Remember when mobile apps first exploded onto the scene and became quite the rage. The year was 2010. The slogan “There’s an app for that!” took off, the app stores emerged, and the tech slang ‘app’ was voted the 2010 ‘Word of the Year’ by the American Dialect Society.
Yet, mobile apps were just scratching the surface in digital capabilities at that time. If you strike a comparison between the agricultural apps launched today versus those that were first introduced more than a decade ago, the difference is monumental. The majority of the apps ag professionals downloaded in 2010 performed some basic functions of computing and record keeping, which almost seem archaic compared to the apps of today.
Today, technologies like IOT, machine learning, and artificial intelligence (AI) have migrated apps to another level, wherein everything is focused on giving users actionable insights. App developers continue to innovate new ways to solve problems, increase the availability of knowledge, and connect businesses to customers. Moreover, there are new e-commerce apps that have helped retailers increase their sales exponentially. (Hint: Check out the new AgVend Grower Portal and CommoditAg apps in the slideshow above).
“We are past the honeymoon phase of agriculture apps,” says Casey Niemann, President of AgriSync. “Farmers and retailers want solutions that solve practical problems. The bar for quality and continuous improvement continues to be raised. 2020 has taught us that the digital transformation is upon us now. We are glad to be providing a service that brings farmers and their trusted advisors together — even when they are social distancing.”
Trends in Agriculture Apps
So where do agriculture apps go next? As we look ahead to 2021 and beyond, we caught up with a few ag-tech companies to gain insight into the trends shaping mobile app development and what we can expect to see in agriculture.
“Security is becoming more and more important in every aspect of our digital life,” says Reinder Prins, Chief Marketing Officer for Agworld. “Secure login technology like AuthO or other SSO providers are becoming a ‘must have’ instead of a ‘nice to have’ for all agricultural apps.”
Enhanced analytics capabilities is another area that is growing in importance in app development, adds Prins.
“Instead of offering desktop-only applications that are linked to a mobile app, with reporting capabilities that apps can’t offer, mobile apps are increasingly designed to integrate with specialized analytics platforms that can offer users on-demand analytics on mobile devices,” he says. “One of the main new features of Agworld that has been important to our users in 2020 is the integration between Agworld and Microsoft Power BI. Instead of relying on static reports, the Microsoft Power BI integration now allows Agworld users to create dashboards with those statistics that are important to them. Users can also integrate existing data from other systems into their dashboards, leveraging Power BI as much as possible.”
Consolidation is also expected to play a role in agricultural app development. “When Climate Corp. and other large players offer their platforms for free it makes it hard for some great software platforms to compete,” says Liron Brish, CEO of Farm Dog. “I believe that a roll-up of some of these will produce some incredible offerings for growers and agronomists.”
There’s also been a trend toward apps designed to support the grower/agronomist, not replace them. “As the industry has milked the ‘early adopters’ dry in terms of software adoption, there is now a migration back towards the ‘muddy boots,'” Brish says. “Three years ago, many app developers were trying to replace the agronomist. The industry has wised up and realized it’s not about replacing the agronomist, it’s about empowering the agronomist. This means solutions are needed for the non-PhD agronomist who is eager to try out the shiny new toy. Solutions are needed for the competent, methodical grower/agronomist, which is a vast majority of folks out there.
“Having said that, growers/agronomists are becoming more tech-savvy,” he adds. “Today I get unsolicited questions about data insights and data layer integrations that three years ago would have elicited a ‘what’s that?’ response if I were the one to ask the grower/agronomist the question.”
2021 List of Apps for Agriculture
I’ve once again researched and evaluated the newest farming apps available for Androids, iPads, iPhones, and more. The apps listed in the slideshow above were either introduced or significantly updated in 2020. I’ve also included a few older apps that may have been off your radar but are definitely worthy of downloading. Be sure to check out this year’s list of agriculture apps, many of which reflect the trends identified by our experts. The list contains a good mix of new apps (10) and updated ones (18). Here’s a breakdown of what you can expect to find in the slideshow, which will receive updates throughout the year.
- Total Apps Featured: 30
- New Apps (released within the last year): 10
- Recently Updated: 17
- Most Common Type: Scouting, Farm Management
- New to the list (May 9): Drift App, Sirrus
Want more agriculture apps? Be sure to check out these other lists:
- 15 Best New Agriculture Apps for 2019
- 10 New Mobile Apps for Precision Agriculture in 2018 (PrecisionAg)
- 17 Agriculture Apps That Will Help You Farm Smarter In 2017
- 10 Must-Have Agriculture Apps That Will Make You More Efficient In 2016
- 10 Best New Agriculture Apps For 2015
- 15 Best New Agriculture Apps Worth Downloading In 2014
- 13 New Mobile Agriculture Apps For 2013
- 10 Best Mobile Agriculture Apps For 2012
- 20 Best Mobile Apps For Agriculture For 2011
If you have a favorite new app that is on my lists or one that is not, tell me about it at [email protected] or post a comment below.