Production planning fresh produce fruit vegetable packing and processing app manages fresh produce packing, inventory, traceability, shipping and sales. Less waste, more profit!

99% less fresh produce packing waste

Accurate fresh produce & food inventory management reduces waste through better FIFO stock rotation, stock-takes, and inventory alerts. RFID pallet control (optional) for precision inventory tracking. 

Save time packing fruit & vegetables

Increase the efficiency of fresh produce inventory using options like scanning incoming bar-codes to reduce data entry & errors, integrate with scales for automatic weighing, ore RFID for automatic fresh produce inventory tracking.

Better fresh produce quality control

Guarantee the quality of your fresh produce packing with flexible fresh QC testing systems from your phone or tablet. Customer feedback management, supplier quality control and more...

Reduce fresh produce packing errors & control production

Project required inventory (and shortages), schedule orders to be packed in batches , automatic alerts to prodution line managers.

100% accurate fresh produce order shipping

Shipping teams are guided through the dispatch process from picking using a phone or tablet (optional bar-code scanning), automatic picking, thru bill of lading, invoice, and automatic shipping notifications for customers, transport, and sales teams.

Reduce fresh produce packing administration costs by 40%

Automatic generation of fresh produce labels, bill of lading, invoice, picking documents and more; reduces administrative burden.

Easy audit & recall systems reduces compliance costs.

Faster fresh produce inventory storage  inventory

Accurate fresh produce & food inventory management delivers reduced waste and increased employee productivity. Manage FIFO, improve stock-take accuracy, scan harvester data, and keep a watchful eye on your inventory... Easy stock-take identifies shrinkage and helps reduce waste from ageing. 

100% accurate fresh produce traceability

Maintain strict fresh produce traceability and high food safety standards always. Perform recalls based on lot/batch, pack date, invoice #, inventory #, pallet #, delivery date, purchase order #, or perform a recall on your own user defined data. Perform instant recalls both up and down the supply chain. Makes audits easy and instant. COVID-19 food safety & auditing available. 

Reduce fresh produce waste by 99%

Inventory control ensures there is no 'shrinkage', food inventory is FIFO managed, and expiring inventory always monitored.

Reduce administration time by 60%

Automatic paperwork, labels, and reporting reduces the burden on administration teams and saves everyone's time.

Better fresh produce quality now

Quality control and food safety has never been easier with industry standard quality tests, food safety checklists; or configure your own tests. 

100% accurate orders!

Guarantee only the correct inventory is shipped for each order, on time, every time.

Production planning fresh produce fruit vegetable packing and processing app

Farmsoft fresh produce packing app is for fruit & vegetable packer, processor, import/export.  Full fresh produce traceability, auditing, inventory control, and fresh produce business management app.

Quality inspection for fresh produce

Consistent and accurate quality control ensures higher customer satisfaction and adherence to industry, de-facto, and in-house quality control standards. Track supplier quality performance, customer feedback & complaints, create QC tests for any part of the fresh produce & food manufacturing process (incoming goods, raw materials, finished goods, expiry test, export/shipping tests), daily factory hygiene, machinery calibration, employee checklists... 

Fresh produce logistics

Manage orders, pack to order, picking and auto picking, dispatch & shipping process. Generate invoices, bill of lading, pick slips, export documentation and other sales documents... Dispatch teams are guided through the dispatch process ensuring every order is filled perfectly, and on time. Paperwork such as BOL, freight documents, export documents are automatically generated based on the customer and destination to guarantee no rejected shipments or issues at borders.

Fresh produce labels

Generate fresh produce SSCC pallet labels, GS1 case & PTI labels, bin labels, batch labels, traded unit labels, harvest labels and more. Use the built in industry standard labels for Walmart, Woolworths, Aldi, Tesco, Loblaws etc - or design your own with the built in label & report designer. Our team can design all of your fresh produce documents to ensure farmsoft matches your requirements perfectly.

Fresh produce packing control

Sales, Quality, Profit, Dispatch, Pack, Farm...... Dashboards for sales teams provide instant impressions of customer orders and current inventory levels. The dispatch dashboard helps plan shipments, order of loading, and transport companies & drivers... The Profit analysis dashboard shows margins per unit and most profitable customers. Use our API to access your data however you like.

Fresh produce batch packing

Project required raw materials needed to pack/manufacture orders, potential shortages, schedule multiple orders to be packed in batches on selected production lines with a few clicks, automatically send new job alerts to managers, schedule additional harvests, analyze outstanding orders. Manage entire packing and manufacturing process with ease.

Fresh produce alerts monitoring

Automatic alerts for shipments can be sent to customers, transport providers, or even team members. Every time a batch is finished processing, receive an alert with the pack-out breakdown and percentages of grades & quality and waste. Alerts can include simple shipment notifications, or even invoices and original order details. Other alerts include order changes/modifications, yield reports, new order alerts, and low inventory alerts... 

Farm app option

Implement the farmsoft Farm Management suite to provide a comprehensive integrated business management solution from seed to plate. Includes automatic task management, best practices, budgeting, farm inventory, PHI enforcement, audits, residue reporting, USDA reporting, dashboards, recalls and more... 

Fresh produce supplier quality control

Suppliers must know that your business is measuring and tracking their performance. Any trends that effect the quality of fresh produce can be quickly detected, automatically traced back to the fresh produce supplier (especially if a result of a customer complaint / feedback), management and purchasing teams are automatically alerted when a supplier quality issue happens. Quantify your suppliers quality using the Supplier Quality Dashboard. 

Fresh produce finance apps

Share data with your Xero finance app, Quickbooks, MYOB, SAGE, using our API, or request our team perform a custom integration for your fresh produce company. This is an optional module, please ask your consultant for additional details and discuss your specific requirements, additional costs will apply for integration with your chosen finance app. 

Fresh produce RFID

Automatic tracking of each pallet’s exact location. Makes loading orders accurate and easy, stops errors during shipping. Very low costs to setup your hardware using farmsoft’s innovative RFID for fresh produce solution. Pallets put onto truck are auto added to order, and checked for accuracy. Pick up a pallet and its RFID instantly selected. Add pallet/bin to production line and its auto added to batch for traceability.

Fresh produce API

Integrate with virtually any other app or software solution using the farmsoft API. It's open! Anyone can use it. Your in house I.T. team, or any external I.T. vendor you want to help you with integration. Add your own reports, extract special data, or even create new interfaces between farmsoft and any app such as accounting, payroll, B2B, B2C. Other integration in farmsoft includes the ability to integrate with selected weigh scales to capture fresh produce net delivery weights.

Fresh produce bloch-chain

Increase customer confidence and prove the credentials of your traceability integrity and transparency with block-chain ledger technology.   We use the blockchain solution. (Optional module not included with standard Packing / Food Manufacturing ERP solution).

Improve fresh produce production planning

Efficient management customer orders, and the ability to analyze orders gives you new production planning tolls in farmsoft. Ensure each order is filled to exact specifications, on time, every time. Increase customer satisfaction and retention, and reduce stress in the packhouse with confident production planning using work orders/batch orders, sales contracts, sales orders, and sales order items. Are you manufactruing or processing chili products? Try farmsoft for chili processing. 

Accurate fresh produce traceability

Quality officers are guided through the quality control process, presented with images and instructions for each test, ensuring they know what to look for at all times, corrective actions are presented if a quality issue is detected. This makes training new fresh produce quality control officers fast, and ensures consistency in the quality control management processes for incoming fresh produce, post pack/post processing, storage, and dispatch. 

Efficient use of fresh produce cold stores

Maximize your cold store use and rotation of stock using farmsoft's pallet maps, and precision traceability tracking with expiring inventory reminders.
Cold store management software for fruit importers, exporters, packers, cross docking, and short and long term fruit storage.

Production planning fresh produce fruit vegetable packing and processing app manages fresh produce packing, inventory, traceability, shipping and sales. Less waste, more profit!

The farmsoft inventory control app provides business wide quality management inspection systems for fresh produce, food manufacturing, seed processing, meat packing & processing, and flower packing.

Supply Chain Planning in the food industry fresh produce

Supply Chain Planning in the food industry using the Producepak app is easy.  Supply Chain Planning in the food industry fresh produce
Thrive in a climate of stricter regulatory burdens, increased demand for sustainability and new e-commerce expectations. Plan and execute your operating strategy based on a clear view of your global supply chain.

Harvest the benefits of advanced capabilities.
Global food and beverage (F&B) supply chains are complex and undergoing rapid change, forcing companies to recognize the need for comprehensive digital planning. The Digital Supply Chain Platform provides advanced supply chain optimization coupled with extensive flexibility for a wide variety of F&B sectors, including alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages and packaged and perishable foods.
Embrace demand forecasting
Accurate forecasting helps food and beverage companies optimize their production efficiency, reduce inventory costs, improve distribution and streamline purchasing. 
Implement predictive scheduling
Even without supply chain volatility, companies need to use automation and analytics to optimize production schedules.
Improve visibility
F&B companies need an accurate, complete digital picture of their operations in order to diversify suppliers and respond to challenges.
Achieve low-cost compliance
Navigate a more stringent regulatory landscape that places a premium on digital chain of custody, reporting and documentation.
Streamline and align S&OP
Turn S&OP and strategic planning into a formal comprehensive process with integrated business planning (IBP).
The future of supply chain technology for the food and beverage industry is available now.
Logic supplies the visibility and capabilities to succeed in this fast-moving sector with unique and significant challenges.
Optimize Production
Develop manufacturing plans that deliver least cost and least change, both within inventory limits.
Potato packing: We understand your businesses and have been supporting potato packing businesses since 2001.
Manage the entire potato packing process from delivery, processing (sizing, sorting, French fries manufacture, grading and packing) thru to to sales, dispatch, and traceability & recall.
Potato packing app manages potato deliveries, washing, sorting, packing, and potato sales (bulk and packed bags). Deduct tare of potato deliveries, pack potatoes to order, and manage potato logistics...

