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Learn more about Spray History System and Gerber's participation in the EPA's Pesticide Environmental Stewardship Program (PESP), a voluntary public/private partnership to reduce pesticide risk. 

Gerber PESP Strategies: 
2002, 2000, 1999

 

 

 

Success Stories - Large Food Processor

Spray History System

Business Challenge
North America’s leading baby food processor was faced with a mountain of paper – that is, paper spray histories. A spray history is a detailed record of pesticide usage provided by the grower as a condition of purchase. Since the processor maintains a strict "no detectable residue" policy, thousands of spray histories must be collected and manually reviewed for compliance with their complex spray restriction program. With more than 400 suppliers for 14 different crops spread out across the country and limited field staff, a new approach was needed for this critical task.

Back to the Source
Paper spray histories had presented a number of challenges over the years. They were often hard to decipher, filled out incorrectly or incompletely, or late to arrive. If data could be entered at the source, the data would be more accurate and timely. However, there were a few unknowns. Did the growers have computers? Were they familiar with computerized record keeping? If they didn’t have a computer now, would they be willing to buy one? To gauge the grower’s technical savvy and interests, Synchronicity conducted a grower survey.

As it turned out, business computer usage was not widespread. Many growers were just starting to look into computers for e-mail and accessing the Internet. Only a small handful of growers were actually using computers to record their spray histories.

Data Entry Options
For this approach to work across the large and diverse grower base, a range of data entry solutions would be needed. This was accomplished by standardizing the data collected and then providing 3 different data entry options with different price points:

1. Tiger Jill software, a multi-function farm management tool from Orange Enterprises of Fresno, California

2. SprayNet, a new data entry intranet that would be developed by Synchronicity 

3. Fee-based data entry by a few regional firms trained in using Tiger Jill.

A Validation Server
Once the data are entered, the spray histories would need to be transmitted, received, and validated against label and processor restrictions. With no commercial software available to provide that functionality, it was necessary to pursue a custom solution. Synchronicity defined system requirements and worked with software vendor Orange Enterprises to develop and test data transfer and server functionality. Reports were developed for use by the field staff and receiving stations. The resulting software, which includes the Tiger Jill Spray History Server and Connectivity module, are now commercially available to other food processors.

Critical Rollout Support
Prior to "going live", Synchronicity conducted pilots for SprayNet & Tiger Jill users, developed training and documentation materials for both systems and ran regional training events. Synchronicity also helped build the critical reference database which included the processor’s spray restrictions for over 450 materials on 14 different crops, 73 different pests (both insects & weeds), and other proprietary information. This database is used internally and distributed to all growers using Tiger Jill for data entry.

Result
Synchronicity’s flexible solution ensured rapid transition by the grower community to full electronic data collection. The Spray History server from Orange Enterprises lets the field staff focus on the "exceptions". Now the grower & field staff can make alternate arrangements earlier in the season if compliance problems are identified.

The pesticide usage data has also proven useful for identifying current pest management practices, regional production and pest management differences, and measuring the transition to alternative pest management strategies – a key part of the processor’s long term business strategy.

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