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Precision Farming Tools on Your Phone

July 22, 2011
By: Sara Schafer, Farm Journal Media Business and Crops Editor
Cell phones are becoming powerful, easy-to-carry tools for farmers. With more and more applications (apps) being developed for those involved with agriculture, farmers should stay informed on this ever-changing technology, says Isaac Ferrie of Crop-Tech Consulting.
 
"Phone apps let you have all the information you normally keep in a binder in the office at your fingertips in the field where you can make the most use of it," he says.
 
Ferrie says most guys are more comfortable using their phones than personal digital assistants (PDA) or other field-recording devices.
 
Some tasks will be more suitable to do on your phone. "Scouting and soil testing are two areas where I think apps will really thrive," he says.
 
Researching possible agricultural apps online and in your service providers’ app store or market is highly recommended. "You should do research and read reviews so you don’t end up with apps you don’t need," he says.
 
Additionally, not all apps are free, but you shouldn’t let that deter you. "Don’t be afraid to pay for apps," Ferrie says. "Look at the utility and see if it’s worth the cost."
 
Ferrie discussed three new precision-farming-related apps during this session at the 2011 Corn College near Bloomington, Ill.
 

GISRoam

This iPad app can be used for data collection, yield/harvest mapping and equipment inventory. Additionally, it provides displays of topographic maps, high-resolution color aerial photographs, soil maps and climate data. This app is available now.
 

Precision Earth

This app lets you load field information, then grid it based on acres. In the field, you can use it for sample collection and record keeping. The company promotes the record keeping capabilities as a key feature. It is compatible with iPad and iPhones and should be available sometime this year.
 

LandView

Another app that’s on the horizon is Landview. This app is being designed to aide you in aerial imaging and record keeping. For those who use GeoVantage for imagery, this app is advantageous because you can instantly access those images on your phone. The company says it should be available sometime this year.
 
 

 

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