Potato packing by farmsoft for less waste and better potato traceability in potato packing & processing space.
Manage potato packing process for any packaging type including net bags, jute bags, film bags, woven bags, paper bags, trays, transport packaging and FIBC’s / Big Bags, 1 ton totes and more.
Potato packing process:
The farmsoft solution supports many potato packing processes and can be configured to support any potato packing business. Here is an example process used in farmsoft potato packing:
Create Purchase Orders to order raw materials (potato), or receive potato deliveries from your own farms without needing an order (if the potatoes are coming from your own farm, optionally issue barcodes to give to harvesting teams or potato truck driver, this barcode can be scanned and will identify a potato delivery upon arrival at the potato packing facility).
Record your customers potato orders (optionally allow customers to order potatoes online using the shop, or B2B portal)
Receive bulk potato deliveries (eg: entire truck load of potatoes, not bagged or packed in any way) and store in silos or bags, traceability is fully maintained from the instant you receive the potato inventory.

Carrot packing processing solution reduces waste, enhances traceability inventory control sales traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in carrot packing.  Carrot packing & processing, grading, sorting, sizing, washing, inventory, QC by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in carrot packing and processing industry.
Farmsoft delivers reduced waste in the carrot packing traceability & quality control, processing, storage, distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO, inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes to minimize waste and maximize packing profit. Use bar-code managed inventory, labeling, 3D pallet storage, to help reduce waste.
carrot packing processing washing waste traceability
carrot packing processing washing waste traceability
Conduct recalls in seconds, with full confidence of accuracy and reliability. Minimize risk by ensuring accurate traceability is automatically captured. Pass audits with ease & reduce compliance costs using farmsoft's traceability guidelines. Trace fresh produce up and down the supply chain, over multiple traceability hops. Instantly produce farm records and any other farm traceability records if you optionally use our farm solution.

Minimize your administration costs with automatic paperwork generation. Ensure accuracy of paperwork by having necessary documentation (invoice formats, export documents, transport documents etc) automatically generated based on the needs of the specific customer - ensuring timely and accurate documentation. No more rejected orders because of bad documentation accompanying a shipment. Food traceability software made easy!

Broccoli packing & processing inventory control sales traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in broccoli packing.   Broccoli packing & processing, inventory QC traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in broccoli packing businesses.
Farmsoft delivers reduced waste in the broccoli packing traceability & quality control, processing, storage, distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO, inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes to minimize waste and maximize packing profit. Use bar-code managed inventory, labeling, 3D pallet storage, to help reduce waste.
Broccoli packing processing inventory control sales traceability
Broccoli packing processing inventory control sales traceability
Conduct recalls in seconds, with full confidence of accuracy and reliability. Minimize risk by ensuring accurate traceability is automatically captured. Pass audits with ease & reduce compliance costs using farmsoft's traceability guidelines. Trace fresh produce up and down the supply chain, over multiple traceability hops. Instantly produce farm records and any other farm traceability records if you optionally use our farm solution.

Broccoli packing & processing, food service business management software for improved food safety & reduced waste. Broccoli packing & processing, inventory QC traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in broccoli packing businesses.

Onion packing & processing storage and sales quality by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in the onion packing space.

Onion packing & processing, boxing, bagging, food service, and inventory QC traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity in the onion packing & processing industry
Farmsoft delivers reduced waste in the onion packing traceability & quality control, processing, storage, distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO, inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes to minimize waste and maximize packing profit. Use bar-code managed inventory, labeling, 3D pallet storage, to help reduce waste. Use farmsoft to process, grade, sort, pack, and value add for any onion type including red onion, white onion, pickle onions, processing onions, brown onion and more.   “Delivering value to the onion industry through increased production, cost reductions and improved product quality”
While everyone is going through unprecedented times and situations, Elisam (powered by Ellips onion grading and sorting technology) continues to expand its customer base by delivering proven value to the North American onion industry.

Walla Walla River Packing, Madison-Cox and Obendorf Farms all installed Elisam onion graders for the 2019/2020 season with the ultimate goal of being able to better serve their customers. With their packing seasons now complete, they are able to look back and assess how their investments helped improve their operational performance. As might be expected, each situation is slightly different, despite this, however, they all achieved significant benefits such as increased production, cost reductions and improved quality. This helped these companies pack their onions to their fullest potential. Ellips grading and sorting technology is now being utilized by 13 onion packers in the Pacific Northwest and over 25 across North America.

Berry packing & processing inventory QC traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity.

Berry packing & processing inventory QC traceability by farmsoft reduces waste and increases productivity
Farmsoft delivers opportunities to reduce waste during the berry packing traceability & quality control, processing, storage, distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO (when practical), inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes to minimize waste and maximize packing profit. Use bar-code managed inventory, labeling, 3D pallet storage, to help reduce waste. Use farmsoft with blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, goji berries, bilberries, acai berries, cranberries, grapes, raspberries, and more...  The 4th International Berry Congress, held in Huelva, Spain, has been the stage chosen by Induser to showcase its new technologies and products developed last year, but also to predict where they will be heading in the short and medium term.

"We are constantly studying the global trends in the sector and using this information to predict how we believe the production and the packaging solutions will evolve." Events like the International Berry Congress are perfect occasions to get to know the opinions of everyone involved in the sector, taking them into account for our plans as well," explains Pedro Martínez, of Induser.

Potato packing by farmsoft for less waste and better potato traceability in potato packing & processing space.

Potato packing by farmsoft for less waste and better potato traceability in potato packing & processing space.

Manage the entire potato packing process from delivery, processing (sizing, sorting, french fries manufacture, grading) thru to to sales, dispatch, and traceability & recall.

Market Report Austria, KW 13:
'Breather for potato packing companies, increasing onion exports'
The situation on the Austrian market for table potatoes has settled again after the extremely turbulent past weeks. Many households are now well stocked with food. Sales in the food retail trade have declined accordingly in recent days. In any case, the catering and wholesale trade has been almost at a standstill since the beginning of last week. Exports are also still not an issue. Uncertainty in view of the recent sales slackness does not arise however in the industry. Inventories are now quite manageable and should be sufficient for domestic supplies until the start of the early potato season. Farmers are also still willing to sell.

There is no change in prices compared to the previous week. In Lower Austria at the beginning of the week a price range of 22 to 28 Euro/100 kg depending on variety and quality was mentioned, whereby 25 Euro/100 kg are usually paid for wireworm-free, small packable premium goods with AMA quality seal. Prices of up to 32 Euro/100 kg were reported from Upper Austria. However, only very manageable quantities are available here.

Melon packing software for packers & processors, traceability, inventory, quality.  Melon packing & processing

Farmsoft delivers opportunities to reduce waste during the melon packing traceability & quality control, processing, storage, distribution phases. By enforcing best practices, FIFO (when practical), inventory expiry monitoring, and easy stock takes to minimize waste and maximize packing profit. Use bar-code managed inventory, labeling, 3D pallet storage, to help reduce waste.

Melon producer expands into juice and fresh-cut fruit
Savor Fresh Farms announces the addition of two product line extensions to their Kiss Melon program. Starting mid-June, Savor Fresh will offer both cold-pressed juice as well as fresh-cut melons.
Over the past several years, Savor Fresh Farms endeavored to broaden their Kiss Melon program. “We want to reach beyond the whole-melon category” says Milas Russell III, President of Savor Fresh Farms. The desire to expand led Savor Fresh to pursue a strategic mission to differentiate. After speaking with consumers, Savor Fresh landed on cold-pressed juice and fresh-cut fruit.
“Although the juice and fresh-cut categories are well supplied, our research suggests there is opportunity with Kiss Melons to create a niche,” says Mr. Russell “Consumers consistently demand great flavor and we are able to leverage our already recognized brand.”
The cold-pressed juice debuts with four main flavors, all created to highlight each Kiss melon variety. “Our goal is to create flavors that complement our melons,” states Patrinka Crammond, Retail Program Director at Savor Fresh. Each flavor has been carefully crafted so that consumers have a multi-level tasting experience.”

Mango packing & mango processing quality control software streamlines packing operations, guides employees to use best food handling practices, increases traceability, and reduces fruit waste.   Mango packing solution guides employees to use best mango handling practices to enhance traceability, reduce mango waste during mango processing, mango product manufacturing, and mango packing.

The farmsoft team has released a suite of Mango packing software solutions for processing, sorting, and grading of avocado and avocado value added manufacturing. The farmsoft Mango Packing solution is designed for all sizes of pack-houses and pack sheds, and includes extensive quality control solutions based on mango quality requirements.
Additional features for mango packers also include specific labeling requirements, with special label compliance for Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada, Africa, Turkey, Egypt with and PTI, CanGAP, EuroGAP, and more. Contact us to find out more about avocado farming, and avocado processing today.
Fruit Jungle Organics - Northern Territory Mangoes
"Our goal is to develop the certified organic market segments and increase our plantings for our brand."
A Northern Territory mango grower is hopeful that some late-flowering might help increase this season's crop size.
Harvesting begun at some farms in Darwin in early July, with small volumes sent to market, to date. The owner of Fruit Jungle Organics, in Humpty Doo, Darren Hill says mango production in the Territory is looking like it may be down, but it is early days.
"If you were to go by what has set on trees currently, I would say the NT crop is down," he said. "But in saying this, there is a big flower pushing around the NT currently and it is late. If this makes it through the hotter weather, then it will be a big season."

Co-operative fresh produce packing solutions from farmsoft help you increase traceability, reduce waste, and increase accountability.   Co-operative fresh produce packing
mange the entire co-op packing process – a software solution designed specifically for cooperative fresh produce packing.

