January 1, 2012
Apps: They’re not just a restaurant food choice. They’re applications; typically small, specialized programs downloaded onto mobile devices. That’s what dictionary.com says. And their popularity grows as two-thirds of Corn & Soybean Digest online polltakers use smartphone apps when farming.
I like to define apps as utilities to make your life easier. Whether your personal or business life, apps have the ability to quickly bring you information. And there are a great number of them to help you on your farming operation.
Let’s start with simple operations, like chemical application and tankmixing. There are a handful of tankmix apps available, all encompassing the same utility of choosing the tank volume, product volume, spray volume, area to cover, etc. TankMix is available for Droid, iPhone and iPad. Yara Tankmix is available for both Droid and iPhone. Tank Mix is also available on the same platforms. All of these are free downloads.
There are also apps to guide nitrogen application. The Corn N Rate Calculator and N Price Calculator, developed by the University of Wisconsin, are available for iPhone and are free to download. Both offer simple utility and are easy to use by inputting a few numbers and selecting a few other options. Other calculators available include Corn Yield Calculator, Corn Planting Calculator and Grain Moisture Calculator. The Yield Calculator is $1.99 and available for both android and iPhone markets. The Planting Calculator is the same price, and is available for iPhone. The Grain Moisture Calculator costs $3.19 and is available for android. Hutchinsons Fieldwise app (free for android and iPhone) includes calculators for seed rates and also tankmix options.
If you’re looking for more all-encompassing management apps, check out Farm Manager for the iPhone. It costs $16.99, and offers the capability to enter crop data, record chemical/fertilizer use, track livestock and track machinery maintenance.
We can’t forget about scouting. Northern Plains Integrate Pest Management has developed a guide to soybean pests. NPIPM Soybean Guide is a free download for android and iPhone and offers photos, descriptions and management for many soybean pests. ScoutDoc ($49.99) is a record-keeping app for the iPad that is designed for farmers to input crop details as well as weed, insect and disease pressure, field by field. Coming soon is ScoutPro for corn and soybeans. It will be available for android and iPhone, as well as iPad and other tablet devices. ScoutPro will allow identification of weeds, insects and diseases, and will create crop-scouting reports.
There are a variety of ag news apps available, as well. From CME Group Mobile (free for android and iPhone) to USDA News Reader (99¢ for iPhone), many ag news apps exist to bring you the latest information.
Utility and Entertainment
Apps can be more than just business management tools. There are many apps that offer basic, every day utilities. And lets not forget about having a little fun, too. Here’s a roundup of free apps that come in handy and offer a little fun for those moments of downtime.
The Weather Channel. We all want to know what’s going to happen outside. And, this affects farming in a big way.
Flashlight. This handy dandy app will turn the flash from your phone’s camera into a flashlight.
iHandy Level. Believe it or not, this app will turn your phone into a level. Also available are plumbs, rulers and surface levels.
Convert Units. Need to convert area, angle, currency, energy, force? This app offers numerous conversion units at the touch of the screen.
Red Laser. This is a QR and barcode reader. You know those funny little pixilated squares you see on stories in our magazine? Download Red Laser then scan them. They’ll bring you the story on your phone.
For some fun, I recommend Cut the Rope, TicTacFree, Shotgun Free, Monster Trucks Nitro and of course, Angry Birds. Also, don’t be left out without Facebook, Twitter, Linked In or Pinterest.
About the Author(s)
Jen grew up in south-central Minnesota and graduated from Minnesota State University, Mankato, with a degree in mass communications. She served as a communications specialist for the Minnesota Soybean Growers Association and Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council, and was a book editor before joining the Corn & Soybean Digest staff.
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