All the important and valuable things on your farm are represented as "Assets" in farmOS. Asset types include Land, Plants, Animals, Equipment, Structures, etc. Assets can be accessed from "Records > Assets" in the toolbar.
Assets can be archived, so they do not show in farmOS unless you specifically want to see them. For example, when you are done harvesting a "Plant" Asset, you can mark it as "archived" to hide it in your Asset lists. Archived records can be retrieved using the "Filters" options on Asset listing pages.
Assets can be designated as "locations", which will cause them to show up in the "Locations" hierarchy (available from the toolbar). It also allows other Assets to be moved to them. For example, a "Plant" or "Animal" Asset can be moved to a "Land" Asset. The hierarchy of location Assets is determined by their "parent" field relationships.
Assets can also be cloned by selecting one or more in a list and clicking the "Clone asset" button that appears at the bottom. This will clone the Asset record(s), but will not clone the Logs that are associated with them.
Assets can be assigned to one or more person(s) in farmOS using the Asset's Owner field. Users can view a list of all Assets assigned to them by navigating to their profile and then clicking the "Assets" tab.
farmOS comes with a number of Asset types, summarized below. Additional types can be added via modules.
Land Assets represent the fields, properties, beds, paddocks, etc that are being managed. They can be mapped and arranged hierarchically to make navigation easier, and they can be referenced by Logs to record events, activities, inputs, observations, etc. If you perform soil tests, these can be stored as "Lab test" Logs associated with land Assets for easy access.
farmOS can be used for very fine-grained crop planning and record keeping. It can be used by large or small operations, nurseries, seed producers, breeders, and home gardeners.
The Plant Asset type can be used to represent groups of plants (eg: a field of corn, or a group of seedlings), or it can be used to represent individual plants (eg: in the case of nurseries).
When you create a plant Asset, you will need to define what crop/variety it is. Crops/varieties represent the various types of plants you grow. These can be very general crop names (eg: "Broccoli") or very specific breeds or varieties (eg: "Belstar F1 Organic Broccoli"). Your Crops/varieties taxonomy can be managed/organized as a hierarchy in Administration > Structure > Taxonomy.
Plants are the specific Asset you are growing, whereas crops/varieties are terms used to categorize and define plant types. You may have multiple plant Assets of the same crop/variety. Consider the following example:
1 pound of red lettuce seed was purchased and seeded 4 times over the course of 8 weeks (every two weeks).
In this example, there would be 4 plant Assets with a crop/variety of "Red lettuce":
- 2017 Red lettuce planting 1
- 2017 Red lettuce planting 2
- 2017 Red lettuce planting 3
- 2017 Red lettuce planting 4
The way you name your Assets is up to you - this is just an example. Including the year at the beginning and the planting number at the end is helpful when you are trying to distinguish plant Assets from one another.
If you are direct seeding into the field, you may only use the seeding Log. If you are purchasing starts from another grower, you may only use the transplanting Log. If you are starting your plants in a greenhouse and then planting them out in the field, you may use both a seeding and transplanting Log.
Together, seeding and transplanting Logs allow you to keep track of where a plant has moved throughout its life. For more general information on tracking the location of Assets in farmOS, refer to the overview of movements and location.
farmOS can be used to manage animal/livestock records.
When you create an animal Asset, you will need to define what species/breed it is. Species/breeds represent the various types of animals you manage. These can be very general names (eg: "Cattle") or more specific breeds (eg: "Jersey cattle"). Your Species/breeds taxonomy can be managed/organized as a hierarchy in Administration > Structure > Taxonomy.
Animal Assets can be used to represent either individual animals, or multiple animals (as a head count inventory, adjustable via Logs). This is useful in cases where animals don't need to be tracked individually, for instance with flocks of birds or heads of cattle, where individual tracking/tagging is not necessary for record keeping purposes.
For more information, see the guide to inventory tracking in farmOS.
Animals can also be organized into groups using the "Group" Asset type. This is useful if you always manage certain animals together, as a herd or flock, for instance. It is also possible to assign animals to more than one group. This can be used in different ways to help manage large numbers of animals in farmOS.