Co-operative fresh produce packing is made easy with the farmsoft Post Harvest traceability and packing solution. Easily manage the entire fresh produce handling process. Designed specifically for co-operative fresh produce packing, sales, quality control, invoicing, dispatch, export and importers. Manage fresh produce that belongs to an unlimited number of co-operative growers or farmers. Ensure easy and accurate accountability of co-operative members fresh produce. Present co-operative members with details reports that analyze the break down of their pack-out and quality for each delivery.
for enterprise
For medium to large co-operative fresh produce packing companies that need complete traceability, inventory accountability, quality – implement farmsoft Post Harvest Enterprise edition. Dedicated solution consultants that have deployed multiple co-operative fresh produce packing solutions world wide will guide your company through the implementation process in no time at all. Access money saving features such as Co-Operative Container Management to ensure maximum accountability of totes, RPCs, lugs, and other fresh produce containers. Comprehensive and easy to use quality control helps co-operative members understand the quality of the fresh produce they supply and areas for improvement. Issue detailed returns with charts and graphs to explain what was packed, quality, grade, waste, and delivery details. Includes functionality excluded from the Small business edition (see comparison here). Post Harvest Enterprise farmsoft can be installed on your own server or accessed from the cloud – your choice.
Full support, full training, all features & benefits included.
co-operative fresh produce packing
Co-operative fresh produce packing solutions
co-operative fresh produce packing
Co-operative fresh produce packing solutions
farmsoft post harvest traceability solutions deliver real world benefits:
>> Make administration easy
>> Consistent quality control
>> Improve dispatch accuracy
>> Reduce waste
>> Easy and accurate traceability
>> Reduce compliance costs
>> Improve production planning
Choose how farmsoft co-operative fresh produce packing solutions will work in your business.

Fruit packing system

Fruit packing system makes traceability simple, and reduces administration costs and post harvest losses.

The farmsoft Fruit Packing System manages day to day operations of medium to large fruit and vegetable packing businesses. The solution delivers extensive benefits including making compliance easier, enforcing consistent quality control, and giving management more accurate reporting. The farmsoft Fruit packing system delivers total business management solutions for fresh produce processors and marketers. Talk to a farmsoft consultant today to discuss how your fruit packing system will make doing business easier. Farmsoft is available in USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Kenya, Egypt, Turkey and other regions (Please inquire).
Farmsoft Fruit packing system turbocharges packing operations. Fruit packing system farmsoft Fruit packing system brings together all parts of the fruit and vegetable packing business, resulting in better planning, better reporting, and better monitoring.
Through better planning, customer orders are filled on time, with the correct fresh produce of the correct specifications. Better reporting allows management to identify potential for improvement in areas such as employee performance, quality control, fresh produce waste, inventory management, and customer satisfaction. Better monitoring allows management to take rapid corrective actions before an issue becomes costly to the business.
In addition to the above benefits, farmsoft Fruit Packing Systems also reduce overall financial risk exposure in the event of a recall – by making the recall as small as possible, the cost to the business in the unlikely event of a recall is greatly reduced. Potentially, saving the business tens of thousands of dollars (or more if current systems used are manual).
The farmsoft Fruit Packing System quality control modules ensure that quality testing is standardized and consistent across the entire business, across multiple sites, multiple employees, and multiple product lines. This results in less waste by avoiding incorrect categorization of fresh produce, and better customer confidence in the quality and consistency of your fresh produce.

Farmsoft Fruit packing system make employee management easy by capturing the labor in the pack shed. Labor can be captured using time-sheets, or by scanning bar codes during the packing process. This information can later be exported to your chosen financial or payroll solution.

Packhouse processing software for easy management of fruit and vegetable processing and packing. For medium to large packers, importers, exporters of fresh produce.  Packhouse processing software for fruit and vegetables to increase profit, reduce waste, manage quality, traceability, inventory, international standards.
Ensuring accurate traceability and minimizing paperwork in the fresh produce industry is a challenge. To answer these challenges, farmsoft packhouse processing software provides a complete business management solution for fresh produce processors and marketers.

Automated pre-sizing process in water and automated robotic packing
Since the 1980s, Maf Roda Agrobotic has largely contributed to the evolution of the fresh fruit and vegetables grading sector by bringing grading machines from mechanical to electronic and automated systems. Maf Roda Agrobotic has also developed the process of pre-sizing in water, allowing its customers to work in two stages with their products for better control of their stocks, cost reduction of their packaging and ensuring them a higher reactivity in response to market orders.
Packhouse Processing
Packhouse Processing
But pre-sizing also has a major asset in its modus operandi: it is automated upon entry of products in the packhouse, with bins being emptied with raw products picked in orchards and with no manipulation of the fruits by operators. The constitution of batches of defined categories is carried out gently and without hand contact, the fruits are transferred in water channels and automatically sent to new bins, automatically cleaned by a bin washer from our range, for their storage in cold-rooms before their packaging according to the received orders.  

For the pre-sizing in water process, Maf Roda Agrobotic has been designing and producing water treatment and filtration systems for years, this year with new high performance solutions to fight against possible bacteria and viruses that may come from apples or orchards. Water used to convey apples goes through treatment and filtration units which use UV combined with hydrogen peroxide to remove pesticide residues, then through a disinfection process with chlorine dioxide to allow the water to be preserved without bacteria and viruses. These treatment and filtration units thus maintain conveying water with a quality close to that of drinking water. These solutions also have the advantage of operating with reduced water consumption and of presenting no rejects harmful to the environment.

Software solution to manage mixed salad loose leaf lettuce packing, > Reduce Mixed salad loose leaf lettuce packing waste, improve mixed salad loose leaf lettuce packing traceability, ensure accurate & timely mixed salad loose leaf lettuce packing orders.

Mixed salad loose leaf salad lettuce packing - full salad mixing, packing, and sales & distribution management.
Use farmsoft to manage the entire mixed salad loose leaf lettuce packing operation for any loose leaf specialty products including spinach, baby kale, green coral, mignonette, butter lettuce, 4 leaf salads, baby cos, rocket, arugula, chives, basil, bunch dill, bunch kale curly, bunch kale deck, bunch mint, bunch silver-beet, bunch tarragon, bunch thyme, tuscan kale, chard, continental parsley, cochran iceberg, cochran cos, mizuna, chard, salad blends, organic salad packs, Asian mix, braising mix, frissee, organic raw, raddichio, Lollorosa, red romaine, spring mix, wild arugula.
Configure the ingredients for each loose leaf salad recipe, project the required materials, produce orders based on requirements (or schedule new harvests or new plantings) to ensure mixed salad loose leaf lettuce packing is accurate and easy to manage.  

There is currently no similar product on the market in the U. S. Existing products that come closest to this product are quite different in content, containing compacted shredded vegetables or iceberg lettuce instead of loose-leaf vegetables. They also differ in appearance, sold in a cloudy package instead of transparent packaging products that are made from environmentally friendly materials.
Fresh salad and loose leaf solutions have been successfully marketed in Switzerland since the 1980's, and were introduced in the early 1990's in France, where they have already taken one-third of the linear shelf space in the chain stores and supermarkets. (After only nine months of operation, the leading French company is currently under buyout negotiations for as much as four times its initial capitalization.)
The processing technology for Fresh salad and loose leaf , which was developed in Europe, falls in the realm of "trade secrets." Although there is no patent protection, the technology is proprietary and unique, based upon a combination of machines, including vegetable processing units as well as other food product processing units ;a specific design for some of the machines; and a particular set of quality control methods.
However ingenious, the process remains relatively simple at first glance: raw material is trimmed and cored by hand; selected raw material is then mechanically and automatically cut, washed, rinsed, spin-dried, weighed and packaged. In fact, this proprietary process know-how is necessary to assure the distinctive high quality of the product and avoid production problems that lead to a deterioration of quality.
Fresh salad and loose leaf has secured the source of know-how via a license option granted by the leading French company manufacturing Fresh salad and loose leaf -type products.

Packhouse job management and pack shed job management for packers and processors of fresh produce.  Packhouse job management
Packhouse job management
Packhouse job management
From simple packhouse job management of batches, through to managing fresh produce dispatch jobs and orders – FarmSoft delivers rapidly, and accurately for pack shed management. Comprehensive tools manage every job in the packhouse and pack shed – from the moment fresh produce is ordered or delivered, through storage, sorting, grading, packing, processing, warehousing, and sales dispatch and marketing.

FarmSoft provides easy management of packhouse jobs, and pack shed jobs. Easily manage packing labor and all employee jobs with batch based packing management. Instruct multiple pack sheds on their daily packing jobs – using the FarmSoft work order system. Ensure orders are filled accurately and all employees are performing their packhouse jobs at the correct time, AND recording all the correct data in the performance of their jobs.Record customer orders using the Sales Order management modules, even record complex sales contracts and monitor the progress of orders being packed against available fresh produce. Plan harvests and packing jobs using crop harvest data and customer orders. Easily capture the cost of pack shed employment and pack shed jobs for employee cost reporting and export to financial and payroll packages.

Easily manage fresh produce dispatch jobs with pick sheets, on screen job building, rapid printing of paperwork (FarmSoft will present the paperwork required for each different customers dispatch), manage dispatch employees, and manage dispatch processes such as temperate gathering, quality control checks, and final load outs for transport companies.

FarmSoft Packhouse Job Management Software .

Managing packhouse and pack shed employees can be a challenge. FarmSoft understands that employees are sometimes transient, and unreliable. FarmSoft makes it easy to track pack shed work, jobs, and labor. Pack shed labor can be assigned to specific batches, allowing comprehensive reporting of batch costs including labor, packing materials, and batch ingredients to give an accurate figure that represents the true cost per unit of finished product from each batch. Packhouse and pack shed labor can be charged to farms (if you are packing on their behalf), or even charged to customers (special packing processes where you are required to pack using potentially their packing materials and possibly client owned produce or inventory).Contact your nearest FarmSoft consultant now to discuss packhouse job management opportunities for your pack shed or fruit and vegetable wholesaling operation.

Reference: Less fresh produce waste more traceability Accurate inventory shipping Apple packing, pear packing, citrus packing.

Cold store management for fresh produce, reduced waste and increased efficiency. Fresh produce inventory - Orders - Quality - Packing - Sales - Shipping - Recall & audit.  Cold store management software makes fruit and vegetable storage and packing easy, more efficient, and manageable. Traceability and reporting at your fingertips!

