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

One comment 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

Trending Articles

InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
Crop InputsPlatform Specialty Products To Acquire Arysta LifeScience
October 20, 2014
Once the acquisition is complete, Platform Specialty Products will combine Arysta LifeScience with previously acquired companies Agriphar and Chemtura Crop Solutions. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Offers New Support For Ferguson, Area Communities
October 8, 2014
Monsanto Co. has committed $1 million in new support for several collaborative efforts in Ferguson, MO, and surrounding communities in North St. Louis County. Read More
Seed/BiotechUnapproved Genetically Modified Wheat Found In Montana
October 3, 2014
USDA reports that one year after discovery of Monsanto's unapproved wheat in a single Oregon field disrupted U.S. wheat export sales, the GMO wheat has again been found in Montana. Read More
Equipment2014 Product Of The Year Voting
September 19, 2014
The deadline to vote for the 2014 CropLife IRON Product of the Year is October 31. Please cast your vote today to help us determine the winner. Read More
FertilizerFall Fertility 2014: Forecasting Fertilizer Use
September 7, 2014
Great crops this year have tapped the soil, and fall work is definitely called for, but how challenging will that get? Read More

Latest News

Seed CareSeed Care Success Stories: Hefty Seed And Monsanto BioA…
November 1, 2014
Growers in the Dakotas have always looked for extra ways to boost crop nutrients to their seeds, with plenty of help from their ag retail partners. Read More
Seed CareThe Growing Importance Of Seed Care
November 1, 2014
Ag retailers continue to value the seed treatment portions of their businesses — as do their grower-customers. Read More
Seed CareGrowing The Future Of Seed Treatment Equipment
November 1, 2014
Seed treatment equipment manufacturers are focusing on flexibility and customer stewardship. Read More
Soybean Field
Seed CareState Of Seed Care Study: Top 8 Key Findings (Infograph…
November 1, 2014
Results from our survey of ag retailers provide valuable insight into the state of the seed care industry. Read More
StewardshipTFI Recognizes Michigan, Maryland Farms For 4R Stewards…
October 31, 2014
As farming practices increasingly attract interest from the general public, two farmers are ensuring they meet public approval. Read More
Eric SfiligojBig Brother Is Already Watching
October 31, 2014
Opponents to UAVs seem to think they could be used to spy on other people. But spying is already taking place, through the Internet. Read More
StewardshipAsmark Institute’s New Training Center Focused On…
October 31, 2014
The newly dedicated Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture will be used as a national training and education center for professionals in the ag input industry. Read More
StewardshipCTIC Tour Dives Deep Into Everglades
October 31, 2014
The most recent Conservation In Action Tour (CTIC) hit South Florida recently to tour the Everglades Agricultural Area. Read More
StewardshipResponsibleAg Begins Auditor Training
October 31, 2014
ResponsibleAg auditor training is now underway at the Ford B. West Center for Responsible Agriculture in Owensboro, KY. Read More
CropLife 100ValueAct Buys Stake In Fertilizer Dealer Agrium
October 30, 2014
ValueAct has bought 8.2 million shares in Calgary, Alberta-based Agrium, making them the second largest investor in the fertilizer dealer. Read More
InsecticidesNew Research Study Shows The Value Of Neonics
October 29, 2014
The study evaluated seed treatment, soil and foliar uses of neonicotinoid insecticides in the U.S. and Canada. Read More
StewardshipUSDA To Provide $4 Million For Honey Bee Habitat
October 29, 2014
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced today that more than $4 million in technical and financial assistance will be provided to Read More
Crop InputsValent Launches New Low VOC ProGibb LV Plus Plant Growt…
October 29, 2014
ProGibb LV Plus PGR is a high-potency, liquid gibberellic acid formulation designed to comply with California’s new air quality standards for high volatile organic compound agricultural products. Read More
Crop InputsBayer CropScience Acquires Certain DuPont Crop Protecti…
October 29, 2014
Bayer CropScience and DuPont Crop Protection have signed an agreement for Bayer to purchase certain DuPont Crop Protection Land Management assets in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand. Read More
ManagementWest Central Names New President
October 29, 2014
West Central’s board of directors have announced their unanimous decision to name Milan Kucerak President and CEO-elect following Jeff Stroburg’s retirement at the end of the fiscal year. Read More
InsecticidesValent U.S.A., MGK Form Marketing Agreement
October 24, 2014
Valent has formed an agreement with Minneapolis-based MGK to manage the marketing and sales of MGK’s crop protection line of insect control products within the U.S. beginning April 1, 2015. Read More
StewardshipFlorida’s 4R Advocate Keeps Improving
October 24, 2014
Florida farmer Alan Jones uses the 4R principles of nutrient stewardship as the core of his fertility program, which allows him to maximize production and keep costs in check. Read More
Seed/BiotechMonsanto Named One Of The World’s Best Multinational …
October 23, 2014
Monsanto ranked No. 8 in the world’s largest annual study of workplace excellence that identifies the top 25 best multinational companies in terms of workplace culture. Read More