Q: Should I use inventory or groups for my animals?
This comes down to whether or not you need to maintain separate records for individual animals. If you do, then create a separate animal Asset for each animal, and you can optionally organize them into group Assets after that. If you don't need individual animal records, you can create a single animal Asset and use the inventory features to track a head count over time with Logs. Or, you could do both! Perhaps you have a herd (group Asset) with some individual animals, and some larger groups of animals (head count). It's just a matter of how granular you need to be with your record keeping.
Animals can be moved from place to place in farmOS using movement Logs. You can also filter your animal list down to a set of animals, select them all, and create a combined movement Log for all of them at once. Or, you can move the group Asset that contains animals (eg: a herd), and all the animal locations will be updated along with it. This is a great way to manage grazing records as you move animals from paddock to paddock.
For more general information on tracking the location of Assets in farmOS, refer to the overview of movements and location.
farmOS can be used to manage equipment Assets on the farm.
Maintenence Logs can be recorded alongside equipment.
When you are creating Logs in farmOS, you can also reference the equipment Asset(s) that were used to perform the activity. In combination with the "Assets" field on Logs, this allows you to distinguish which Assets received the action, and which equipment Assets performed it. These "equipment use" Logs will appear on the equipment Asset record in farmOS.
- Use activity Logs to record equipment use.
- Keep track of equipment location via movement Logs.
- Record oil changes, repairs, and inspections with maintenance Logs.
- Track fuel usage or machine hours with input or observation Logs.
Structure Assets can be used to represent buildings, greenhouses, and other permanent or movable structures on the farm.
Like equipment Assets, maintenence Logs can be used to record when upkeep/repairs are performed.
Greenhouses can be represented as structure Assets, with Logs used to record activities and observations within them. This can be very powerful, especially when combined with sensors, data streams, notifications, and custom modules that communicate with actuators to automate fans, ventilation, and irrigation.
Water Assets can be used to represent fixed water features like lakes, ponds, and streams, or they can be used to represent fixed or movable irrigation systems. Equipment and Structure Assets can be used similarly, so it is up to you to decide how you prefer to organize things.
Material Assets can be used to track inventory of various materials.
For more information, see the guide to inventory tracking in farmOS.
Seed Assets can be used to track seed inventory before it is used to create Plant Assets (via seeding Logs). Seeds share the same crop/variety taxonomy with plant Assets.
farmOS can be used to manage all types of compost production activities. A generic "Compost" Asset type is provided, which can be used with various Log types to record activities, observations, inputs, harvests, etc. These compost Assets can be used to represent a compost pile, windrows, vermicompost, compost tea, or any other form of production.
In addition to manually-entered records, farmOS also provides a framework for receiving data from automated environmental sensors. The Sensor Asset type can be used to represent individual sensor devices, which can provide one or more Data streams.
A "Basic" data stream type is provided, which stores data in the local database. Add-on modules can be written to integrate with other data storage systems, or provide custom sensor integrations.
It is possible to assemble your own sensors with inexpensive components and send their data to farmOS without any soldering or programming.
Groups are a special type of Asset in farmOS, which are used for organizing other Assets, so they can be managed together.
This provides a lot of flexibility in managing and organizing your Assets. Logs can reference the group Asset, instead of all the individual members.
One example where this is useful is managing herds of animals. Each herd can be represented as a group Asset, with animal members. A movement Log can be used to move the whole group, instead of referencing animal Assets individually.
You can also use groups to organize equipment, plants, or any other Asset type. It's even possible to have groups within groups, to create a hierarchy of group membership.
Group membership is assigned to Assets via Logs, in very much the same way that location is. You can assign Assets to a group via the "Group" and "Is group assignment" fields on Logs. These specify that any Asset(s) referenced by the Log will become members of the group at the time of the Log.
Therefore, Assets can also change their membership over time, moving from one group to another. One example where this is useful is in managing cattle: you may have a group of mothers with calves, a group of weaned calves, and other groups of steers, heifers, etc. As a calf grows up, weans, and perhaps has their own calf, they can be moved from group to group, and the full history of their group membership is saved as Logs.