Mobile apps growing for farm use

CLARION – Farmers have an ever-growing number of mobile apps to help them in their daily work plans.

Micah Smidt, superintendent of Iowa State University’s Northern Research Farm at Kanawha, has combined a list of the high-tech apps available for farmers using their smart phones or iPads.

He presented his list of ag apps on March 24 during a meeting at the Wright County Extension office in Clarion.

Smidt’s favorite apps can be used throughout the crop year, he said, from herbicide records for each field using satellite maps, herbicide information, sprayer calibration and nozzle choices, scouting for aphids and estimating yields prior to harvest.

His apps are available for both Apple and Android platforms and can be downloaded from iTunes for Apple’s operating system and at play.google.com for Android users.

At the top of Smidt’s list is ISU’s Pesticide and Field Records app, which is free.

This app, he said, can record dates of pesticide used, weather conditions, name of applicator and a place for notes.

Satellite imagery allows tracking each field by size and crop along with restricted use pesticides and Environmental Protection Agency product registration numbers.

Other apps include:

University of Missouri’s ID Weeds. This is a free app identifying weeds by common or Latin names, or characteristics of the weed. It includes pictures of the weeds.

Mix Tank is by Precision Laboratories and is free. It is designed to help proper sequencing of tank mixing products, application rates and information; plus includes mix sheets and spray logs. It has records for weather and has mixing precautions.

Teejet Spray Select is by Teejet Technologies to select the best spray tip by entering in speed, spacing and gallons per acre. After the application type is entered a list of nozzles and pressures is shown.

SprayIT is similar to Spray Select. It is free and from Sta-Rite Industries.

Calibrate My Sprayer was designed by Clemson University. To calibrate, first select either broadcast or banded, then insert inputs, and select volume/area or catch/nozzle to complete the process.

Aphid Speed Scout is a free app from the University of Nebraska. It is designed to quickly determine if a soybean is infested with aphids, and then, based on the number of infested plants, recommend either additional scouting or treatment options.

Yield Check is free from Precision Planting and is for iPhone and iPad only. Kernels of corn are counted on three ears for 1/1000th of an acre to determine yield. Satellite maps locate where the counts were made.

Crop Calculators is a similar free program from the University of Wisconsin. It calculates yield, maturity dates and silage price adjustments.

For coverage of markets, weather, and blogs, Smidt recommends the DTN-Progressive-Farmer-Agriculture app. It is free and comprehensive in its coverage of agriculture.

The Android version of DTN’s app is available in a market strategies and ag weather choices.

The iPhone has market strategies app and an ag weather tools app; both are free.

DTN’s iPad apps, both free, offer agriculture news updates and ProphetX, a tool for trading commodities and risk management decisions.

Smidt said he foresees increasing farmer usage of smart phones and iPads as more apps are offered.

These apps will be used for guidance, recommendations and aids to decision making.

These electronic information tools will “be more useful than pliers, visegrip or a hammer,” said Smidt.

He encourages farmers to learn by using the apps.

“Just use them and learn,” said Smidt. “The apps are out there. Don’t be afraid.”