Agriculture Apps: 6 Things To Know Before You Download

So many mobile apps to choose from, so little time. The Apple App Store has more than 775,000 apps, while Google Play is predicted to become the first store to reach the 1 million apps mark by June 2013. Sorting through these massive libraries to find an app that fits your needs can be a bit daunting, to say the least.

Fortunately for agriculture, app overload hasn’t occurred — yet. Once you remove “games” from the mix, a search for farming/agriculture apps results in a manageable number. But as developers continue to crank out more and more apps that help growers and mobile ag professionals do their jobs more efficiently, the pool of available offerings will only deepen — and get increasingly overwhelming.

Still, many people who’ve downloaded apps for agriculture have had a positive experience. Consider these comments from my latest ranking of the best mobile apps in agriculture:

“I love the agSeedSelect app. The Simplot Spray Guide and Agrowdata are good, too. I just downloaded Weed Manager Plus and Extreme Beans and from what I can tell so far they look great.” — Rob Terbock

“Weed Manager Plus has truly been a God-send to me and my business. I am fairly new to this farming thing and the recommendations for weed control have been instrumental in maximizing my farm income.” —Tim Hughes

“I have found Mobile Farm Manager extremely helpful. I will try the others as we approach the spring farming season.” — Tony Russell

While these comments likely represent the norm in the mobile ag app experience, you should still have a thoughtful approach to shopping. So before you download your next app, keep these six things in mind:

1. Consider the source. If you want an app you can trust, go to the source, says Denise Richardson, an identity theft risk management specialist. Always download apps from reputable companies like John Deere or Monsanto. Legitimate applications require you to complete an authentication process, register your phone and create a username and password. Check the user comments and ratings for the app, and make sure you are comfortable with the access permissions granted to the application.

2. Privacy concerns. According to Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, one concern surrounding apps and their ability to share and sell user data is that many don’t have privacy policies. Even when an app does have a privacy policy, the small size of a smartphone screen can make it both difficult to read and understand. Who makes the app? What data does this company collect? How does it store your data? These are the questions you should be asking, and you may be able to find the answers in the app’s privacy policy.

3. Be wary of malware. Not all storefronts are created equally. Although malware incidents are on the rise (particularly on Android phones) according to a report from security firm F-Secure, the majority involve apps acquired from random, untrustworthy Websites. By masquerading as legitimate apps, malware often installs a working version of the program, but one that requests permissions well in excess of what is normally required. If your phone begins performing functions on its own, F-Secure warns, that may be a sign of malware.

4. Look out for data-sucking apps. It’s all about the data. And sometimes it’s difficult to know which app is hoarding it. According to Phys.org, some of the biggest offenders on data usage are movie streaming, music, games and maps, the latter of which is commonly used in precision agriculture. Fortunately, there is an app for that problem. If this is an issue on your data plan, consider installing a data usage tracking app that will send out alerts to help you stay within your data cap.

5. Monitor apps that use the most battery. Battery power on smartphones is always a bit of a crapshoot. If you frequently download agriculture apps (as well as other types), it’s likely some may be running in the background without your knowledge and zapping your battery life. It’s a good idea to regularly check your settings to see how much power each app is using. You can use also Carat. According to TechCrunch.com, this app shows you which apps are sucking up power so you can shut them down and improve battery life.

6. Free vs. paid apps. Most ag-related apps are free, but a handful also have a paid version. Free apps often provide good functionality and features, as well as great service from the developers. Yet, many free apps provide limited functionality. In most cases, the limitations can be lifted by buying the paid version of an app. Regardless of whether the app is free or paid, first ask yourself how often you plan to use it. As a rule of thumb, Android Authority recommends only choosing apps that you will constantly need, particularly if you download the paid version.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

