Downloading select apps make a smartphone a vital part of Michael Kratky’s farm management tools.
A smartphone will change your business
Verbal communication has certainly changed since the telephone was invented in 1876. Gone are the days of rotary dial phones, street corner pay phones and bulky bag phones in vehicles. In 2010, 83% of Americans carried a cell phone in their pocket or purse. That instant connectivity has changed the way we communicate and do business.
"Mobile marketing continues to advance rapidly in the agriculture space," says Joel Jaeger, founder and CEO of Commodity Update, a mobile marketing service. "Farmers continue to seek and consume more and more diverse content through their phones, whether it is product information or market intelligence."
Today, phones are used for so much more than making calls; they’re used to send and receive text messages, snap and send pictures, and access the Internet. Approximately 35% of Americans own a smartphone, a phone with additional software or applications (apps), according to the Pew Internet Project. Farmers are in step with this adoption rate, adding Androids, BlackBerrys and iPhones to their farm business management tools.
"I started out with a brick phone in the 1980s, and now my phone can do more than the first computer I owned," says Michael Kratky, a Kansas farmer.
Texas Panhandle farmer Dale Artho uses his iPhone to keep track of markets. "I have a guy who helps me market my grain and fiber and another one to market my cattle. I keep in touch with them with help from my phone," he says. "I even use my phone to make sure I have enough money in the bank to keep operating."
With the help of apps, smartphones can be used for more than e-mail and tracking markets.
"Phone apps let farmers have all the information they normally keep in a binder in the office at their fingertips in the field, where they can make the most use of it," says Isaac Ferrie of Crop-Tech Consulting.
Apps are also Kratky and Artho’s favorite feature of a smartphone.
"You can measure land; it’s not going to be exact, but if you wanted to know how many acres you’ve covered while in a tractor, you can measure that," Artho says.
Kratky uses apps to measure soil density and keep track of his machinery. Both men agree that smartphone apps for use in agriculture will continue to improve and change how farmers conduct business.
Five Reasons to Own a Smartphone
- Increased connectivity: A smartphone allows you to check your e-mail and access the Internet anywhere you go—in the tractor cab, in line at the grain elevator, in the middle of a field or anywhere you have a signal.
- Access to market news and information: The markets are on the move as much as you are. The only way to track the ups and downs is to keep the information at your fingertips. The Markets page on AgWeb.com is the site’s No. 1 page viewed from smartphones.
- Hands-free talking: It’s easier to keep working if you don’t have to hold the phone up to your ear. Smartphones offer hands-free devices so you can make the turn at the end of the row without missing a call.
- It’s also a camera: When diagnosing a troublesome weed, snap a picture with your smartphone and send it via e-mail or text message to your agronomist.
- Applications: Android, BlackBerry and iPhone offer a variety of applications that can help you do business. Whether you are searching for a used tractor, watching the markets, checking your bank account or even measuring planted acreage, there’s an app for that.
- October 2011