Field Plans in Agvance

Field Plans usually represent different applications on a field, so it is likely several plans exist for a field representing a season’s fertilizer/chemical applications. The plans may be summarized for the grower and are available throughout the season to the Blending program for quick order processing.

Setup for Formulation and Pricing

Setup for Product used in Agvance Blending and Products used on Field Plans is relatively the same. Inventory departments must indicate if the products contained within them are nutrient contributors and have the correct scale settings. Each Product to be used in Planning and Blending must also be set up in the Product file from the Hub or Accounting with complete information on the Blend Setup and Pricing tabs. These Products are then grouped into logical Product Sets for the program to formulate from when creating a blend.

Note: Each Product to be used on a Field Plan and in Blending must be set up in the Hub or in Accounting with the Profile, Blend Setup, and Pricing tabs completed.

Inventory Items

Products used to fulfill a requested analysis or Nutrient Recommendation must be in an Inventory Department indicated as a Nutrient Contributor. Completion of the Products’ Blend Setup tab is also required, which includes the Rate/Acre and Blending Units, Nutrient Value, % Water (if this is necessary information), % Clay, blend ratios, and other important factors.

The program uses a least cost method of formulating the Products to be used and quantities of each to satisfy the requested analysis. The cost to use (Average Cost, Last Cost, Replacement Cost, Estimated Average Cost, List Price, or any of the Pricing Levels) is selected on the General tab in the Optimize By area. It is imperative the selected option is set accurately for all the fertilizer Products involved in formulation.

Creating Product Sets

Creating Product Sets is an important part of the Field Plan setup process. This involves grouping fertilizer or other Products (i.e. water, clay, or dry filler) typically used when filling a requested analysis or Nutrient Recommendation.

Note: Chemicals and services should not be included in the Product grid of the Product Set. The Product grid is for fertilizer items only.

For example, when generating a Field Plan, two or three dry Product Sets may exist where the nitrogen source is different because of customer preference or Product prices. There might also be one Product Set with pre-mixed micronutrients and one with the micronutrients listed as separate Products.

Product Sets are Location-specific, so they can be set up to pull inventory from different Locations. Specify the Location using the Product Set in the setup. When creating a Field Plan, only Product Sets for the current Location are available for selection. Also, if a user is restricted from a Location’s Products, that restriction carries through to the Product Sets assigned to those Locations.

Within each Product Set, select which Product to use when making a Field Plan by marking the Product as Active. Indicate for each nutrient in the formulation if it is allowed to run over the requested amount in order to achieve a specific analysis. The Products in the Product Set may also have constraints placed on them as to the amount of a given nutrient they are allowed to contribute to the Field Plan. This may also be used to set a minimum and/or maximum amount of a nutrient a Product supplies.

Important information about the Blending system is entered here and may be different for each Product Set.

The Blending Order (BO) determines the order Products appear on the Field Plan. This reflects the order to load the Products.

Advanced settings related to suspension blends may also be set at the Product Set level.

Location Preferences

Several preferences in Planning allow customizing different aspects of the program. These preference settings may be edited in either the Blending or Planning modules.

Important information about the Blending system is entered on the Blend Setup tab. Scale settings, which determine the accuracy of Product weights and how the Plan handles the Department settings, are defined here. The Quoting Basis for costs on the quotes and the Default Terms to apply may be selected on this tab.

Unhidden Blend Fee Departments may be defined on the Miscellaneous tab. There are also defaults to set the Field Plan Start Date and End Date, options to require a Salesperson ID and Target Pests on the Plans as well as an option to Disallow Multi-Field Blends and Plans.

By using the Document Counters button at the bottom of the screen, the Blend Ticket and Sales Order numbers may be set to number for a company or Location level, and the Last Document Number for each is designated here.

Formulating the Product/Field Plan

The Field Plan is a list of the anticipated Products and services to be used on the Field. Because each Plan usually represents one application, there may be four or five Plans per Field for a season (pre-emergence, post-emergence, plow down, etc.).

A fertilizer Plan may be formulated either by using an existing Nutrient Recommendation from the Field file or by requesting a specific analysis at the time the Plan is created. Another alternative, Direct Request, is to ask for Product by the acre and not use a Nutrient Recommendation or analysis at all.

Generating a Field Plan

Adding prices to the Field Plan can make the resulting Field Plan document a priced quote. The prices that default into the Field Plan come from the Pricing Level specified on the Profile tab of the customer file. If not specified, the List Price for each Product defaults into the Pricing tab.

By double-clicking in the Unit $ column, all Price Levels for the Product become available to select or can be overridden with a new price. If all the prices need to be changed to a particular Pricing Level, double-click on the Unit $ heading allows the Price Level to be selected.

Using one of the pricing options in the upper left-hand corner of the screen allows the pricing to be designated for this Plan and maintained throughout the program. Discounts and information on Billing Splits print on the Field Plan as well.

Least Cost Formulation

Least cost formulation uses a search algorithm to examine all available combinations of Products in the selected Product Set to find the least expensive mix for the company that meets all the specific and implied restrictions. Least cost formulation may find Product combinations that over-formulate individual nutrients to take advantage of less expensive ingredients. Run-over settings on the Product Set are very important.

The only additional information needed by Agvance to effectively use least cost formulation is consistent costing and pricing information. Least cost searches based on any cost or Price Level desired, but every Product used in the Product Set must be accurately priced at the selected cost or list level. A missing cost or price makes a Product overly attractive to the search algorithm and lead to non-optimal results.

If nutrient components are requested that are not represented in the chosen Product Set, a warning appears stating the request could not be filled. Least cost always searches for an exact match of the requested nutrients, subject to the restrictions in place at the time. If no exact match is possible, the program formulates a blend as close to the request as possible with the least number of nutrients running over or under that request. For this reason, it is important that Product Sets be as complete and accurate as possible.

Using the Plans

Related Field Reports

Several reports are available to summarize nutrient recommendations and Field Plans either by Grower/Field or by Product. Throughout the Agvance program, reports may be previewed on the screen before printing.

Tip: Feel free to experiment by running several reports. No posting occurs when Field reports are run.

Break Even Analysis

Beyond the planning step, there is another tool to help the Customer budget Field costs.

In the Agvance Hub, open a Field and view the Budget tab. By putting all known production costs into this area and comparing these costs to projected yields and crop prices, an accurate profit analysis may be generated. This profit and break-even information may be printed out for the Customer.

The easy part of getting input cost for a field comes from the Planning program itself. Field Plans created with pricing information may be imported and combined with other expenses to test various what-if chemical and fertilizer scenarios for profitability.

On to Blending

The Field Plans are available to the Agvance Blending program for quick load out of tickets. The Blending module can start with an existing Field Plan and then generate the Blend Ticket, indicating the number of loads or batches the application requires.

The Blending module can tap into the optional DOT regulatory interface databases, if present on the system, and print required HAZMAT, WPS, or SDS documents as needed. For more information on these programs, contact SSI.

Creating Bookings from Plans

Field Plans may also be used to create Bookings for a Customer. Once a Field Plan is created and saved, it is available to be imported into a Booking in the Accounting module. The Products, quantities, prices, and splits are brought into the Booking exactly as they are shown on the Plan, easing the prepay process. See Bookings for more on this feature.