Technology Journal

January 25, 2013 08:44 PM
Technology Journal

USDA–ARS Adds Aerial Spray App

To have more farming knowledge readily available on farmers’ smartphones, USDA’s AgriculturalResearch Service (ARS) has developed a mobile application to help aerial sprayers make better informed decisions.

The Aerial Spray app helps aerial and ground crews minimize pesticide drift by optimizing the type of equipment and pesticide they use. For example, there are dozens of manufacturers that produce different types of spray technology—each with its own nozzle type, flow rate and pressure-setting range. That can make for a complicated setup. During application, sprayers also have to consider wind speed, air temperature, flight speed and other factors.

The USDA–ARS app walks users through the process of adjusting nozzles and settings to deliver the optimal droplet size and minimize drift. Find Aerial Spray for free at the Apple App Store or Google Play.

25% to Abandon Their PC

pC2 Technology Journal Chart

A study by the Center for the Digital Future shows that one-fourth of computer owners will not replace their device once it becomes unusable. This trend suggests that tablets and smartphones will become increasingly important, says Jeffrey Cole, director of the center, at the University of Southern California Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism.

"In only a few years, the explosive growth of tablet adoption has created significant shifts in how, when and why Americans go online," Cole says. He predicts that in the next three years, PC and laptop usage will decline in favor of more portable options. 

Weed Problems? Nuke ’em

Australian researchers are testing an adapted microwave technology as a new weapon in the war on weeds.

"There was some early work using microwaves in the 1970s, but the conclusion was it was not  viable because chemicals were so cheap and there were no problems with resistant weeds," says Graham Brodie, a researcher at the University of Melbourne.

Now, Brodie and his colleagues are building a prototype that contains four microwave panels, each capable of emitting 2 kw—about twice the wattage of a consumer microwave oven.

"Herbicide resistance and environmental concerns already limit the chemical options available for weed management," Brodie says. "In looking for alternative weed treatments, we have found that microwave treatment is immediate, chemical-free and leaves no residue at the treatment site."

Brodie says the goal is to ultimately develop a solar-powered robotic microwave machine with GPS technology. Resistant weeds cost Australian farmers an estimated $4 billion annually.

Portable Grain Moisture Tester

pC2 Technology Journal Portable Grain Moisture Tester

AgraTronix’s new MT-PRO+ 05100 Portable Grain Moisture Tester provides direct readouts for 40 different grain scales for grain with up to 40% moisture.

Upgrades from prior versions include a USB port, grain scale, firmware and diagnostic updates. Users can calculate their average test results and then store the average calibration for all samples that they have tested. The unit can monitor moisture of 5% to 40% and a temperature range of 32°F to 113°F.

The multilingual display is available in English, Spanish and five other languages.

For more, visit the company’s website at



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