FarmSoft cold store management software delivers a wide range of easy to implement, practical solutions for make every day fruit packing easier and increases packhouse efficiency. FarmSoft cold store management software manages fresh produce before it’s even delivered. Purchase orders, through to store, packing, sorting, washing, repacking, cross docking, quality control, ripening management, sales contracts, sales orders, transport, dispatch, invoicing, and more.
FarmSoft cold store management software makes your packhouse more efficient and reduces post harvest waste. Cold store management software for fruit importers, exporters, packers, cross docking, and short and long term fruit storage. Cold store management software. FarmSoft’s easy to use functionality covers all operational requirements for import, export, packing and processing of fresh produce. Use FarmSoft’s cold store quality control modules to ensure minimum waste, and maximum customer satisfaction.
Contact FarmSoft today to deploy cold store management software in your fresh produce processing enterprise now! Talk to one of our expert consultants. Reference: farm management farming software best farm software agriculture software onion farming pineapple tomato farming with the best traceability software.

Since cold chain logistics requires maintaining temperature integrity, controlling all the processes involved means high levels of integration and coordination. Each supply chain step and partner—from farmer/harvester or producer to the ultimate seller—shares responsibility and there are multiple phases and facilities along the way which contribute to keeping products fresh.  For example, cold chain transportation units are commonly designed to keep ambient temperature constant, not to bring a shipment to the optimal temperature. But if a shipment is not adequately prepared and conditioned, its quality may be compromised.

Further, if a shipment will be exposed to extreme cold or heat along the transport route, considerations should be made to protect the products in transit. Transportation that extends over multiple days provides a host of opportunities for breaking the cold chain.

"Route selection is important in order to maximize cold chain performance, especially in winter and summer," says Hernandez. "In extreme temperatures, companies should select routes that minimize the number of times doors must be opened".

Flower packing software for traceability, reduced flower waste, and maximum flower processing efficiency.  Manage the entire flower sorting, grading, and packing process. From inventory management, to orders and dispatch management, quality control, packing cost management, employee costs, pack out reporting and more. Download full details of FarmSoft Flower Packing Software here.

FarmSoft Flower Packing Software provides cutting edge software for the management of flower processing and flower packing. Including flower quality control, sales, dispatch, staff & inventory control. All of the powerful features of FarmSoft Flower Packing can be used in the flower packing and flower export industry.
Try farmsoft flower packing solutions: Flower packing brochure, Flower packing app, Flower Quality Control & Inspection, Flower Traceability.
For exporters of flowers, FarmSoft flower packing software maintains exceptionally high standards of traceability for all flower processing, flower warehousing, and flower exporting businesses. Maintain the same safety and traceability levels as required for food safety.
FarmSoft Flower Packing software manages the entire process of receiving flowers from your own farm, external flower suppliers, quality control processes, grading, sorting, packing and wrapping, dispatch, sales, and invoicing process.

Edible flowers, until now a niche specialized market, are booming in Spain. "We have a few companies in Spain. Each of them has its own specificity and, although we are natural competitors, we are not rivals: there is a real need for corporatism to represent our interests in such an innovative sector. We are creating an association of edible flower producers to advance the profession and the market. This will allow us to be better represented before official bodies, which do not usually listen to small producers", comments Laura Carrera, CEO of Innoflower, a member of the Frutas Olivar de Mercamadrid group founded in 2016.

"The world of edible flowers is much wider than a simple flower added to a salad. That would be the product of the I range: the fresh flower, selected in the field and in the workshop, with no more processing than its visual selection. The date of preferential consumption goes from 3 to 12 days (depending on species), under controlled temperature between 4 and 6 ºC and without breaking the cold chain. Hence the difficulty of combining flowers with other plants, such as salads in bags (pre-prepared convenience food products), with other conservation requirements", continues Laura..

Hop processing software from farmsoft delivers new levels of traceability and efficiency to hop processors and hop milling.  Hop processing software from farmsoft provides cutting edge software for the management of hop processing and hop milling and packing. Including hop quality control, staff, inventory, hope sales, dispatch, and hop storage. All of the powerful features of FarmSoft Packhouse Management can be used in the hop processing, milling and packing industry.

For exporters of hops, farmsoft hop processing software maintains exceptionally high standards of traceability for all hop processing, hop warehousing, and hop exporting processes.
FarmSoft manages the entire process of receiving hops from your own farm or from external suppliers, through the quality control, grading, sorting, drying, milling, packing, dispatch and sales process.
FarmSoft Hop Packhouse Manager provides a flexible solution for the modern hop processor and hop miller. FarmSoft Hop Packhouse Manager is extremely flexible and can cater for the subtle differences between each hop processor. The solution integrates with the FarmSoft Hop Farm Management ERP solutions, with interfaces for all smartphones and tablets such as Android and Apple devices. Download the FarmSoft Hop Packhouse Software brochure.
hop processing software
Hop Processing / Hop Milling
Hop Processing & Milling Software: FarmSoft Hop Processing software delivers extensive business management for the contemporary hop processor and hop miller. Today’s modern hop miller is flooded with hop handling and food safety regulations from local regulations to export requirements. FarmSoft Hop Processing Manager helps make the regulatory headache go away, whilst assisting the hop packhouse to increase profitability and quality. Hop processing becomes more efficient and recording traceability and management records requires no effort with FarmSoft Hop Processing Manager. Remote access from smartphones keeps hop processors management and owners up to date with hop processing performance and allows mobile monitoring and hop processing control. Advanced features manage hop traceability, hop quality, hop flavor, hop aroma, and hop inventory.  A hop system is made up of a tensile structure with prestressed concrete posts connected by steel threads anchored to the ground. Valente developed a precise know-how specifically for this product and systems are set up following a few important design specifications.
Posts are generally larger and sturdier than those used for traditional orchards and vineyards, as they need to be taller to favor plant productivity.

Apple packing solution for apple packers & processors
Apple packing & fresh produce business management software
Bulk apples are delivered to the packing shed via trucks or wagons, where it is dumped into receiving bins and sorted for quality and size. Ripe fruit with a greenish tint is placed in special storage rooms where ethylene gas is used to bring out the color. Obvious low grade (fruit that is not suitable to sell for eating due to cosmetic defects) is performed and apples removed and sold for juice or other uses. Fruit that is ready to be packed into crates, totes, or flats is run through a washer and then air-dried and grade sorted automatically. A light coating of natural wax is applied to help the fruit retain moisture and enhance its appeal.
Apple fruit is transported via conveyor belts to the grading tables where it is visually sorted into three grades: top quality, average, and orchard run, and is then carried via belts to the packing tables. During the late 19th century top-grade fruit would be wrapped in printed tissue paper (a technique developed in the town of Orange, California in the 1880s) and placed in the boxes so that the printed names showed between the slats. In the 1920s tissue wrappers were replaced with printed logos, and ultimately paper stickers. Packed fruit is designated by size, based on the average number of pieces it takes to fill a box. In the days of wooden crates, sizes generally ranged from the 100s to the 390s, demonstrating the wide range of sizes. The sizes for the smaller cardboard boxes introduced in the 1950s and still in use today range from the 40s to the 210s, depending upon the variety of fruit being shipped.
Today, apple packing is performed by hand in a small number of packing sheds, even though Sunkist developed robotic packing machines in the 1980s. Packed apple boxes are stored in a "pre-cooler" to prepare them for the trip to market by truck or rail sea or air. Apples were shipped in ventilated railroad cars or insulated boxcars before the advent of the refrigerator lorry.  Poland, the EU’s largest apple producer, has been hardest hit this year with dry weather and two damaging frosts driving production down 43% from 2018 levels, according to USDA estimates. Germany, Hungary, and Romania have also taken large hits to their apple production this year. France and Spain, on the other hand, emerged seemingly unscathed and are expected to see year-over-year gains in apple output of 7% and 13%, respectively. Meanwhile, the US is dealing with trade battles of its own. India and China have imposed tariffs of 70% and 60%, respectively, on American apples. India was the second largest export market for US apples in 2018, but in the first eight months of this year, exports are down by two-thirds. The resulting excess supply has driven prices lower for all US apple producers, not just those who traditionally export their fruit. In mid-September, retail prices for US golden delicious apples dropped to 87 cents per pound on average, their lowest level since the USDA’s AMS Retail series began in 2010.

Coffee processing software

Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing. For medium to large coffee farms, processors, co-operatives.  Reasons to use farmsoft coffee processing & coffee farming software...
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Increase yield and quality using best practices for coffee farming
Manage the entire coffee farming process, for your own farms, and for other small farming operations that you purchase coffee beans from.

Best practice enforcement delivers higher coffee bean yield and better quality coffee beans, and a safer product with high levels of traceability.
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Coffee processing, grading, sorting, packing
Underground greenhouses were invented in pre-revolutionary Russia – at that time the Slavs were growing pineapples and shipping them to Europe.
Nowadays in Kazakhstan there is only one underground greenhouse (20 km from Ust-Kamenogorsk), where the Zemlyanyh’ family grow oranges, bananas and coffee, even in tough winter conditions.
No special technology is needed to equip an underground greenhouse. In order to get an exotic yield you need to dig a giant hole in the ground and set up a garden on the bottom of it. It works as a giant thermos – located below ground, it is sheltered from the wind.
‘A word combination “Banana Republic” is outdated now, - says Abish Baytenov, a gardener who plans on constructing an underground greenhouse in Akmolinsk region. Bananas yield a profit of millions of dollars’.
The Zemlyanyh’ family proved that underground gardens prevent the main heat loss – through the walls. One little furnace is enough to maintain subtropical climate in greenhouse.
The idea of underground greenhouses can and should be developed over vast territories of the country, and consequently this will solve the problem of food supply security.
Avocado Packing & Processing Solution Avocado Oil

Avocado packing software streamlines packing operations, guides employees to use best food handling practices, increases traceability, and reduces fruit waste.   Avocado packing software guides employees to use best food handling practices, increases traceability, and reduces fruit waste during avocado packing.

The farmsoft team has released a suite of Avocado packing software solutions for processing, sorting, and grading of avocado and avocado value added manufacturing. The farmsoft Avocado Packing solution is designed for all sizes of pack-houses and pack sheds, and includes extensive quality control solutions based on avocado quality requirements.

Additional features for avocado packers also include specific labeling requirements, with special label compliance for Australia, New Zealand, USA, and Canada, Africa, Turkey, Egypt with and PTI, CanGAP, EuroGAP, and more. Contact us to find out more about avocado farming, and avocado processing today.

