News

Red Sky USERS BULLETIN #1 - October 2004


This bulletin is a new line of communication that is specifically targeted at those of you who are using Red Sky, or have attended a training session and are about to commence using Red Sky.  It will be circulated on a regular basis to update you on changes to Red Sky so that you are kept abreast of the improvements we are making to the program.  If you have colleagues that would also like to receive the BULLETIN, or you do not wish to receive this, then please let us know by return email.

We will continue to produce Red Sky NEWS although this will be shorter than previously and be targeted at those people who are interested in hearing about Red Sky but are not presently users of our software.

HAVE YOU EVER BEEN STUCK ON OUR SERVER WITH A FAILED SYNCHRONISE?

If you have experienced this problem you will be aware that you needed to contact me so that I could clear you down off the server.  That should now be a thing of the past.   With the launch of version 4.0.46 there is now a method of clearing yourself down from the server so you can complete a synchronisation.  If you do have a problem and all the Main Menu buttons are greyed out except the Synchronise and Exit button, then you need to exit Red Sky.   When you restart the program, under the Help menu you will find a selection named “I’m Locked up - Clear Me!”  You should then follow the prompts.

NEW LAYOUT FOR ACCOUNTS ENTRY-EXPENSES SCREEN

When you next synchronise (or select Refresh Static Data under the File menu) you will receive a new layout to the Accounts Entry/Expenses screen.  In response to suggestions from users we have created 7 sub-headings and put all the appropriate codes under these headings.  These include Administration Fees, Farm Operating Expenses, Feeds/Cropping/Pasture/Grazing, Fertiliser, Repairs & Maintenance, Vehicles, and Wages/Employment Expenses.  We believe this should make it easier to enter your data as you will have to spend less time scrolling through the screen.

We are also taking this opportunity to remove some of the codes that we believe are not being used.  If you do find that an entry code that you have been using is now unavailable then please contact us so we can correct this for you.  When you first see this new layout you should use the ‘Recalculate all’ function to populate the new sub-totals (to do this you rest your cursor in the first column of data and click right mouse then Recalculate all).

INPUT ALL YOUR RED SKY DATA VIA DUAL IMPORTS

We now have available a second import worksheet that means almost all data for a new farm can be entered via imports.  An example worksheet can be downloaded from here although it has been prepared for a dairy farm where only the financial data is being entered.  For either a sheep and beef farm to enter data, or for any farm to enter all the physical data, there would be a need to spend some time highlighting the additional entry cells that are to be imported.

For accountants that are using an export from their software and then importing this data into Red Sky, this second worksheet could import all the balance of the data that is not being delivered from the accounts.  Someone could now effectively produce the Red Sky reports without being trained on how to use the software.

NEW AND ALTERED REPORTS DUE IN NEXT 5-10 DAYS

We are in the process of upgrading some of our reports, with the Operating Profit per Hectare, Per Stock and Per Milk all being improved.  These reports will have any adjustments incorporated into the totals for that code so that if for instance you capitalised some R&M, then R&M expenses would be credited to provide an accurate benchmark on a per hectare, per stock and per milk basis.  There will also be some improvements to the sheep and beef reports.

The new reports will include Operating Profit as a Percentage of Gross Farm Revenue, as well as a number of reports that include just the one year’s economic analysis and livestock details.  We have been fortunate to have Baker & Associates from Masterton (NZ) providing us with a detailed design for these reports.

FERTILISER AND FARM GATE NUTRIENT BALANCE

This module is due to be launched in around a week and will coincide with the launch of the new reports.  This will require that you download a new version due to the amount of code change in this new version.

BENCHMARKS

Although use of Red Sky has been steadily climbing in both New Zealand and Australia, our recent development program has interfered with our ability to produce benchmarks on a regular basis.  With the completion of this development over the next couple of weeks we will be able to provide updates to benchmarks on a regular basis.  Over the next couple of weeks we will produce new dairy benchmarks for New Zealand as well as a number of districts within New Zealand, for the 3 largest dairying districts in Victoria and for Western Australia.  We should have 2004 benchmarks for Tasmania shortly after that.

We will also be producing benchmarks for NZ sheep and beef farms due to the importation of sheep and beef (plus some deer and cropping) data from the Baker & Associates Farm Analysis Bureau.  This has resulted in our NZ sheep and beef database dramatically increasing in size to include over 260 farms of high quality data.  In addition to providing this data, there have been a host of improvements to Red Sky that are the result of a close working relationship that we are developing with the Baker & Associates team.

LIVESTOCK MAINTENANCE ENERGY REQUIERMENTS PLUS HOT/COLD DAYS

You no longer need to think about or calculate the maintenance energy requirements for livestock.  Nor do you have to consider how many hot and cold days there are each year, or the amount of energy lost on these days.  Red Sky automatically calculates these for you based on the weight of animals, size and contour of farm, and the district.

I hope there have been some points of interest for you in this first bulletin.  If you have some suggestions on how we can further improve Red Sky please let us know.  Any and all feedback is most welcome via feedback@redskyagri.com

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