2 comments on “Agriculture Apps: 6 Things To Know Before You Download

Matt Hopkins Stories
Matt Hopkins5 Misguided Reasons Why Ag Retailers Are Not Using Social Media
June 2, 2014
These most commonly cited reasons for not embracing social media need to be re-examined. Read More
Matt HopkinsHow iPads Are Transforming Customer Service At Dow AgroSciences
March 12, 2014
Dow AgroSciences' Tiffany Galloway discusses how iPads and mobile apps have completely changed the way the company's sales force interacts with customers. Read More
Matt HopkinsPrecision Agriculture: 6 Mobile Use Trends To Watch
March 3, 2014
The convergence of precision agriculture and mobile technology is highlighted by several key trends. Read More
Top 100 Articles
CropLife 100BRANDT Commemorates National Ag Day
March 20, 2015
The Illinois agriculture community gathered at BRANDT global headquarters on March 18 to celebrate National Ag Day behind this year's theme Sustaining Future Generations. Read More
Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
CropLife 100Wheat Growers, North Central Farmers Elevator Pursue Merger
March 3, 2015
Two CropLife 100 retailers — South Dakota Wheat Growers (ranked No. 11) and North Central Farmers Elevator (No. 19) — have entered into a Letter of Intent to unify the two companies into a newly named cooperative. Read More
Growmark Group
CropLife 100GROWMARK In 2015: Back, To The Future
March 2, 2015
The nation’s third largest ag retail organization is simultaneously moving forward while remembering its past. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Expands Sanders Brand In The South
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle has acquired Hopkins Seed and Chemical in Qulin, MO, which expands the company's Sanders brand to nine Southern states. Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Launches New Providence Agriculture Location In Indiana
February 27, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings — ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100 — has established a new retail location in New Castle, IN, which will operate as part of Pinnacle's Providence Agriculture brand. Read More
Carl Casale of CHS
CropLife 100Cooperative CHS Returns $518 Million To Owners
February 23, 2015
The 2015 cash return to owners is based on CHS net income of $1.1 billion, the company's second highest on record. Read More
Latest News
FMC 3Rive 3D
Seed/BiotechFMC’s 3RIVE 3D Turns Heads
April 1, 2015
As winter trade shows tend to go, Commodity Classic tends to be a pretty big deal. You’ve got all the Read More
Nachurs Alpine Solutions, Liquid fertilizer, micronutrients, facility
MicronutrientsYara Launching YaraVita Procote Liquid Micronutrients
March 31, 2015
Yara North America, Inc. broadens its fertilizer coating offerings with the introduction of YaraVita Procote, oil-based micronutrient liquid suspensions that Read More
Industry NewsINCOTEC Board Member To Retire
March 31, 2015
JanWillem Breukink has decided to retire from his position on INCOTEC’s Board of Directors, effective April 1, 2015. This was Read More
MicronutrientsAgrium Deals Michigan Micronutrient Facility To Cameron…
March 31, 2015
Cameron Chemicals, Inc. has announced today that it has entered into a definitive agreement with Agrium Inc. to purchase the Read More
Industry NewsH.J. Baker Creates, Fills New Pacific Northwest Sales P…
March 30, 2015
H.J. Baker announced today that Gary Bingham has joined the company’s Crop Performance Division to further deepen its sales portfolio Read More
Algal blooms
StewardshipStudy: Algae From Clogged Waterways Could Be Used As Bi…
March 30, 2015
Water-borne algal blooms from farm fertilizer runoff can destroy aquatic life and clog rivers and lakes, but scientists are reporting Read More
Young corn plants
Stewardship4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit Coming To DC
March 30, 2015
The annual 4R Nutrient Stewardship Summit will be held on May 12 in Washington DC. The summit will include a full Read More
FungicidesSyngenta Suing Willowood Over Azoxystrobin Fungicide
March 27, 2015
Syngenta announced today that it has sued agrochemical maker Willowood, LLC., for patent and copyright infringement, as well as unfair Read More
ManagementRetail Week: The Future Of Mycogen Seeds; The 4Rs At Na…
March 27, 2015
Editors Eric Sfiligoj and Matt Hopkins discuss recent trips, including a look at the future of Mycogen Seeds at Dow Read More
Eric SfiligojMonsanto Hears The WHO
March 27, 2015
Another challenge to the safety of glyphosate, and the responses from supporters and opponents, calls to mind a classic Dr. Seuss story. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Plant Food Expands Sales Team
March 27, 2015
Monty’s Plant Food Company, a leader in natural soil enhancement and  plant fertility products, has hired Andrew Bullock as a Read More
Crop InputsSyngenta Louisiana Plant Poised For 2015 Production
March 26, 2015
As the 2015 planting season gets underway, growers across the country will need crop protection products to combat pests and Read More
Lake Erie Nutrient Stewardship
LegislationOhio Lawmakers Finalize Phosphorus Restrictions
March 25, 2015
State lawmakers on Wednesday finalized new rules designed to curb toxic algal blooms on Lake Erie, calling the regulations a major step forward in addressing the problem. Read More
Spreaders17 Fertilizer Spreaders For 2015
March 25, 2015
Manufacturers shoot for versatility and accuracy in this year's crop of fertilizer spreaders. Read More
Industry NewsMonty’s Hires Mid-South Product Consultant
March 25, 2015
Monty's Plant Food Co. has hired Matt Woodring as a Product Consultant for portions of Central Kentucky and Tennessee.    Read More
StewardshipMapShots Integrates With DriftWatch
March 23, 2015
Growers and agricultural providers using AgStudio FARM and AgStudio PRO can now view vital information about specialty crops and apiaries through a recent integration with the DriftWatch Specialty Crop Site Registry from FieldWatch, Inc. Read More
Crop InputsWorld Health Organization Report Contradicts Scientific…
March 23, 2015
A new report from the World Health Organization has classified glyphosate with a “2A” rating as a probable carcinogen, a Read More
Eric SfiligojSeed Treatment Stays Necessary
March 20, 2015
Grower-customers looking to scale back spending in 2015 won’t consider seed treatment, say experts. Read More