Mobile apps for farming

A GROWING TREND

in the past few years, people have embraced smartphones and, as a result, smartphone apps with fervor and excitement. Smartphone apps are valuable resources for both business and pleasure, and are now a vital resource for many in agriculture.

You can find applications that will tell you when and how to plant, and then later in the season, estimate yields. There are apps to help producers identify pests, which will then determine if and how they should get rid of them. And, finally, there are apps that reveal commodity prices, including price alerts, head-to-head price comparisons and local price information. Here are a few to take a look at.

seed companies

Let’s say that you want to determine the optimum planting population for your DEKALB-specific corn or soybean seed. You can do so based on row width, soil type and maturity zone with the Plant Population Calculator, designed specifically for Blackberry users. This app will also help growers to accurately calibrate their air seeders, seed drills, or planters, based on the size of the seed.

If weather, pests or other issues have impacted your crops, Pioneer Hi-Bred’s Replant Calculator can help you in deciding whether or not to keep your current stand or to replant. The application considers the original date of planting, stand target and the resulting plant population, and the replant date. Finally, growers will be asked to consider their input costs. Once all of the variables have been entered, the calculator will then provide an estimate associated with the current stand and replant stand.

Other tools are available through Pioneer as well, including a Growing Degree Unit Calculator, PrecipEstimator, Growth Stage Estimator, and Corn Yield Estimator. Mobile Pioneer.com is optimized for iPhone, iPod Touch, Android, Blackberry and feature phones.

Want to determine the yield potential of your maturing corn and soybean crops? Try DEKALB’s Yield Estimator for Blackberry. This in-field tool supports single and multiple location data and generates individual and average yield estimates at multiple locations.

chemical companies
Calculating the amount of product you need to treat specific fields can sometimes be tricky. Try using DuPont’s TankMix Calculator application. It will tell you how much product you need and the amount of water you’ll need in order to get the desired volume to volume ratio. And the best part is that you’re free to enter the information in a way that’s comfortable for you – either in decimals or fractions.

Lugging hard copy product manuals around just isn’t feasible for most farmers. They’re impractical, not easily updated  and they cost money. To resolve this issue, Bayer CropScience designed a product manual app, as well as weed spotter and pest spotter apps. Information is clear, easy to access and regularly updated. In the first month alone, the apps were downloaded over 3,600 times. Bayer CropScience’s applications are currently only available for iPhone.

pest control
To be released next spring, Crop Scouter will help farmers to identify and manage unwanted weeds in their crops. The app is being developed by two University of Saskatchewan engineering students and will be available for iPhone.

OMAFRA specialists have designed the Aphid Advisor app, helping soybean growers to determine whether or not aphid pressure warrants spraying. The app takes into consideration weather patterns, growth stage, current aphid pressure levels, and the number of natural predators present. Once all of the information is calculated, it offers one of three suggestions: wait, spray or don’t spray. Aphid Advisor is available for all smartphones.

commodity prices
Trying to keep up with commodity prices and news can be difficult, especially on the busier days of the year. Farm Futures, an app for iPhone and other Apple products, includes magazine features, market commentary, news and audio that’s updated every single day.

Grain Farmers of Ontario has created SellSmart to help farmers keep on top of commodity prices. The price data for corn, soybeans and wheat from the Chicago Board of Trade is adjusted with basis information from local elevators across the province and provided on a ten minute delay. In order to make this information more accessible to local farmers, the app streamlines the data, displaying only the elevators and commodities of interest. SellSmart is available for Blackberry, iPhone and Android users.

all-round use
If you’re looking for an app that does it all, check out Farm Manager. It records cropping, livestock, and machinery procedures. Producers can record all sorts of information, including when crops were sown and harvested, chemical and fertilizer use, including the types, rates and date applied. It will even keep track of any maintenance you do on your machinery. Farm Manager is available for iPhone, iPad and Android. •