In recent years, several companies and public institutions have developed apps for mobile devices with the goal of providing a service to agricultural consultants and growers with educational materials and support tools. There is an increasing interest in these “ag apps” and the use of new technologies for increasing the efficiency in communicating and decision-making.
This article provides a brief summary of the current state of ag apps.
Note that most of the apps presented are free to download. Before paying for any app, please check online reviews or consult with any specialist working with that app in order to understand the benefits in using it and how it can assist you in your daily farming operations. As a general rule, an app needs to be “easy to use” and “intuitive.” Most apps do not come with a user guide or a manual. Take all these points into consideration before downloading and using apps.
The ag apps are grouped into the following nine classifications with the goal of diving apps by their different uses and purposes.
• ID Apps for Agriculture — These apps are primarily utilized for identification purposes for weeds, insects, diseases and nutrients.
• Calculation Apps for Agriculture — These apps are primarily utilized as support tools and for calculation purposes.
• Economic Apps for Agriculture — These apps are related to agricultural news, weather and grain prices. Several offer weather, markets, news and grain prices in one app.
• Scouting Apps for Agriculture — This section pinpoints apps that can assist farmers in preparing maps, taking soil samples (geo-referencing the sampling points), calculating areas, measuring distances and getting information about the soil type, among several other features.
• Field Guide Apps for Agriculture — These apps compile information from several production topics such as soil fertility, weeds, insects, diseases, crop management, calculators and more.
• Livestock Apps for Agriculture — These apps relate to animal management.
• Machinery Apps for Agriculture — These apps relate to farm equipment.
• General Agriculture Apps — These apps present overall information about agriculture and related areas, such as weather information.
• Non-Agriculture Apps — These apps are general in nature and can be utilized in several ways, including scanning images and converting them to PDFs, calendar, calculator, storing documents in the cloud, reading PDF documents and more.
• Future KSUCrops Apps — The KSUCrops team, a crop production team led by KSU crop physiologist and nutritionist Ignacio Ciampitti, is developing two new apps on soybean and sorghum. These apps will be available before the 2015 growing season and will allow growers to estimate soybean and sorghum yields before harvest. Both are Android apps.