Feedback after my first 2 months. Questions and suggestions

I have been using farmOS for a little over 2 months now. I have most of my old records imported into the system and have been using it daily during the slow winter months to be ready for the summer busy season.

For context, I run a relatively small, diversified livestock farm where all animals rotate on pasture with a few perennial orchard crops. I am running farmOS 7.x.1.x.dev on a shared hosting site.

First, WOW! Thank you to everyone who has put their time into this program. I have been looking for this for years. I’ve tried paper records, spreadsheets, and even building a database system and was never happy with the results. It was never easy to extract out important information in any of these systems. I feel farmOS is exactly what I was looking for.

I have been keeping a list of issues/ideas/questions as I have been using it. This is all my feedback on the system so far.

  1. Having the ability to flag seems like a nice idea, but there is not a great way that I can find to view these flags. Once a log is flagged unless I filter for this and search through logs, it goes away. It would be nice to see these flags show up in a prominent place in their own section on the dashboard, or maybe 3 sections (one for each type of flag).

  2. In general is there a way to display more than 50 assets/logs at once in a list by default? Or more than 25 by default while inside a log and choosing an asset? Sometimes these limits make it difficult to find what I’m looking for without going through multiple pages.

  3. I briefly mentioned in another post adding categories/assets/locations in bulk to multiple logs at once. I initially wanted this for when I bulk import old logs into the system. I was able to remove these and re-import them with the proper tags. I now find if i’m in a hurry in the field I may forget to add categories or assets to a log. When I get back in front of a computer to look at them later I notice that I need to add these in and now need to open each log individually to do this. It is a lot of extra time. I also worry that farm help (who is less familiar with the system) will not be adding these categories/assets/locations to their logs. This would just speed up the process of fixing these logs.

  4. Speaking of importing logs: this is a wonderful feature to have and it’s great that you can bulk delete the imports when something goes wrong, however I found when you delete an import it deletes all the imports of that log type you have ever done, not just the most recent one. Was this intentional or is there a way to select only to delete the most recent import?

  5. When looking at an area, you can see when previous assets arrived, but can’t easily see when they left. When I rotate animals, both these dates are important. I want to make sure I stay off an area long enough for parasite concerns, and I also want to know how long I can expect animals to stay in that paddock on average. Having arrived and departed dates displayed would be better for these purposes.

  6. On a similar note, having a general timer function would be nice. I have seen posts before about linking two logs together for different purposes, i.e., “pig was bred” linked to “pig gave birth” log. These linked together with a timer that calculated the days between the logs would be great. This would help for tracking gestation time, weaning time, lifespan, days on a single paddock, growing time of a seedling or planting. Or, even an open ended time it has been X days since “my pig was bred” and once it gives birth, I can stop that timer. This was touched on a bit in drupal.org/project/farm/issues/2630218, but I think this can be implemented more generally to extract more info than just asset life span. I envision this as timers being their own tab inside a log similar to quantity, inventory, files, etc. Maybe timers are there own asset type? In the timer tab, any log could create or end multiple timers. Maybe there is an option for a count down or count up timer. This leaves huge flexibility on how the timers can be used.

  7. There has been some documentation I have seen where you can input and monitor animal weights. The only pace I can see adding a weight is actually editing the animal itself. Then it looks like “farmos/farm/asset/1/weight” should give a weight report of some sort but this does not actually go anywhere. Maybe this is a dev issue?

  8. The quantity tab in the dashboard is a nice start. Very easy to find the data I’m looking for, but doing some simple calculations and/or graphing would be nice. For example, I can see eggs collected for a certain time frame, but no easy way without exporting the data to show total eggs collected over that time frame. This feature would be able to show a comparison between eggs collected and feed inputted. Looks like graphing is available for sensor data, hopefully this functionality can be brought over to quantities.

  9. The ability to add quantities in a health log would be wonderful. Currently when I do a health check on my animal I take them through a sorting system one at a time. They get weighed, then we do body condition scoring, hoof scoring/trimming, some worm load counts and any medications/treatments/supplements they need. I think I can modify most of these items to be a quantity of sorts. These are all items I want to monitor over time so I can make breeding/culling/future health decisions. I currently have to add these items in the notes section which makes it hard to view over time.

  10. Possibly a bug, when I clone a log with a non-integer quantity value it gets rounded off to an integer!

  11. I sell hogs by wholes, halves, or process to sell cut-by-cut as retail. Each piglet is put in as its own asset when it is born, but I have not been able to find a way to keep track of which ones have been pre-sold as wholes or halves and which ones I want to keep for cuts, or how many I have left to pre-sell. For now this is one of the few logs I keep outside of farmOS. Anyone have a solution to this?

