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Digital Field Records: An Easy Way

Field records (who, what, where, how) are those elements of records and data that are often missing when we try to analyze data. They have value from several perspectives. Unfortunately, most farms use a notebook or assorted formats of records that are incomplete and rarely digital. Digital format allows sorting, aggregation and analysis (by field, crop, machine, person, product, etc.) in a much easier manner. A template (or example database for you to duplicate) was assembled so you can obtain and keep these records digitally in a simple manner.

Airtable LogoThis template is based on Airtable, which is a cloud database platform that offers free services plus additional features for a fee. We believe it will be a rare instance for your Field Records to require the paid level of service.

Don’t let “database” scare you … these are just lists, essentially.

Since many are new to AirTable and may be also new to the Digitizing records of field activities records, we have generated a series of five short (less than 30 minutes total!!) videos that walk you step-by-step through the process of getting the templates, customizing them to your own needs, and getting your reports downloaded to your own computer. We encourage you to watch part 1 which demonstrates the simple forms (like the one illustrated here) and illustrates the types of records you will have. You will see that the reporting can readily be done on a smart phone (or computer) literally in seconds. If that seems applicable to you, and we believe many will find this to be true, parts 2-5 explain all you need to know to have streamlined, digital, and private yet sharable records.

You will want to watch these training sessions in the proper order the first time for them to make the most sense. You may want to refer back to particular section as you duplicate and deploy this template for your operation. Be aware that this set of 6 videos will not cover all features of Airtable, but will cover all you need to know to take the Digital Field Records template we have assembled and customize it for your operation.

Airtable Digital Records Example

Part 1: Brief demonstration of Airtable forms and results (7:06) | https://youtu.be/i-pJLd0vtuY

Part 2: Copying templates and controlling access (4:53) | https://youtu.be/lrgSfy_Rvtk

Part 3: Explanation of some Airtable features built into the template (4:07) | https://youtu.be/v2J_kcsNRmw

Part 4: Customize your lists and share your form (6:32) | https://youtu.be/kE381EF1Wj8

Part 5: Export your data (6:32) | https://youtu.be/DXPRasmqObk

This set of videos does not explain all that Airtable can do. And we did not cover the wonderful feature of syncing your Airtable database to a GoogleSheet. But if you do that, you can pretty quickly analyze and aggregate with Pivot Tables or with basic list and data actions like sorting, and filtering. As covered in part 5, you will be able to export your data as csv and bring it into your software of choice for other analysis.

Finally … here is the link to the database template. After viewing those orientation/training/demonstration videos, you should be able to duplicate, then customize and deploy this for your operation.

After initially rolling this out early in 2022, we realized this template was not set up well for forage operations. With a couple slight refinements, we believe this upgrade (version 1.1) is a little better. Even if you don’t have forage operations on your farm, you might do delivery/transfer operations (move commodities) and this accommodates those activities also.  This video explains what was not in the original template:

Part 6: Upgrade to include forage and transport/delivery operations (3:27) |https://youtu.be/_RnJYFW64qQ

Finally … here is the link to the database template. After viewing those orientation/training/demonstration videos, you should be able to duplicate, then customize and deploy this for your operation.

Digital Field Records via Airtable (v 1.1 including forage operations & delivery)

In case you desire the original that template is here:

Digital Field Records via Airtable (v 1.0)

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