Avocado packing software
Avocado packing software
Avocado packing software solution:  The Spanish mango campaign is about to start in the Axarquía of Malaga, where the harvest of the Osteen, the most common variety, is expected to kick off in early September.

"Imported mangoes have reached very high prices, so the European market is eagerly awaiting the arrival of Spanish mangoes, given their proximity and quality," says Álvaro Martínez, manager of Axarfruit, which is currently marketing Palmer mangoes from Brazil. The company also produces and markets organic avocados and lemons.

Avocado Packing & Processing Solution Avocado Oil
Avocado Packing & Processing Solution Avocado Oil
“We will start marketing organic Osteen mangoes in week 36. The fruit is arriving somewhat late, but with optimal quality and sufficient volumes. The subtropical sector in Malaga is increasingly aware of the fact that the campaign cannot start before September, when the fruit isn't sufficiently ripe yet. The greatest asset that Spanish mangoes have in the European markets is their quality and we must protect it,” says Álvaro Martinez.

Avocado Packing & Processing Solution Avocado Oil
Avocado Packing & Processing Solution Avocado Oil
High demand for avocados due to lower prices
According to the Axarfruit manager, the summer avocado campaign has gone fairly well, as the demand has been quite high. “The truth is that, during the first months of the pandemic, the demand went crazy and we were overwhelmed with orders. Then, with the massive arrival of Peruvian avocados, prices dropped, as the Andean country shipped smaller volumes to the United States due to it being well supplied by California and Mexico. 

Chili processing & manufacturing software

Chili powder manufacturing, crushed chili, powdered chili processing, and chili oil manufacturing. Reduce chili waste, improve chili traceability, ensure accurate & timely chili orders.

Farmsoft app for chili processing & manufacturing of chili powder, crushed chili, chili oil, chili sauce, chili paste, pickled chili, dried chili, chili food service products and other chili value added products.
Extremely pleased with farmsoft and the customer service
As the Food safety director for our company, the addition of farmsoft to our business has made the audit process and record keeping one less thing to worry about. We have reduced certain audit processes by half the time it took us before having farmsoft. Traceability and Mock recalls are a breeze now. farmsoft delivers everything and more than the other Post Harvest software's out there. Highly, Highly recommend farmsoft.

Chilies produced using traditional practices are liable to quantitative and qualitative deterioration that ultimately results into economic losses to the growers and the exporters. Moreover the occurrence of toxins in the produce has an impact on the health of consumers. Chili processing software aims to provide safe and better quality chilies to consumers by adopting modern and systematic methods of processing. It also aims to protect whole and powdered chilies from contamination of toxic chemicals of health concern by bringing improvements in storage, processing and marketing procedures. The course will develop expertise among different stake holders in chili processing by providing them specific training, keeping in view their job requirements.

Chili dehydrating, chili rack drying and storage can be managed in farmsoft using chili batch management, giving you maximum chili traceability both up and down the supply chain. Plan your chili manufacturing processes using farmsoft's chili production and projection dashboard. Project required chili to manufacture each order and schedule chili manufacturing and inventory requirements in seconds. New farmsoft is full of features to manage chili processing, chili oil manufacturing, chili whole red chili pods, crushed chili, chili powder, paprika powder, caribe.  Flexible chili processing quality control software can be used to reduce the incorrect categorization of chili processing as waste, leading to higher pack shed profits and more consistent quality, with improved customer satisfaction. Farmsoft manages chili processing businesses from end to end, providing a comprehensive chili processing business management solution.

Production planning fresh produce fruit vegetable packing and processing app manages fresh produce packing, inventory, traceability, shipping and sales. Less waste, more profit!   Fresh produce production planning for fruit, vegetables, coleslaw, leafy mixed products and more... Make better planning decisions, reduce waste, deliver exacting orders.

Production planning in fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing

Fresh produce production planning for fruit, vegetables, coleslaw, leafy mixed products and more... Make better planning decisions, reduce waste, deliver exacting orders.

Fill each order with 100% accuracy, zero fresh produce waste, efficient packing, and value adding processes to maintain traceability and maximize efficiency.

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Choose from a range of fresh produce production planning tools designed to make your operation run at maximum efficiency with least effort.

Optionally choose to use batch packing in farmsoft. Batch level traceability allows recalls both up and down the supply chain, all batch inputs have their traceability details captured in real time, making the Batch Number an easy to use traceability key, one of many that can be used in farmsoft.

Customers can enter their fresh produce orders using the farmsoft Fresh Produce Customer Portal, this gives you up to date access to fresh produce orders, changed, and cancellations to better plan production.

Monitor batch outputs, and batch waste. If waste exceeds a pre-determined percent, an email alert containing the Batch Recall report is sent to management showing the inputs, outputs, and waste levels.

Easy batch based packing and processing allows ad-hoc and pack to order processes and pre planned scheduled production.

Batches become the central traceability point (and cost center) for all fresh produce/food. Mix multiple varieties of produce, from multiple suppliers and maintain strong traceability at the same time. Analyze batch waste and quality with ease. farmsoft even supports value added processes such as food manufacturing, drying, blending, juicing and more – handy for coffee, hops, and herbs, and processed food manufacturing. You can even mix unlimited batches with other batches to make a “final product” without losing traceability and tracking the cost of finished product.

Project required raw materials and packaging materials

View undersupply or oversupply of raw mateials (actual and projected)

All production is assigned to a line manager, inventory manager, and production line.

Project orders Vs. your estimated sales, Vs. planned harvest volumes* (requires farming modules)

Shedule multiple orders to be backed in a single batch

On screen alerts inform your team of which materials must be packed where and when and by whom

production planning fruit and vegetables fresh produce
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing

Production planning > Project required inventory

Easily compare required, available, and any shortage of fresh produce inventory during production planning. Plan daily packing, weekly, packing, or even months in advance for planting, ordering, harvesting. Guarantee all fresh produce products are available in the correct quantity at the correct time. Use the farmsoft fresh produce customer portal to access fresh produce orders faster and plan production better.

Production planning >

Easily assign multiple orders to batches and production lines with one click!

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing

Production line managers and inventory managers can receive instant on screen alerts letting them know a new batch has been scheduled, for inventory managers, this directs them to collect the required inventory and take it to the correct production line.
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
‍Production plan
Manage & monitor batch costs with the ability to capture labor costs, transport, packing material cost, and fresh produce costs.

Projecting the workflow of your fresh produce packing business made easy...
Create unlimited batches, with inputs such as fresh produce, packing materials, and any other inventory such as ingredients and additives.
Full traceability of all batch input.s
Product processed in a batch can be re-used in another (or unlimited) batch.
Batch progress management and monitoring.
Assign multiple Sales Order Items to a batch, creating batch work orders & instructions, or simply assign customers to a batch.
Run unlimited packing/processing lines at the same time.

Mix unlimited sources and varieties of produce (ie: from your farm, external suppliers, co-operative growers) into one batch while maintaining traceability.
Easy to access dashboard reporting, analysis and KPI’s
Assign labor & materials to batches for cost monitoring & reporting.
When creating outputs from a batch (usually finished product) packaging materials can be automatically consumed and applied to the batch.
Configure best manufacturing practices and processes to guide employees through the best practice for manufacturing the finished product.
Associate quality control tests to manufacturing processes, FarmSoft will prompt the user to perform QC when required.

‍We present an integrated tactical planning model for the production and distribution of fresh produce. The main objective of the model is to maximize the revenues of a producer that has some control over the logistics decisions associated with the distribution of the crop. The model is used for making planning decisions for a large fresh produce grower in Northwestern Mexico. The decisions obtained are based on traditional factors such as price estimation and resource availability, but also on factors that are usually neglected in traditional planning models such as price dynamics, product decay, transportation and inventory costs. The model considers the perishability of the crops in two different ways, as a loss function in its objective function, and as a constraint for the storage of products. The paper presents a mixed integer programming model used to implement the problem as wells as the computational results obtained from it.

Business intelligence for fresh produce wholesale, packer, processor, import/export
Meetings and workshops provide a forum to discuss industry issues and provide updates on our current projects. 100% strawberry Rankings by country Ms Hill said she would like to see a more collaborated approach on a national level which brought together industry and government management and response mechanisms.

Food production in Luxembourg Albania Shackell G (2008) Traceability in the meat industry—the farm to plate continuum. Int J Food Sci Technol 43:2134-2142 CrossRef Google Scholar USA FDA registered Brand owner obtains company prefix. RELATED This page was last edited on 10 September 2017, at 06:04.

Allows for information to be utilised for a number of purposes: pack house management, quality assurance, supply chain management, compliance and production and consumer feedback. The transportation provider only knows about... itself. PTI is administered by the Produce Marketing Association, GS1 US, the United Fresh Produce Association, and the Canadian Produce Marketing Association.

‍Production planning in fresh food industries is a challenging task. Although modern Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) systems could provide significant support, APS implementation numbers in these industries remain low. Therefore, based on an in-depth analysis of three sample fresh food industries (dairy, fresh and processed meat), the author evaluates what APS systems should offer in order to effectively support production planning and how the leading systems currently handle the most distinguishing characteristic of fresh food industries, the short product shelf life. Starting from the identified weaknesses, customized software solutions for each of the sample industries are proposed that allow to optimize the production of fresh foods with respect to shelf life. The book thereby offers valuable insights not only to researchers but also to software providers of APS systems and professionals from fresh food industries

Planning carrot production is worthwhile
"We started the fall-winter carrot campaign in early October on 100 hectares. One beneficial commercial trend is to have suitable sales agreement in place with the European retail chains before sowing is carried out," explains Sergio Trevisan (in the photo), sales manager for Gruppo Mazzoni - Fresh Division.

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
"Of the 100 hectares cultivated, 60% is uncovered while the rest is covered with mulching films. We will cover the company's needs until late April, then we will continue with the Sicilian production."

Although the weather has not been exactly favorable, Mazzoni registered yields of 60 tons per hectare and quality is very good with grades 20/40 and a few exceptions of grades 40+."

"The fact that we own over a thousand hectares of sandy soils with good water availability means we can rotate crops (tomatoes, potatoes), which is an added value. Current quotations are €0.25/kg and have been stable for over a month. As usual, if there are any variations, they will be upwards."

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
After a few years of productive instability that have led to marked fluctuations of weekly quotations, the situation has stabilized over the last 4/5 years on the Adriatic coast as well and there have been no shortages and no excesses.

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
"This has generated economic sustainability for the entire chain. It is also true that 70% of the production is carried out by professional players and that productions are planned with Italian and foreign clients."

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
 Production planning in fresh food industries is a challenging task. Although modern Advanced Planning and Scheduling (APS) systems could provide significant support, APS implementation numbers in these industries remain low. Therefore, based on an in-depth analysis of three sample fresh food industries (dairy, fresh and processed meat), the author evaluates what APS systems should offer in order to effectively support production planning and how the leading systems currently handle the most distinguishing characteristic of fresh food industries, the short product shelf life. Starting from the identified weaknesses, customized software solutions for each of the sample industries are proposed that allow to optimize the production of fresh foods with respect to shelf life. The book thereby offers valuable insights not only to researchers but also to software providers of APS systems and professionals from fresh food industries.  nyone can put seeds in the ground and grow a lot of food. But if you don’t know what you’re going to do with it, it can be a problem. Market plans, production plans, and work plans are critical when you sell fresh produce.

Susan Jutz of Solon, Iowa, has been growing vegetables for a CSA – or Community Supported Agriculture – program for over 20-years. She says the more organized you are in January, the better the rest of the year will go. Start by pouring over last year’s records.

"I have harvest and yield data. We have workers who work on our farm, we have time sheets, we look at that to see where the work load was and what I need to change. We have planting plans, we have very detailed planting plans. Crop rotation is a part of it, cover crop data," says Jutz. "Everybody needs to have a business plan, and know what your goals are, and what those needs are for your family."

Have a production plan for your markets. What do your customers like, and how much do you need to produce to meet those needs?

Carmen Black works on the farm with Jutz. She says a planting diagram and schedule is critical because the challenge is to have a high-quality product when you need it throughout the growing season.

"Some important things here, is that we have the distance apart in the row, number of days till harvest from transplant, and then different dates here in our target harvest date," says Black. "So these are just things when you’re making your own planting plans that you might want to have on there. Things to think through."

This is also the time to order seeds from those big, beautiful seed catalogs you’re getting in the mail. Jutz says if you sit down with those catalogs and don’t have a plan, you can spend a lot of money on seeds that will just sit in the cupboard.

A smarter factory - connecting buying, sales and production departments
The processing and packaging of bulk agricultural products is labour intensive and error prone. Eqontrol, a new and intelligent software solution, connects machines and quickly solves problems in complex production environments.

Whether you’re working with a small packaging line or within a larger production environment, as a factory manager you’re facing logistic and operational challenges on a daily basis. Problems arise when an operator has to switch between lots and manually change machine settings of all components in a production line. The packaging line, specifically, is as efficient as its weakest part: even a single mistake – for example a wrong line in a recipe – can reduce the capacity of the whole line and potentially even result in a rejected order. Furthermore, finding the right, qualified personnel is an ongoing challenge for today’s factory managers.

What if there were a solution that drastically reduces your changeover time, avoids track & tracing issues, reduces leftovers and gives you a clear overview of your production line’s performance? Eqontrol is a digital operator that connects your buying, sales and production departments, increasing efficiency and preventing unpleasant surprises. All possible scenarios can simply be controlled from one intuitive and self-explanatory interface.

Smart packing
Each order has specific requirements for type of product, quality, weight and packaging. The weighing and packaging machines must be emptied out regularly and changed to the correct settings. When a new order comes in, the whole process starts over again. A good operator can connect all parts of the factory floor together thanks to years of experience, but it remains a labour intensive and error prone process, resulting in varying undesirable situations. The larger a factory gets, the more complex the work becomes. That’s why the support of a digital system that thinks ahead can be a real lifesaver.

With Eqontrol, you can control all machines from one clear interface. The intelligent system allows the different parts within a production line to communicate with each other. Switching between different configurations is as simple as selecting the desired output on a tablet or desktop: the machines will automatically respond and be set correctly.

The minimized changeover time between orders is a major advantage, just like the minimized downtime: your packaging line will no longer run out of labels, pallets or ink, because it will tell you beforehand if anything needs to be refilled. The highly intuitive software allows you to visualize the process, giving the operator a handy overview at hand of the entire production line. Furthermore, it allows you to create reports, enabling you to plan an accurate production schedule based on data from past orders. The system also automatically backs up all information regularly in the cloud through an internet connection, but software and data are stored at the factory itself for maximum security.

Smart grading
When you invest in an optical grader that replaces a manual sorting line and checks the quality of your product both on the outside and on the inside, of course you’re looking for a quick return of investment and maximum output of your machine. Eqontrol helps you get the most out of your grader by cleverly planning or combining different orders. Seeing as the grader is developed to collect information from each individual product, it would be a shame not to do anything with those data.

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Bert Loedeman (l.) and Jaap Trouwborst.

Eqontrol tracks and traces your agricultural product from sorting to packaging, resulting in several advantages. For example, a faulty batch can be easily traced back to a specific supplier, so you can still sell the rest of the order for a good price. Furthermore, Eqontrol gives you the opportunity to discuss product quality with your suppliers, as you now have an insight to their delivered results and consistency over time. Thanks to Eqontrol, meeting your clients’ track & trace requirements is no longer an issue.

Smart storage
Finally, Eqontrol is also a solution for the largest and most complex factories that use automated warehouses, thanks to its intelligent positioning technology. The system uses the information about individual product batches, collected during the grading process, when placing these batches into the warehouse. In an onion factory, for example, one batch of onions may be more humid than the other, so the system will make sure to store each individual crate in the best climate zone in the warehouse. It also means the system will make sure the orders go out in the right order (first in, first out).

Smart team work
Eqontrol offers full chain integration of all factory departments and optimises the flow between them: from buying and processing to storage and sales. It’s important for these departments to clearly communicate with each other, but especially in large factories, connecting these separate teams with each other remains challenging. Eqontrol brings them together so that everybody knows where they’re standing: for example, it helps sales managers to sell promises that the production department can actually deliver. Thanks to the data that Eqontrol collects, a very reliable planning can be made based on performance data from past orders. Instead of relying on an operator’s intuition, the dashboard shows live data concerning efficiency at any moment of the production process. It reduces human errors and rejected orders, enabling you to increase your margins.

For more information:

Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing
Production planning - fresh produce fruit & vegetable packing and processing


The production and distribution planning of fresh produce is a complex optimization problem, which is affected by many factors, including its perishable characteristics. Farmers cannot guarantee the efficiency and accuracy of production and distribution decisions. Given the close relationship between the production and distribution of annual fresh produce, the intention of our research is to solve the two-stage joint planning problem and maximize the revenue of farmers ultimately. The internal relationship matrix between the two links of production and distribution is established. On this basis, we propose a mixed-integer programming (MIP) model, which covers the constraints of labor and capital. The decisions obtained are not only based on price estimation and resource availability but also on the impact of the agricultural Internet-of-Things technology and the special requirements of each distribution channel. Numerical experiments demonstrate that when the planting area is 1, 4, and 6 ha, the proposed joint planning model can improve the distribution revenue of farmers by 7.92%, 4.15%, and 4.94%, respectively, compared with the traditional separate decision-making approach of distribution. According to different decision scenarios, management insights have been obtained. For example, farmers should carefully sort and package products as well as choose a timely and safe third-party express delivery company. Additionally, the proposed strategy can evaluate the impact of distribution channels on farmers' revenue.

Gambia: Vegetable growers trained on marketing, gender mainstreaming
The West Africa Agriculture Productivity Project (WAAPP), in collaboration with the Gambia Agricultural Emergency Support Project (GAESP) recently held a two-day training for vegetable growers on marketing and gender mainstreaming.

The capacity development workshop brought together 80 women vegetable growers on an all-year-round vegetable production and value- chain addition at Chamen Agricultural and Seed Multiplication Centre in the North Bank Region (NBR).

Speaking at the event, the regional agricultural director for NBR, Dr. Saikou E Sanyang outlined the importance of building the capacities of vegetable growers on the importance of group management, marketing, gender mainstreaming and production planning. Dr. Sanyang said promoting an all-year-round vegetable production would increase nutritional supplementation and income. According to him, training farmers on Natural Agricultural Resource policies would ease effective utilisation of technological transfer and enhance the attainment of an all-year-round vegetable production, and by extension contribute to poverty reduction. The regional agricultural director said training farmers on marketing strategies would obviously boost income and group management. He thus thanked the West Africa Agriculture Productivity Project and Gambia Agricultural Emergency Support Project for providing the funds.

Mustapha Saidy, the deputy governor of the region underscored government's commitment in food security and livelihood development. He said capacity development is crucial in the attainment of food production, noting that it would enhance ability to adopt best agricultural practices on vegetable production.

Deputy governor Saidy hailed the efforts of the Regional Agricultural Directorate in Kerewan for strengthening farmer extension workers' relation on the transfer of skills and knowledge on production and productivity.

The NBR Women's Bureau Programme officer, Fatou Ceesay said mainstreaming gender into food production would empower producers to increase production and improve livelihood. She said the training would complement Women's Bureau efforts in enhancing gender mainstreaming and boost income, through adoption of enhanced marketing strategies.

The workshop participants hailed the efforts of WAAPP, GAESP and the NBT Agricultural Directorate for their steadfastness in building farmers' capacity.

Recent environmental and food safety concerns in the United States produce sector have brought about increasing interest in organic fruit and vegetable production as an alternative to traditional fruit and vegetable enterprises. As a result, the production and marketing of organic crops has expanded steadily during the 1980s. However, as more organic producers enter the industry and it becomes more and more competitive, existing producers are forced to become better growers and more effective marketers.

Most organic farmers (and other agribusinessmen) have heard the phrase “effective marketing is the key to profitability,” but many do not fully understand what this means. The tendency is to associate “marketing” with “selling” or “advertising.” These activities are, in fact, only small aspects of marketing. From a grower perspective, marketing may be defined as the total system of business activities designed to plan, price, promote and distribute products/services that satisfy the wants/needs of potential/present customers, while achieving the business objectives.