  12. Most of my tasks are repeated daily with little changes, ie. collect eggs, feed pigs, feed chickens, etc. The quantities usually change, but everything else about the log stays the same. Every morning I clone all the tasks I think I need for the day then modify them as I do them. I think adding a “schedule” feature has been discussed elsewhere. This could be a great use for QR codes, NFC tags, or even barcodes in the field kit. Whenever I go to my egg collecting trays I can scan a QR code and it comes up with my pre filled out egg harvest log, or I scan the barcode on a feed bag and it comes with the input log for my chickens.

  13. There was discussion on the last monthly call about the field kit showing update stats when you upload logs. How about the ability to auto sync if connected to wifi? This may be overly complicated, but then the field kit would always be synced for the day’s work. I find myself out in the field and forgot to sync the field kit in the morning.

  14. An issue with the field kit? If I ask it to “use my location” for the location it always shows “No other areas nearby”. I have tried it all over my farm with no luck getting it to find a location.

  15. As far as ease of use, the field kit makes it real easy to add categories with all the categories laid out in buttons as opposed to a long list in the main farmOS. Same with adding assets and areas. The field kit has a very nice autocomplete as you type. Getting this type of implementation into the main farmOS would make logging faster.

There is a lot here, I’m sure we can break some of these out to their own discussion if necessary, but thought this would be a good place to get it all out for some initial discussion.

Thanks!

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This is great feedback - thanks @BOTLFarm for organizing and sharing all these thoughts!

It would be nice to see these flags show up in a prominent place in their own section on the dashboard, or maybe 3 sections (one for each type of flag).

I love this idea! New feature request: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS/issues/235

In general is there a way to display more than 50 assets/logs at once in a list by default?

If you open the “Filter/sort” options, there is an option to select how many rows per page. It isn’t possible to change the default, though, so you still need to do that each time you open a new list. One of the benefits of that, though, is it reduces load on the database so pages load quickly most of the time (assuming you don’t need to see more than 50 records MOST of the time).

adding categories/assets/locations in bulk to multiple logs at once

This would be useful, I agree. New feature request: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS/issues/236

however I found when you delete an import it deletes all the imports of that log type you have ever done

That bulk delete feature comes from the Feeds module, which is what farmOS uses to build the CSV importers. It is all-or-nothing, unfortunately, which I also disagree with. That is why I chose to NOT grant permission to that feature to farmOS roles - it’s too dangerous. The only reason you have access to it is because you are logged in as the admin user on your instance (I assume). So yea: I don’t recommend that. Instead, I recommend using the normal log lists with filters to delete record in bulk.

When looking at an area, you can see when previous assets arrived, but can’t easily see when they left. When I rotate animals, both these dates are important. I want to make sure I stay off an area long enough for parasite concerns, and I also want to know how long I can expect animals to stay in that paddock on average. Having arrived and departed dates displayed would be better for these purposes.

This is a great point. It’s a little bit tricky based on the way the information is stored, but we might be able to find a way. New feature request: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS/issues/237

On a similar note, having a general timer function would be nice.

Oh this is a very interesting idea. And you’re right, it strikes me as related to the “Asset lifespan” discussion more generally. These are things I want to give more thought to as we work on the upgrade to Drupal 8. I am going to copy this comment into the asset lifespan issue, so I remember to take it into consideration, even if we end up breaking it out to its own separate feature request later.

The only pace I can see adding a weight is actually editing the animal itself.

Yes that’s a shortcut to add a weight log. Another way to do it is from the Animals list itself: select the animal(s) you want to record a weight of and click the “Weight” button that appears at the bottom. This allows you to do multiple animals at once, if you just want to do their average weight. Otherwise you can use the same method to do them one at a time.

All this does is create an observation log with a single quantity measurement on it. The qty measurement will have the following:

  • Measure: Weight
  • Value: (the weight you enter)
  • Units: lbs or kgs (if I remember correctly)

So that’s really all you need to record a weight. You can create the logs manually too if you want. Or use a CSV importer, as long as it follows that pattern. The weight reports (of which there are two: an individual asset weight report, and a group weight report at /farm/reports/weight) will aggregate all observation logs that include a weight measurement like that.

Possibly a bug, when I clone a log with a non-integer quantity value it gets rounded off to an integer!

Oh that sounds like a bug indeed! Good find! I created a bug report and will test this out: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS/issues/238

I have not been able to find a way to keep track of which ones have been pre-sold as wholes or halves and which ones I want to keep for cuts, or how many I have left to pre-sell

Hmm yea. I wonder if you could use Groups for this. eg: Create Group assets for each category, and then when a decision is made about a hog, you assign it to that group. That might not be tenable if you are already using Groups for other purposes too though… it would mean you’d have to maintain assets in multiple groups at once. Maybe worth a try though to think it through? This could be it’s own forum topic perhaps.

