It’s hard to believe that August is already here. For those of us on the support team that means it’s time to start thinking about what customers are going to need to know before harvest season starts. Here are 6 simple steps that you can do now in your SMS software before heading out to the field.
1) Create a backup
This is one of the most important steps and is often the one that gets skipped or overlooked. It is critical to make a backup before updating your software or making any big changes in the software. Backups will ensure that you have a starting point to go back to and that you won’t lose your valuable precision ag data if your computer crashes. To make a backup, simply go to Services and Backup/Restore Projects.
2) Update SMS
As new precision ag displays come to market or new firmware is released, display file formats will change. This means you will need to be running the latest version of SMS desktop software in order to read in those files. The current version of SMS Basic/Advanced is Version 14.5. If you have registered online in the past, you can update by going to Help – Check for Updates. Otherwise you can download 14.5 manually from our website.
3) Read in new files
If you plan to send new data to your display, you will need to read in the data you recorded throughout the season first. Once it is read into the management tree you can review the data already logged and make sure the data was properly recorded and organized. If you are planning on exporting hybrids/varieties out to your display for variety tracking, it will be required to read in the planting, or seeding data. To read precision ag display files into SMS Basic/Advanced, go to File – Read Files.
4) Clean up the management tree
We all make mistakes in our displays, whether it’s recording information to the wrong field, logging area while driving down the road, or incorrectly spelling field names. When this happens you will want to clean up the management tree before exporting out to a new display or the existing display. SMS has several tools that will make this easy and painless for you. The three methods I would recommend are Merging Fields, Sorting Loads and Regions into Fields, or Split Load or Region. Once the management tree is cleaned up, it would be good to clean up the unused items. To do this go to Tools, Management Item Editor, and delete the unused items under the Grower/Farm/Field.
5) Export setup information to display
Now that all the data has been read in and cleaned up it is time to send the data back out to your display. In SMS Basic/Advanced, you can export information quickly by clicking on the Device Setup icon on the main toolbar or by going to Tools –Device Setup Utility.
The Spatial Data Setup tab that is referred to in the video above is used to export not only your Variety Tracking information (ie Planting or Seeding), but also Guidance Lines, Obstacles, Prescriptions, and Crop Plans as well.
6) The final backup
Now that you have read in all of your data, made changes to your fields, and cleaned up the management tree it is time to make another backup in case you have any computer issues. Just like before, make another backup through the Services and Backup/Restore option. After the backup is complete I would suggest copying this backup file to an external hard drive or storage outside of your computer. This will ensure that the data is in a safe location and can be restored to any computer if need be.