The major emphasis in this definition is the customer, first and foremost. The produce business that provides the customer with what he wants, when and how he wants it, will be the most successful. However, it is important to note that even if a demand exists for an organic product you can supply, there is no point in doing so unless you can do it at a profit. Thus, successful marketing depends on developing a thorough marketing plan that outlines how to supply the produce reliably, consistently and at a profit.

In a state as large and diverse as Texas, it is impossible to develop a general marketing plan that would apply to all organic growers because management skills, market opportunities and resource availabilities vary considerably in each area of the state. Thus, step-by-step guidelines are presented which can be used to develop an individualized marketing plan. The planning framework presented in this paper (see Figure 1) represents an application of the total strategic marketing planning process. It is practical and workable, and with slight modification it can be used for any specific organic produce operation. While developing a market plan alone cannot guarantee success, it does ensure that factors affecting the profitability and survivability of the organic business are considered. This is especially important for organic crops whose marketing does not always follow traditional channels.

complete flow model for market planning
Figure 1. Flowmodel of the marketing planning process.

step 1 in flowmodel, perform situation analyis
Step 1. Analyze the present marketing situation.

The market planning process should begin at least 6 months prior to harvest. The first step in the process is to analyze the current marketing situation (sometimes referred to as a market opportunity analysis). Marketing objectives cannot be determined before an assessment of where the operation presently stands in its total marketing environment is carried out. In conducting this analysis, the grower typically gathers two types of information: (1) internal or business related information; and (2) external or market related information.

Internal information gathering involves the grower learning about the capabilities of the produce business itself competing in the marketplace. General categories that need to be investigated include: (1) financial resources and capabilities; (2) the facilities available to the firm; and (3) strengths and weaknesses of the business (see Table 1).

External information gathering involves the grower learning as much as possible about the markets in which the organic fruit or vegetable business is planning to compete. Major categories to be investigated here include: (1) environmental constraints; (2) market conditions; and (3) an analysis of competitors (see Table 2).
Table 1. Internal information gathered In the situation analysis

Internal Information:

(1) Financial resources and capabilities:

Gross profits and net earnings after taxes
Financial ratios-return on investment, breakeven analysis, leverage ratio, current ratio, age of accounts receivable, inventory turnover, working capital turnover and profit margins
Cash flow analysis (actual and/or projected)
Enterprise budgets should be developed for crops currently produced and planned for production. Fixed costs (depreciation, interest, insurance, and taxes) should be allocated on a per unit basis in addition to variable costs (materials labor, etc.) Record keeping systems should track all inputs used in producing the organic produce.
Borrowing capabilities
(2) Operating facilities:

Production capacity-based on land, labor and equipment availabilities
Production scheduling (of cultural practices)
Inventory levels (previous production and pack-out rates) – by variety, grade, size and loss rates (may affect markets targeted in the short run)
Manpower requirements (from budgets and production scheduling)
Equipment requirements (from budgets and scheduling)
(3) Competitive strengths and weaknesses:

Skills and interests of the producer
Competitive status of the organic business (name recognition, quality perception, etc.)
Market share projections (as compared to competitors)
Competitiveness of prices-volume discounts
Advertising and promotion capabilities
Distribution methods and channels
Table 2. External Information gathered In the situation analysis

External Information:

(1) Environmental constraints:

Costs and availabilities of materials
Costs and availabilities of energy (fuel, electricity, etc.)
Economic conditions-inflation, interest rates, capital availability
Technology changes-changes in production practices
Political environment-environmental quality, pesticide issues, etc.
(2) Market conditions:

Market size-population, age, family size, number of households, income levels, rate of growth in an area, per capita consumption of vegetables
Geographic concentrations–determines shipping necessities and patterns
Market segments (alternative outlets)–these include:
Grocery stores (independents and chains)
Wholesale grocers
Wholesale distributors ( schools, hospitals, institutions, hotels, restaurants)
Packers or other growers with market contracts
Cooperatives and/or marketing associations
Food service markets
Brokers and commission merchants–identify buyers and coordinate sales
Direct marketing alternatives (PYO, roadside stands, farmers’ markets)
Market window analysis–to determine periods at which vegetable crops can be marketed profitably
(3) Analysis of competitors:

Number of competitors in the market area
Market shares (industry surveys)
Strengths and weaknesses in terms of prices (last 3 to 5 years), quality, promotion, advertising, costs of production, shipments (last 3 to 5 years), transportation costs.
Sources of Information:

Yellow pages (general headings-Food Brokers, Food Products, Retail and Wholesale, Fruit and Vegetable Growers and Shippers, Fruits and Vegetables, Wholesale and Retail Grocers)
The Packer’s Red Book-The Packer, Shawnee Mission, KS
The Blue Book-Produce Reporter Co., Wheatley, IL
State or national trade associations (Produce Marketing Association, Newark, DE or the United Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Association, Alexandria, VA)
County Extension agents and horticulturist-TAEX
Texas Department of Agriculture (can help locate potential buyers)
Trade publications (The Packer, Pronet, OMNIS, etc.)
Trade shows (PMA, UFFVA, etc.)
Target Market Selection

Once possible organic markets have been segmented (Table 2), the task at hand becomes one of deciding which markets to target. This is based on the research findings and opportunities identified earlier. After segmentation, certain target market options exist for the firm:

Aim at the entire market (all segments) with a single marketing approach.
Pursue several different segments with different marketing approaches for each segment.
Focus on just one segment with a very direct marketing approach.
In the case of organic produce marketing, it is probably best to employ the second option and target two or three segments including a primary market, a secondary market and a salvage market. The primary market is the market in which the organic grower would like to compete. The secondary market is one in which prices may be lower but the market may be closer in proximity, allowing the grower to compete more directly. The salvage market may be a direct market alternative or a direct wholesale operation directed toward final consumers.

For each of the target markets selected, the grower should attempt to assess the following buyer needs or characteristics:

grades, sizes and volume to be purchased
shipment and delivery dates
prices to be received (any price adjustments)
transportation costs
quality of produce when delivered
guarantees or return policies
optimal time to contact buyer for orders
actual or estimated share of buyer’s total volume
problems encountered (delivery, pricing, volume, uniformity)
special requirements of the buyer (lot size, delivery, etc.)
Contacts with potential buyers to assess this information should begin at least 6 months prior to harvest. Calls for an appointment should be made before visiting buyers because they are busy and do not appreciate unannounced visits. Samples of the produce (either an actual sample or pictures of the produce) win give buyers an idea of the quality of produce. Previous business references and estimates of prices desired and expected/potential volume should be given to buyers to aid in their decision making. At the initial meeting, the grower should convince the buyer that he has the necessary expertise to grow high quality produce organically. Certification documents should be presented to help assure the buyer of this expertise. Once agreements between buyer and seller have been reached, the grower should contact the buyer at least 1 week before shipment/pick-up to indicate produce availability. Most buyers would prefer 2 to 3 weeks notice of upcoming produce availability.

Step 2, determine marketing objectives
Step 2. Set some realistic marketing objectives.

Once the marketing environment has been analyzed and target markets selected, objectives must be developed to provide the direction and guidance for the grower. These objectives must be in line with the overall objective of the business as well as with the financial objectives and production objectives.

Marketing objectives are typically set in such areas as profit, sales volume, market share, pricing, advertising and promotion. In determining marketing objectives, the grower should be guided by a number of criteria. Marketing objectives should be measurable, specific, consistent with overall business goals, attainable and have specific deadlines. The determination of realistic marketing objectives requires a sound situational analysis (step 1). Since these objectives will guide the entire plan and its strategies, they have to be realistic and clear. However, they may need to be refined over time. The setting of objectives is an ever-changing part of the planning process. As market situations and competition change, so must the marketing objectives.

step 3, formulate marketing strategies
Step 3. Formulate the appropriate marketing strategies.

At this point in the process, the grower’s task is to determine an overall strategy to achieve the defined objectives. There are four basic market strategy positions that might be considered by the organic producer. These include: (1) market penetration; (2) market development; (3) product development; and (4) diversification. After determining objectives, the organic producer needs to decide upon the particular strategy position that will best accomplish the objectives.

In a market penetration strategy, a grower attempts to fill the needs of an existing market with its present product mix. For organic producers, this type of strategy may entail a number of approaches. For example, the grower may wish to increase the number of customers in present markets, or he may wish to increase the consumption of particular vegetables by both present and potential customers. In addition, the grower also wants to prevent competitors from taking away present customers.

A market development strategy is one in which the grower attempts to find new markets for his existing organic products. The grower hopes to find new uses and/or new customers in new markets for crops that are already being produced and marketed. It is, of course, possible for any grower to employ market penetration and market development strategy at the same time, since they involve the same products the grower is currently producing, with only the markets differing.

A product development strategy exists when the grower attempts to produce new crops or varieties for customers in present markets. A number of approaches may be used here as well. For example, a product improvement may involve a new crop (variety) actually replacing an existing crop that is slipping in the market. The new crop may be less expensive to produce, more appealing or serve the customer’s needs better. Another example is when more organic products are grown to offer more choice or wider variety to existing customers. Or maybe current products are offered in slightly different forms (processed). With this type of strategy, the grower wants to make a better impression in a present market through product changes and/or additions.

A diversification strategy occurs when the grower attempts to attract new groups of customers by moving into totally new markets with new products. This might involve taking a new crop (variety) which was developed for present markets to totally new markets that the business did not previously serve. With this approach, the grower hopes to move into markets not served with new products. Diversification is the most risky of the four strategies because it involves departure from both the product and market experience of the firm.

step 4, implement tactical procedures
Step 4. Establish tactical procedures for implementing strategy.

After selecting the overall strategy, the next step in the planning process involves implementing and carrying out these strategies. This requires the development of marketing programs which involve decisions about product development, pricing, promoting and distributing the organic produce.

These areas are often referred to as the marketing mix. Decisions concerning the marketing mix are presented in Table 3. This list is not inclusive nor do all decisions or activities pertain to every organic producer or packer. The marketing mix is dependent upon which target markets are selected, the type of market strategy chosen and the requirements of each buyer.
Table 3. Product mix decisions regarding product, pricing, promotion and distribution.