I think adding a “schedule” feature has been discussed elsewhere.

Yes! Check out this feature request: https://www.drupal.org/project/farm/issues/2962368

In the meantime, the way you’re doing it now (cloning and editing) is probably the easiest approach currently.

How about the ability to auto sync if connected to wifi? This may be overly complicated, but then the field kit would always be synced for the day’s work. I find myself out in the field and forgot to sync the field kit in the morning.

Agreed. And I think this is the open issue for that in Field Kit: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS-client/issues/274 (@jgaehring correct me if there’s another one).

If I ask it to “use my location” for the location it always shows “No other areas nearby”. I have tried it all over my farm with no luck getting it to find a location.

Ah! This may have been fixed recently. I’m not sure if that fix has been pushed out to the official release yet. Here is the issue: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS-client/issues/160

As far as ease of use, the field kit makes it real easy to add categories with all the categories laid out in buttons as opposed to a long list in the main farmOS. Same with adding assets and areas. The field kit has a very nice autocomplete as you type. Getting this type of implementation into the main farmOS would make logging faster.

Thanks! I agree. One of our goals moving into farmOS 2.x is to figure out ways that we can converge the farmOS and Field Kit UIs with reusable JavaScript components. So this is definitely on our minds as well! :slight_smile:

Thanks again @BOTLFarm - this kind of detailed feedback is really really helpful!

:blush:

Thanks @BOTLFarm, a lot of thought went into that, so I’m really glad to hear it’s working for you as intended! @mstenta, we’ve discussed sharing Field Kit components with farmOS, and I think this could be a good first component to start with, although I believe we also discussed using the date/time form. I just opened an issue for this where we can kick around further ideas:

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Update: I have committed a fix for this bug to Fraction 7.x-1.x, and deployed the fix to farmOS instances hosted on Farmier. If you are self-hosting, you can either wait for the next release of Fraction and farmOS, or make the change yourself manually, which I described here: https://github.com/farmOS/farmOS/issues/238#issuecomment-579896470

I also had this issue in the past. I wanted to export all logs but did not find a easy way from within farmOS (like a export feature). Therefore I tried to display all logs to copy past them into excel that’s a example why showing more than 50logs would be very useful :wink:

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@Lars did you see the CSV export button at the bottom of the list? That will export everything across multiple pages.

@mstenta thank you for pointing this out again. For some reason it did not work the last time I tried in early 2019. I have tried it again and it works :see_no_evil:

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Great to hear that @Lars!

@BOTLFarm - with regards to:

When I rotate animals, both these dates are important.

I forgot to mention this: have you looked at the Grazing module?

https://farmOS.org/guide/contrib/grazing

It adds a “Grazing Plan” record type, which organizes movement logs together into a “plan”, with start AND end dates displayed. It visualizes how long the herd will spend in each paddock throughout the plan. Requires a bit of data entry up front to get all the recommendations tuned in, but you can also ignore that and manually adjust the start/end times of each location. One limitation is that it doesn’t provide an easy way to use “temporary” areas (custom movement geometries). It’s still possible to record that, but you have to edit the logs manually. :slight_smile:

Thanks for all the info @mstenta!

I am struggling to get either weight report to work for me. farm/reports/weight just brings me to the dashboard and farm/asset/1/weight Just brings asset 1 page. I dont appear to have a weight tab like some screen shots I have seen from others. I considered the livestock weight module might not be on, but this is not the case. Any thoughts on where else to look?

That sounds like a reasonable solution. I already use groups for other management things, but I dont find managing more than 1 group to be too much of an issue. I will give it a shot.

Thanks for the fix! Works great now.

I have just started to play with this module. Looks like I need to modify a pile of my areas to be paddocs instead of fields or other location types, so I have not gotten very far with this module yet.
In my situation I do use “temporary” areas with custom geometry for a good amount of my animal moves. I will dig deeper into this grazing module.

I dont appear to have a weight tab like some screen shots I have seen from others. I considered the livestock weight module might not be on, but this is not the case. Any thoughts on where else to look?

Hmm, it does sound like you don’t have the module turned on, actually. Do you see it in /admin/modules? It is called “Farm Livestock Weight”.

@mstenta Yes it is installed and on. I played around a bit with it this evening. I disabled it saved and re-enabled the livestock weight module. Looks like it is functioning fine now.

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Interesting, I wonder if there’s an issue with the update that added that module. Maybe it didn’t get installed properly. Did you update farmOS at some point? And if so did you run update.php per the instructions here: https://farmos.org/hosting/updating/ ?

I did update on Jan 6th. I went from 7.x-1…2 to 7.x-1.x dev. I did run the update.php with no errors.

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