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 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manufacturer Kay-Flo
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unification Approved By Board, Still Awaits Member Approval
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More
CropLife 100AgGateway’s Barcoding Initiative Progressing Nicely
May 8, 2015
According to legend (or Wikipedia), the first step towards modern bar codes came back in 1948, when Bernard Silver, a Read More
CropLife 100Pinnacle Agriculture Acquires Minnesota Retailer
April 14, 2015
Pinnacle Agriculture Holdings, LLC, ranked No. 6 on the CropLife 100,  has successfully acquired Liebl Ag, LLC in Ada, MN.  Read More
CropLife 100CHS, Aurora Cooperative Complete Fertilizer Storage, Grain Shuttle Loading Facility
April 13, 2015
CHS Inc., the nation’s leading cooperative and ranked No. 5 on the CropLife 100, and Aurora Cooperative (ranked No. 21) Read More
CropLife 100GROWMARK Acquires Missouri Refined Fuels Terminal
April 2, 2015
Bloomington, IL-based GROWMARK and Magellan Pipeline Co. have entered into an agreement in which GROWMARK will acquire the refined fuels Read More
Latest News
ManagementA New Sprayer Company & UAV Research In The Spotlig…
May 21, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a Dutch sprayer manufacturer entering the U.S. with a super-sized entry and Read More
HerbicidesFirst U.S. Sale Of Enlist Duo Herbicide Made By Dow Agr…
May 21, 2015
Dow AgroSciences has recorded the first U.S. sale of Enlist Duo herbicide with Colex-D Technology. This marks the first commercial Read More
CropLife 100The Andersons Acquires South Dakota Plant Nutrient Manu…
May 20, 2015
The Andersons, Inc., ranked No. 22 on the CropLife 100, has purchased Kay Flo Industries of North Sioux City, SD. “This Read More
EquipmentNORAC Options Coming To TerraGator
May 19, 2015
Utilizing NORAC’s Standard Control technology, boom height control is now available for TerraGators with Airmax Precision 2 and Benson Booms. This Read More
Crop InputsHelena Introduces New Soil Health Product
May 19, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. is helping agricultural producers maximize yields and efficiency with the introduction of Liquid Chisel, a new product Read More
Stewardship4R Nutrient Management Planning Certification Now Avail…
May 19, 2015
The American Society of Agronomy (ASA) and the International Certified Crop Adviser (ICCA) program announce a new specialty certification in Read More
Environmental Defense Fund logo
Paul SchrimpfEnvironmental Defense Fund: Appreciating Partners
May 19, 2015
I WAS deep in the throes of preparation for the Commodity Classic meeting that took place this past February, trying Read More
WebinarsUpcoming Webinars
May 19, 2015
Register for one of our upcoming Webinars or access our archive of past Webinars to view recordings of presentations that may be of interest to you. Read More
Syngenta Sign
Seed/BiotechSyngenta Responds To Lawyer’s Victory Claim In Vi…
May 18, 2015
A plaintiff’s lawyer has issued a public statement claiming that damages have been awarded in the Agrisure Viptera corn lawsuits Read More
StewardshipCould Australian Water Trading Approach Fit In Californ…
May 18, 2015
Ten years of drought isn’t a good thing. It doesn’t help the bottom line of farmers or the health of Read More
SpreadersDutch Sprayer Manufacturer To Enter U.S. Market
May 18, 2015
Dutch self-propelled sprayer manufacturer Agrifac Machinery has announced intentions to enter the U.S. market with two models of sprayers available Read More
FertilizerTFI Weighs In On Fertilizer Rail Transport Bill
May 14, 2015
With today’s House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure as a backdrop, The Fertilizer Institute (TFI) registered its support for policies Read More
ManagementA Visit To The 2015 Environmental Respect Spirit Award …
May 14, 2015
CropLife’s Paul Schrimpf and Eric Sfiligoj talk about a recent visit to the CPS Spirit winner in St. Stephen’s Church, Read More
StewardshipBayer Entomologist Issues Statement On Annual Honeybee …
May 13, 2015
Richard (Dick) Rogers, Principal Scientist / Entomologist, Bayer Bee Care Center for Bayer CropScience LP, today issued the following statement Read More
Crop InputsKansas State Researchers Announce Resistant Kochia Brea…
May 13, 2015
Kansas State University researchers say new research helps explain why an invasive weed is developing resistance to a well-known herbicide, Read More
RR2X soybeans surround untreated check (center)
HerbicidesUSDA Study: Glyphosate Application More Prevalent In So…
May 13, 2015
Glyphosate—known by many trade names, including Roundup—has been the most widely used pesticide in the United States since 2001. It Read More
AdjuvantsHelena Chemical Introduces New Drift Control Adjuvant J…
May 13, 2015
Helena Chemical Co. introduces Justified, an innovative drift control agent designed to improve the performance and precision of spray applications Read More
CropLife 100North Central Farmers Elevator, Wheat Growers Unificati…
May 13, 2015
The Boards of Directors for North Central Farmers Elevator (NCFE) and Wheat Growers (WG) have voted to approve the Unification Read More