved in Figure 3 by entering "1???." 

Next time we'll begin covering best practices for support centers. 

Visited Our Website Yet?
FBS Systems Home PageThere's a wealth of timely information waiting your inspection at our new website. Check them out now by clicking on the image or any of the links below.

To start your tour, click on the image above. 

Leave comments or suggestions regarding our website.

Q&A of the Month--Where's Sarah? 
Sarah Dixon
Sarah Dixon, FBS Technical Services Manager.

Q.  When I've contacted FBS Support this month I discovered that Sarah's not at her desk.  What's up?  

A.  On October 17, Sarah gave birth to Keeghan Jean.  She's welcomed by her proud big sisters (see below).
  1. While Sarah's out on maternity leave, Paul Hey and Cheryl Brown will be your primary support contacts (backed up by the entire FBS staff).   
  2. Sarah will be back in time to help you start your new year in January. 
  3. The Q&A section will return next month.
Sarah's girls
Our Support Department expands!


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