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, 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, 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.


Leave a Reply

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

Matt Hopkins Stories

Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Farmers on Tablet
Matt Hopkins6 Mobile App Trends Worth Watching In Agriculture
May 9, 2016
The agricultural industry is being transformed by the use of data. It is everywhere, and over the next several years, Read More
Social media
Matt Hopkins7 Social Media Trends Shaping Ag Retail In 2016
April 22, 2016
After writing my last column on why social media is a must for ag retailers, I heard from several readers Read More
Farmer on social media
Matt Hopkins6 Compelling Reasons Why Social Media Is A Must For Ag Retailers
March 17, 2016
The evolution and growth of social media use among ag retailers since 2010 has been nothing less than astonishing. In Read More
Trending Articles
AGCO RG700 cab
OpinionRoadblocks To Precision Ag Innovation
October 5, 2016
On August 29, I got to preside over the PrecisionAg Innovation Series event, “Game-Changing Advances in Precision Farming Technology,” developed Read More
J.C. Ramsdell containment system
EquipmentClear Opportunity In The Tank Market
October 4, 2016
Crop prices may be down, but steel prices are too — and that’s good news for retailers looking to add some Read More
WinField booth Farm Progress
Special ReportsTalking Weed Management Strategies At Farm Progress 2016
October 2, 2016
The annual Farm Progress Show — this year staged in Boone, IA — is always a great place to catch Read More
Corn Field
Eric SfiligojFacing Ag Industry Challenges
September 26, 2016
At the 2016 annual Mid America CropLife Association (MACA) meeting in September, a pair of crop protection company representatives discussed Read More
Bayer Monsanto
Crop InputsBayer-Monsanto Mega-Merger: 6 Things You Need To Know
September 14, 2016
Mega mergers have become almost routine in the agricultural industry. Right on the heels of Monday’s news that fertilizer giants Potash Read More
Potash Corp Agrium
Crop InputsAgrium, Potash Corp To Merge To Create $36 Billion Company
September 12, 2016
Canada’s Agrium Inc. and Potash Corp of Saskatchewan Inc. have agreed to combine in a deal that would create a Read More
Latest News
Kennebec Grain terminal
CropLife 100Wheat Growers Kennebec Facility Loads First Rail Cars
October 21, 2016
In a season of firsts for Wheat Growers’ Kennebec Grain Terminal, the first 115-car unit train was loaded with soybeans Read More
ManagementThe Latest Dow-DuPont Rumor, Product of the Year Voting…
October 20, 2016
CropLife Editor Eric Sfiligoj shares a new rumor about the Dow-DuPont merger and updates on two CropLife-driven programs, the CropLife Read More
Soybean Closeup
FungicidesFMC Begins Registration Process For New Fungicide Activ…
October 19, 2016
FMC Agricultural Solutions has begun the joint U.S. EPA and Canadian Pest Management Regulatory Agency registration process for bixafen, a new Read More
Soil Young Corn
Industry NewsAgribusiness Search Firm Appoints New Managing Partner
October 18, 2016
Morris Bixby Group, a leading agribusiness search firm providing the highest quality professional recruiting and career advancement services since 2000, Read More
Wheat Field North Dakota
FertilizerUnited Suppliers Acquires Kansas Fertilizer Business
October 17, 2016
United Suppliers, Inc. has purchased the assets of Evans Enterprises, LLC, an ammonium chloride fertilizer business based in Olathe, KS. Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsFMC Launches New Operations In Argentina, Exits Joint V…
October 17, 2016
FMC Corp. has exited its joint venture with Ruralco Soluciones S.A. FMC has launched new commercial operations, FMC Quimica S.A., Read More
Dow AgroSciences
InsecticidesRenewed Registration Issued For Products Containing Sul…
October 17, 2016
On October 14, 2016, the U.S. EPA re-established the registration of products containing sulfoxaflor (Isoclast Active), including Transform WG, Closer Read More
Eric SfiligojThe Whys Of Agriculture
October 17, 2016
During 2016, there have been myriad challenges facing the whole agricultural industry. Such wide ranging issues as water protection, sustainable Read More
Young Corn Field
FertilizerImproved Phosphorus Management Essential To Feeding Wor…
October 14, 2016
With a global population expected to reach 9 billion people by 2050, improved management of key essential nutrients such as Read More
ManagementHarvest and Crop Price Updates; EPA and Crop Protection…
October 13, 2016
Glyphosate and atrazine get public comment support from ARA as each is reviewed by EPA, and the latest on the Read More
Matt Hopkins15 Twitter Accounts Every Ag Professional Must Follow
October 13, 2016
What do singer Katy Perry and the President of the United States have in common? They are two of the Read More
Corn Field
Industry NewsArysta LifeScience Adds Two Key Account Managers
October 13, 2016
Arysta LifeScience North America recently announced the addition of two key account managers: Doug Hoberty and Rob Wier. Hoberty and Read More
EquipmentDeere Announces Development Deal with Scherer Design
October 12, 2016
Deere & Co. announces a joint development agreement with Scherer Design Engineering, Inc. to develop and commercialize kernel processing solutions Read More
Crop InputsMarrone Bio Innovations Celebrates 10 Years Of Innovati…
October 12, 2016
Richard Rominger, former Deputy Secretary of the USDA and former agricultural secretary of California, emceed a 10th anniversary luncheon celebration on Read More
Photo credit: The United Soybean Board/The Soybean Checkoff.
Industry NewsVive Crop Protection Closes Financing To Support Corpor…
October 11, 2016
Vive Crop Protection has announced the closing of growth financing to support 2017 commercial expansion. The financing was led by Read More
SoftwareHD Precision Analytics Launches New Mobile App For Agri…
October 11, 2016
AGSentry from HD Precision Analytics is a Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) platform that offers simple data service and actionable analytics tool. It focuses Read More
HerbicidesWeed Control And Soil Health Go Hand-in-Hand
October 10, 2016
Although many landowners may not give much thought to weed control as a soil health measure, Gared Shaffer, South Dakota Read More
Students Soybean Field
Eric Sfiligoj2016 Young Leaders Speak
October 10, 2016
One of the consistent cries in agriculture today is the need to try and connect with the younger generations, attempting Read More