Monthly Archives: November 2013

Source, Custom, and Other Animal Fields

In the beginning, there was space given for one RFID tag and five management tags. And it was supposed that this was an exceedingly great amount of space for tag management. And the people used the space sparingly and were happy.

But after a time, there were some who wanted to store new information. And seeing only these fields, they defiled them by putting non-ID related information in them. And it came to pass that there were diverse ways to misuse these fields, even to the storing of the buyer. And this was not good.

And it came to pass that Fusion’s creator saw the misuse of these fields and that the people clamored for more space to store more information. And lo, changes were made to Fusion and a multiplicity of fields were added to store many pieces of information for each animal. And thus peace was restored to the people.

Okay, I’ll admit that was a silly introduction to this topic. But I want to draw your attention to some of the new fields available for each animal in Fusion and show you how to migrate old data in the ID fields to the new fields where appropriate. Let’s look at some of the new fields first.

Source Field

One of the most common uses of the ID fields was to store the source or buyer. This was problematic because Fusion didn’t understand how to interpret who the source was. Also, it was difficult to enter and make sure it was spelled the same each time. There is now a field specifically for the source and it links to the contacts you have already set up in other areas of Fusion. Entering the source is much easier (check the help pages for more on this) and Fusion can always link to the contact. This will make for some interesting reporting so we recommend using the new source field right away. If you have existing source information in the ID fields, we recommend migrating the data to the new fields (see below for one way to do it).

Attribute Fields

To the sex, breed, and color fields that have been in Fusion before, we have added cattle type, hip height, frame score, thriftiness score, and temperament score fields to help describe an animal. All of these can be entered in during a chuteside job. If you use a lot of these fields you might consider purchasing an electronic keyboard to mount on your squeeze for faster entry.

Weight and Implant Fields

Fusion automatically keeps track of the in weight, last known weight, and current estimated weight for each animal. There are five other weight fields where you can store an animal’s weight at specific times for comparison purposes. When doing a chuteside job you can ask Fusion to automatically populate one of these fields with the animal’s weight from that job. Don’t worry about doing this to track the weight at different implants, though. There are five other groups of fields that Fusion automatically fills in for you that track the implant product, date, and the weight of the animal when the implant occurred.

Genetic Test Fields

If you are doing any DNA sampling for your cattle, Fusion provides five fields which you can customize for storing sample results for each animal. Note that, like the other fields, these fields can be used to help determine which sort group an animal belongs to during a sorting chuteside job.

Custom Fields

Between the fields mentioned above and the other built in fields, you can track a lot of information on each animal. If there is still more information you wish to track, Fusion provides five more fields for you to customize and put any information you want into them.

Please note that if you start using any of the custom fields mentioned above, you should change the field labels to describe the information you are storing. This is done in the Preferences window as shown here:

Animal Custom Fields Preference Pane

Migrating Data

There are several ways of migrating data from the ID fields to the new built-in or custom fields. I’ll briefly describe a few of them and then look at one common case in more detail.

Export/Import Method

If any of your ID fields have data that simply needs to be moved to a custom field, one option is to export the data to a file and then import it back in to another field. In the Animal list window, create an advanced print report that contains the animal’s lot and RFID tag as well as any custom ID fields you want to migrate. Then select the animals you want to do this for and run the report, saving it to a CSV file. Now, choose Modify→Import From File… from the Animal list window. From here you will choose the file you just created and let Fusion know which columns are the lot and RFID so it will import the information to the right animals. For the other column(s), choose the new fields you want the information to migrate to and then let Fusion do the import.

Here is a trick you can use to clear out the old data. When you do the export, include a column that will be blank. This can be from a field you know is blank or from a text type calculated column with nothing in it. When you do the import, associate this column with the ID field you want to clear out.

Grid Edit Method

If any of your ID fields have data that needs to be changed slightly before moving, the Grid Edit window may be your best help. This is especially true if you only have a few animals to deal with or if many of the animals have the same information associated with them. From the Animal list window, select the animals you are interested in and choose Modify→Grid Edit. You will be asked what fields to show next, so choose the ID field you want to move and the other fields you want to change. Now you can enter the information you want. If you have chosen animals that all have the same information, or sorted them so they are in groups of the same information, just enter the information in the top cell and then right click it to ask Fusion to copy the values to the cells below.

Bulk Update Method

For a few of the fields, the Bulk Update can be a little faster if you are only dealing with animals that have the same information. Again, select the animals you are interested in and choose Modify→Bulk Update…. Tell Fusion what field you want to change and what the new value will be and then let Fusion make the changes. This is also a good place to assign a blank value to an ID field after the data has been migrated to other fields.

A Common Case: Buyer/Source Migration

One of the most common things that people used a custom ID field for was to record the buyer. Now there is a dedicated “source” field which this information should be migrated to. Here are the steps that I recommend for migrating this data:

  1. In the Animal list window, do a query to find a group of animals that all have the same source. You might do this by lot or by searching/sorting on the old buyer field.
  2. Select all the animals that are from the same source.
  3. Open the Bulk Update window (Modify→Bulk Update…) and turn on the “Change Source to:” field.
  4. Enter the source contact.
  5. Click the Make Change button.
  6. Repeat for each group of animals.

Remember To Test!

All of these techniques change data in a way that cannot automatically be undone. You should always test on just an animal or two to make sure it works the way you are expecting before doing it to a lot of animals.

Already, and more so in the future, Fusion takes advantage of these new fields during reporting and other activities. We highly recommend that you stop using the ID fields for non-ID information and start using the other fields. We also recommend taking the time now to migrate historical data to the new fields.