Phillips Linda 18c

Phillips

BLACKFOOT — Robert Bishop has a vision: Consumers should be able to scan a tag on a bag of produce and know at a glance the route it took from the field to the store. The sales engineer consultant for Greentronics is paving a path to his ultimate goal with the RiteTrace system. In development since 2012 and launched in 2015, the fully automated system is helping farmers track and trace root crops that are transported and stored in bulk. Utilizing scanners, transponders and sensors in conjunction with a harvester’s GPS and a Windows-based data viewing program, RiteTrace tracks harvests from field to storage. The system also provides location data on produce in storage. Data is recorded at three points in the process — at the harvester during loading, at the receiving station and from the piler. In the field a transponder on each truck receives an ID from a scanner in the harvester. Data transmitted includes GPS points from start to end for each load, date/time, field ID and crop name. If needed, loads can be flagged to be checked at the receiving station. At the station, a monitor reads the data from the truck’s transponder. An additional monitor on the piler records the precise position of the unloading point by continuously measuring and recording data from five sensors mounted at various points on the piler. The result is a data package with color-coded 2D bin and field maps matched to each load’s identification number. Farmers are using the system to quickly track problems in storage back to the field to determine root causes of problems. A recent example was an Idaho farmer who needed to determine if a problem in storage was due to heat or something else. By tracking back, it was discovered pink rot on a select few loads was the problem, not the heat or bruising, Bishop said. The accuracy and transparency of the system allows farmers to deal with issues brought up by contractors. The ability to pinpoint how and where something like glass or shotgun pellets got into a load and inform the contractor which load or loads will be affected, can prevent the loss of a million-dollar contract. In addition, farmers can use the data to link productivity in the field with the quality of produce in storage. The system also relieves farmers from the task of collecting tracking information for the Food Safety Modernization Act on paper in the field. Bishop said it can take as long as six weeks for farmers to input information into a computer from a harvest by hand. RiteTrace eliminates hours of work, providing a detailed spreadsheet almost immediately. The FSMA mandates that any product found defective enough to trigger an audit, must be able to be traced quickly and RiteTrace helps farmers meet that mandate efficiently and accurately. The system could eventually be used to provide tracking information to consumers at points of sale, bringing Bishop’s goal within sight. For more information on RiteTrace, go online to Greentronics.com. Bishop can be reached at bishtecsolutions@gmail.com or at www.bishtec.com.

BLACKFOOT — Robert Bishop has a vision: Consumers should be able to scan a tag on a bag of produce and know at a glance the route it took from the field to the store.

The sales engineer consultant for Greentronics is paving a path to his ultimate goal with the RiteTrace system. In development since 2012 and launched in 2015, the fully automated system is helping farmers track and trace root crops that are transported and stored in bulk.

Utilizing scanners, transponders and sensors in conjunction with a harvester’s GPS and a Windows-based data viewing program, RiteTrace tracks harvests from field to storage. The system also provides location data on produce in storage.

Data is recorded at three points in the process — at the harvester during loading, at the receiving station and from the piler.

In the field a transponder on each truck receives an ID from a scanner in the harvester. Data transmitted includes GPS points from start to end for each load, date/time, field ID and crop name. If needed, loads can be flagged to be checked at the receiving station.

At the station, a monitor reads the data from the truck’s transponder. An additional monitor on the piler records the precise position of the unloading point by continuously measuring and recording data from five sensors mounted at various points on the piler.

The result is a data package with color-coded 2D bin and field maps matched to each load’s identification number.

Farmers are using the system to quickly track problems in storage back to the field to determine root causes of problems.

A recent example was an Idaho farmer who needed to determine if a problem in storage was due to heat or something else. By tracking back, it was discovered pink rot on a select few loads was the problem, not the heat or bruising, Bishop said.

The accuracy and transparency of the system allows farmers to deal with issues brought up by contractors. The ability to pinpoint how and where something like glass or shotgun pellets got into a load and inform the contractor which load or loads will be affected, can prevent the loss of a million-dollar contract.

In addition, farmers can use the data to link productivity in the field with the quality of produce in storage.

The system also relieves farmers from the task of collecting tracking information for the Food Safety Modernization Act on paper in the field.

Bishop said it can take as long as six weeks for farmers to input information into a computer from a harvest by hand. RiteTrace eliminates hours of work, providing a detailed spreadsheet almost immediately.

The FSMA mandates that any product found defective enough to trigger an audit, must be able to be traced quickly and RiteTrace helps farmers meet that mandate efficiently and accurately.

The system could eventually be used to provide tracking information to consumers at points of sale, bringing Bishop’s goal within sight.

For more information on RiteTrace, go online to Greentronics.com. Bishop can be reached at bishtecsolutions@gmail.com or at www.bishtec.com.

Photojournalist Linda Phillips has 25 years experience as a journalist, photographer, copy editor and graphic designer. To contact her, email Farm & Ranch Managing Editor Bill Bradshaw at freditor@postregister.com.

Photojournalist Linda Phillips has 25 years experience as a journalist, photographer, copy editor and graphic designer. To contact her, email Farm & Ranch Managing Editor Bill Bradshaw at freditor@post register.com.

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