Product Activities

Determining the most effective product mix (crops, varieties pack sizes, etc.) to serve each market segment (should be based on costs of production and buyer demand).
Using attractive and efficient containers that hold up during storage and transportation and can possibly be used as point-of-purchase material or display materials at the retail level.
Deciding whether to use bulk-bin or volume-filled containers.
Providing guarantees for each product in the product line (certification).
Planning and introducing new produce items (varieties, pack sizes, etc.) when possible.
Providing information on the care of the produce after delivery.
Scheduling crop plantings and selecting varieties to take advantage of periods of favorable prices.
Promotional Activities

Selecting and prioritizing target markets and geographical marketing area.
Determining whether advertising is required for the target markets selected.
Selecting appropriate sales promotional media such as point-of-purchase materials, samples, result demonstrations or trade shows.
Pricing Activities

Determining base prices for each product in each market served (should be based on costs of production). If growers have developed costs of production information, they have, the necessary information in negotiating prices necessary to meet or exceed break-even price.
Using advance pricing to help retailers pre-plan and schedule promotions.
Determining credit policies.
Distribution Activities

Determining the type of reseller system most appropriate, if any, given the market served and the products involved.
Motivating the wholesalers and retailers to push the business’ product (point-of-purchase materials, cooperative advertising, etc.).
Providing protective packaging for goods in transient and storage.
Determining the modes of transportation to be used.
Determining field inventory requirements and maintaining these requirements.
Providing effective communication with buyers so that shortages can be minimized.
Providing frequent small shipments, even on weekends if necessary.
Providing in-transit temperature control measures to ensure quality.

step 5, evaluate and control
Step 5. Evaluation and control procedures

Performance of the plan must be measured, and this means that standards must be developed against which performance can be evaluated. Typically, the grower develops quantitative measures of overall planning performance such as the following:

Comparing total sales and profits with figures from preceding years.
Measuring performance relative to competitors (i.e., market share).
Performing a sales analysis by breaking down sales into categories such as geography, customers and product.
Performing a distribution cost analysis by determining the relative profitability of present ways of doing business through various channels.
Measuring customer satisfaction with surveys and other market feedback.
In addition, immediate feedback concerning performance can be obtained by calling after each delivery to determine if the shipment arrived on time, if the produce was in proper condition, and if the buyer had any problems. The grower should take immediate steps to correct any problems and satisfy the buyer.

The importance of proper and timely evaluation cannot be overlooked. Communication between the grower and buyer is essential for success. Buyers will try a new supplier “one time.” If they are not pleased with the produce, they will look elsewhere. A good evaluation system and prompt corrective actions, when required, can assist growers in maintaining their individual market share.

Properly conducted, this final step allows the grower to evaluate what is right and wrong and to make corrective actions. This step forces the grower to consider how the results of each planning period’s evaluation shall be used to improve performance in the next planning period. Information gained in the control and evaluation analysis may be used to update objectives, to alter strategy approaches and even change tactics to be used. When this happens, the planning process has come full circle and the entire process begins again.

Key Factors in Vegetable Production
Success in vegetable production whether it is organic or not is greatly depended on a well thought out plant. Key factors that should be considered carefully during the planning stage of the farming operation are: site selection, water supply and quality, crop and variety selection, and, market development. If the wrong decision is made with regard to anyone of these, the operation is doomed for failure.

Site Selection –
Minimizing potential production problems is essential to all farming operations. This is especially true for organic producers. One of the most effective means of reducing potential problems is through proper field site selection. Three points should be considered when selecting a field to produce vegetables: field topography, soil type, and water availability and quality.

Field Topography –
Topography refers to the physical characteristics of the overall field site and includes such conditions as; contour, soil depth, water and air drainage, and, the presence of rock out cropping and trees. These characteristics can have a significant influence on crop production and management. Poorly drained fields or those with low areas can become water logged during periods of excessive rain. Such conditions can enhance the incidence of diseases, reduce plant vigor and yield, and, under excessive conditions, cause plant death. Brush areas or abandoned fields and pastures can harbor insects and severe as host for plant diseases, some of which can be vectored by insects. Rock out cropping and trees within a field can become impedance to farm implements and increase difficulty of land preparation and crop establishment. . Sites with slopes of 1.5 % (18″ elevation change per 100′) or more should be avoided to prevent excessive erosion problems. An ideal topography for vegetable production is one that is nearly flat to slightly sloping, well drained, and, free of trees, rocks and low areas. Efficiency of crop maintenance, irrigation and harvest operations is greatly enhanced in fields with this type topography (6).

Soil type and quality –
Soil type refers to the physical composition or properties of the soil. Soils basically consist of decomposed mineral matter (sand, silt, and clay) and decomposed organic matter. Optimum vegetable production is achieved on well-drained sandy loam soils. Although vegetables can be grown on a wide range of soil types, most vegetables are not well adapted to heavy clay soil types. Soils of this type tend to have poor aeration and drainage and can restrict root growth. Consequently, these soils should be avoided (6). Soil is the fundamental resource base for all agricultural production systems. Unfortunately, too often, too little time is spent in selecting soil type and soil management practices. In organic production, soil health is essential. Soil quality influences its ability to provide an optimum media for growth, sustain crop productivity, maintain environmental quality, and, provide for plant and animal health (17). Therefore, soil quality and soil health is viewed as the foundation to successful organic production. Consequently, the primary management goal of an organic producer should be sustaining and improving soil quality or health over the long term. Table 1 presents important soil properties influencing soil productivity. The USDA is currently developing test kits to evaluate soil quality indicator properties. Contact your local USDA-NRCS field office to obtain a test kit.

Table 1. Soil Quality Indicator Properties
Physical properties Chemical properties Biological properties
Bulk density
Rooting depth
Water infiltration rate
Water holding capacity
Aggregate stability
electrical conductivity
cation exchange capacity
organic matter
mineralizable nitrogen
exchangeable K
exchangeable Ca Microbial biomass carbon
disease suppressiveness
Water –
Water is the life-blood of vegetable production. Vegetable crops generally require more total water and more frequent irrigation than most other agronomic crops. Few vegetables can be grown successfully under dryland conditions in most areas of Texas. Even in East Texas where 45 + ” of rainfall occurs annually, crops can experience period of drought stress. Therefore, only fields that have easy access to an abundant water source should be considered for vegetable production. The water source should have the capability to provide the volume required for the maximum needs of the highest water-using crop to be planted. Water needs for selected vegetables grown in Texas are listed in Table 1 of the appendix.

Water quality is equally as important as water volume in selecting a field site water source. Water source for vegetable irrigation should contain less than 400 ppm soluble salts. Therefore, avoid water sources containing high levels of toxic elements such as Sodium, Boron or Aluminum. Tables 2 and 3 are helpful in evaluating suitability of water for irrigation. The absence of an adequate supply of high quality water cannot be offset with an ideal field site having a desirable soil type. Knowledge of crop tolerance to salinity is essential if marginal quality water is to be used (6).

Table 3. Classification of Sodium Hazard of Water Based on SAR Values.
SAR Values Sodium Hazard of Water Comments
1-10 Low Use on sodium sensitive crop such as avocados must be cautioned.
10-18 Medium Gypsum and leaching needed.
18-26 High Generally unsuitable for continuous use.
26 Very High Generally unsuitable for use.
Crop and Variety Selection –
A factor equal to the importance of good soil health to successful implementation of the organic production concept is crop and variety selection. Pest of all types occurs in abundance in most areas of Texas. However, the greatest limiting factor to successful vegetable production from a pest stand-point is the high incidence of disease outbreaks. With the reduced number of tools to combat pests available in the organic production arsenal, as compared to conventional production, even greater importance is placed on the use of resistant crops and varieties as the primary means of pest control. Table 2 of the appendix list vegetable varieties recommended for Texas. Most of the varieties listed were selected partly because they possess as high a level of resistance as available to as many diseases as possible. Therefore, organic producers who use varieties or grow species with resistance to as many diseases as available greatly increase their chances for success.

Market development –
The fact that most vegetable crops are highly perishable, the need to develop markets for produce should be established prior to planting the crop. This even more important for organically produced vegetables due to their limited or niche market status. For whatever reason one chooses to commercially produce vegetables organically, profitability is the driving force that keeps him in business. To achieve profitability, a producer must have a well thought out production and marketing plan based on sound scientific and business principles. Most startup vegetable operations generally fail due to the lack of market development or marketing skills.

Consequently, a potential grower cannot spend too much time in a developing production and marketing plan. Commercial vegetable production should always be viewed as a business first and as a farming enterprise secondly. Personnel views or beliefs are fine but establishing a business based on consumer preferences and demands make for a more successful undertaking.

In developing a sound marketing plan the following questions should be answered:
-What crops should I grow?
– How much of these crops should I produce?
– To whom or where shall I sell the produce that I will grow?
– How much real demand is there for the crops I am considering
– How much will it cost me to produce and market these crops?
– What if any are the sizes of the market windows for these crops?
– What are the risks associated with the production of these crops?

In order to effectively answer these questions one must be willing to invest considerable time conducting market research. It should be stressed that in order to market produce as organically grown, a farming operation must be “Certified Organic” by the Texas Department of Agriculture. The following (used with permission from TDA) describes the requirements of the Texas Department of Agriculture Organic Certification Program (16).

The Texas Department of Agriculture’s Organic Certification Program certifies crops produced under an organic farming system. That is, a system of ecological soil management that relies on building humus levels through crop rotations, recycling organic wastes, and applying balanced mineral amendments. When necessary, this system uses mechanical, botanical, or biological controls that have minimum adverse effects on health and the environment. In addition, organic crops are produced without the use of synthetic pesticides, synthetic fertilizers and synthetic herbicides. Upon demonstrating compliances with the Organic Standards and Certification, Texas Administrative Code, Title 4, Part I, Chapter 18, participants are entitled to use a marketing logo identifying their products as state certified. TDA inspects and certifies producers, processors, handlers (warehouses, distributors, brokers) and retailers of organic products.