66 / SEEDWORLD.COM DECEMBER 2018 IMPLEMENTING BREEDING software is what I do. My team and I meet plant breeders from around the world, talking different languages and working with different crops. However, they all have something in common: they all have simi- lar challenges. When it is time to evaluate their trials, many breeders wonder why they chose specific plants over others. What traits should they have? Are they better or worse compared to last generation? When evaluating many different traits, it’s not easy to know which trait to focus on or how to select a particular plant. To add to the confusion, sometimes the differences between plants in a breeding population are small and the plants all look similar at first sight. Displaying all the relevant data from previous seasons is a challenge. A regular tabular view provides only two-dimen- sional data: genotypes and their traits. Seeing also the pedigree information adds a third dimension, allowing breeders to view previous/future generations’ data. We refer to this as the “3D nature of the pedigree.” Gathering three dimensions provides a complete overview of the phe- notyping. Without the ability to do this, breeders struggle to remember why they included particular plants into their breed- ing programs, resulting in an inconsistent and inefficient process. In short, breeders want to see the right data in the right place at the right time. Good breeding software makes this much easier. Dedicated software will “know” how to capture and display the pedigree correctly to allow breeders to compare data from previous seasons or other locations. Moreover, good software automatically calculates inheritance rules for disease resistance in next generations to show which genotype is resistant to which trait. Another aspect of a good breeding system is its ability to automatically pro- vide naming conventions to new materials based on a predefined template. Here is one of many possibilities to build a tem- plate for the genotype’s unique code: --- -- (i.e. 18AU-Rh-F4-350-4). Naming conventions for other passport data columns, such as pedigree name or generation, can also be automatically and correctly updated. These little best-prac- tice tricks make information management more effective. After all, the main intellectual prop- erty of a breeding program is not only the seeds, but also the data associated with it. A professional breeding software program is crucial for saving intellectual property, but most of all, for utilizing it efficiently. The 3D Nature of Pedigrees: Why Did I Choose This Plant? JESSICA FREIMAN, PHENOME NETWORKS LTD. CUSTOMER SUPPORT MANAGER jessica@phenome-networks.com • phenome-networks.com WHEN I ASK AG leaders how much time they give salespeople to achieve their annual sales goals, most respond, “The sales season is never over. We sell all year long.” According to that line of thinking, they’re right. A full 12 months is needed to achieve sales objectives when customers are allowed to decide when they want to order, leaving companies with no control over the most important element of their business. But what if companies did have control—the kind of control that would allow them to achieve sales objectives in a much shorter period of time, say, 12 weeks instead of 12 months? Sounds crazy? It’s not. Here’s how it works. Let’s call it the “4-Hour Selling Season.” Every sales rep spends four hours a day, three days a week, for the 12 weeks prior to harvest, calling on prospects and current customers. Each rep contacts at least two farmers a day for the purpose of taking them to their fields to start crop planning for the next year. That’s six crop planning calls per week (72 calls in 12 weeks). Imagine your entire sales force making sales calls for four hours every day, the same three days every week for 12 weeks. The result would impact sales exponentially, while getting orders when you want them the most, prior to harvest. You would achieve your sales objective in just 12 weeks. Most company leaders don’t realize that allowing their distribution system 12 months to achieve sales objectives not only prolongs the selling season, but can also eventually put them out of busi- ness. As long as customers are allowed The 4-Hour Selling Season ROD OSTHUS R.C. THOMAS COMPANY PRESIDENT @RodOsthus • rod@rcthomas.com • rcthomas.com to order on their own time schedules, ag companies will need to either hire more people or ask them to do more with less. Companies will need to buy more equip- ment and overestimate needed inventory. Delayed ordering increases costs, forces companies to cut operating expenses, cut services and work more hours. Worst of all, forecasting will remain a guessing game. All of those anti-growth strategies are needed to compensate for the gross inefficiencies of an out of control distribu- tion network. When I ask field sellers if they could achieve their sales goals in 12 weeks instead of 12 months if it was a life and death matter, 100 percent of them say yes, they could. That’s what I thought. So, what’s keeping your company from doing it?