UPDATED: March 25, 2013
Ag retailers — and agriculture professionals at large — are starving for mobile agriculture apps that can help them do their jobs better. They can’t get enough them.
I can certainly relate. I recently attended the National Farm Machinery Show (NFMS) in Louisville, KY, armed with just a video camera and my BlackBerry loaded with the show’s mobile app. Without the app, I could have wandered aimlessly through the maize-like exhibit halls with little or no hope of meeting my scheduled interviews. Instead, using the app’s interactive exhibitor map I was able to easily navigate the largest indoor farm show — 1.2 million square feet of exhibit space, to be exact — in the country. Kudos to the NFMS for creating the app — it was a real time (and leg) saver.
Whether you shop in the mobile app store for your smartphone or tablet, or simply search on Google, you are likely to come across more apps for agriculture than you ever imagined. That’s the main reason I originally wrote the column — “20 Best Mobile Apps For Agriculture” — to help you sort out the ever-growing number of apps being introduced to our industry. And based on an overwhelming response from you (it’s THE most viewed article on CropLife.com), it’s time for a sequel. So, if an app missed the cut the first time, or has been released since then, I likely included it in this newly researched list of 10 best mobile apps for agriculture:
1. Aphid Speed Scout. This app from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Extension quickly determines if soybean aphids have reached the 250 aphids per plant threshold. Plants are considered “infested” if there are 40 or more aphids on that sample. The app also recommends further scouting or treatment options based on the number of infested plants in a given area. (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
2. Optimizer 2.0. Farmers can better predict corn yields using this site-specific app developed by Advanced Ag Solutions. Optimizer 2.0 provides farmers with data through a daily text message and a Web login portal. Messages include the projected corn yield and the most limiting factor for their farm. Projections are made based on variety of seed, soil type, weather data and other limiting factors. (Available on most mobile devices)
3. YieldCheck. Developed by Precision Planting, YieldCheck provides growers with a simple way to calculate and store corn yield estimates. Users can organize estimates based on client, farm and field. They can also see the location of all of their estimates on a map with satellite imagery. For example, users can simply enter kernel counts for three ears of corn and reveal the amount of bushels they can expect this fall. (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
4. iCropTrak. Named a Top 10 New Product Award winner for 2012 at the World Ag Expo, the iCropTrak is a multi-user software solution that runs in the field with or without Internet connectivity. It allows users to take advantage of geographic data, the GPS technology in the iPad, the larger screen size and touch interaction. iCropTrak gives users an opportunity to deploy data collection templates for functions as diverse as food safety inspections, field spray management, employee timesheets and more. (iPad)
5. Farm Manager. The Farm Manager app allows farmers to record cropping, livestock, and machinery procedures, and access this information with ease. Users can record full history of crops from when they are sown through to harvested; record chemical and fertilizer use, including type, rate, and date applied; and keep track of machinery maintenance. (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
6. Nutrient Removal. The Mosaic Co.’s new app provides growers and retailers with valuable nutrient removal data in support of higher yields. Utilizing years of agronomic research, the Nutrient Removal app is a next-generation take on the data previously seen in the “Balanced Crop Nutrition” guide. The app also allows users to test potential yields, generating results that are crop- and region-specific. (iPhone, iPad, Droid)
7. PrecisionEarth. The PrecisionEarth soil sampling app makes it easier to collect grower, field and soil sampling data. The app uses only open standards so the data you load and the data you export will work with your current GIS, Web and desktop applications seamlessly. Users can load and display directed sampling layers and boundary vectors, export soil sampling location and display background maps. (iPhone, iPad)
8. Corn Planning Calculator. This app provides real-time useful calculations for the planting of corn from specific inputs resulting in the correct spacing of the corn being planted. Inputs such as population desired, cost per acre, seed counts and spacing in inches or metric format are achieved. (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch)
9. Grain Shrinkage Calculator. The Grain Shrinkage Calculator returns the results for the number of bushels after the moisture removal from field to storage for seven common grains: corn, wheat, soybeans, oats, barley, buckwheat, and rye. (Android)
10. JD Link. This equipment management app from John Deere is a telematics system designed to remotely connect owners and managers to their equipment, providing alerts and machine information including location, utilization, performance and maintenance data to manage where and how equipment is being used. (iPhone, iPad)
If your favorite app is not listed above or in my original column on best mobile apps for agriculture or in “13 New Mobile Agriculture Apps for 2013,” tell me about it at email@example.com or post it in the comment box below. Also, please continue to check back often for updates on newly launched agriculture apps added to my honorable mention list.
MyTraps.com. Enables growers and consultants to electronically manage insect data and pesticide records on a secure Website by entering the data into the site through a Web browser or smartphone. (Available on most mobile devices)
FieldView. This app extends the functionality of a 20/20 SeedSense monitor from Precision Planting. FieldView functions as a second display in the cab, so users can view real time, row-by-row maps of their planter’s performance. Then, when planting is complete, simply remove the iPad from your cab and have all of the 20/20 data with at your fingertips. (iPad)
FarmPAD. This app from TapLogic allows users to enter farm records, equipment service logs, spray records and take notes or pictures. You can also draw field boundaries with GPS or by hand. Sync to your Web account where you can print reports, review history and draw and print field maps. (Android, iPhone, iPad)
Soil Test Pro. Developed by TapLogic, this GPS-enabled app makes soil sampling for the farm easier than ever. Features include unlimited access to FarmLogic’s precision ag specialists, aerial imagery of all maps, and test results in 5-7 days. (Android, iPhone, iPad)
AgDroid. This app from Farmscan allows users to map and calculate coverage area for tractors, implements and farm machinery based upon distance traveled and implement width. Record multiple fields and jobs, including applied products (e.g., fertilizer, herbicide, fungicide). (Android)
CropNAtion. cropNAtion is a virtual social network for farmers to share information, images of their crops and track agriculture trends in their region. The app has been recognized by CropLife America and has received the AgGateway Information Technology Innovation Award. (Android, iPhone)
Dynamic Pricing Platform (DPP). This mobile app allows farmers the ability to view cash grain prices, basis levels and to make, manage, and monitor firm offers at their convenience. (Android, iPhone)
ARA Mobile. The Agricultural Retailers Association app features many of the same dynamic content from its Website, including community discussions and messaging; membership directory; event calendar information and registration capabilities; and news and information. (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone)