Modern farmers can do everything from monitoring down-to-the-minute weather patterns, to precisely mixing fertilizers, chemicals and other precision agriculture techniques, to managing machinery maintenance with one simple, unassuming tool – their cell phones.
Mobile agriculture apps, available on cell phones and tablets, have become some of the most convenient and helpful tools for farmers to keep in their back pockets – literally.
“Everyone has a smart phone, right? You might as well use it for something that is going to help you,” says Jeremy Greene, a Clemson University entomologist who aided in the development of several mobile ag apps. “It can help farmers be more efficient. You may not have a notepad or calculator handy to do manual calculations, but everyone has their phone on them.”
Greene was instrumental in the creation of multiple free apps that assist with the proper calibration and mixing of spraying equipment. Calibrate My Sprayer allows farmers to do just that, making sure spraying volume and calibration are accurate. Mix My Sprayer lets a grower compile a list of their favorite chemicals and calculates exactly how much to put into the tank, depending on the rate they want and mix size in their sprayer.
Greene says they’ve received lots of positive feedback thus far, and both apps have been downloaded approximately 20,000 times. They are available for Android and iOS smartphones and tablets for free in the app stores.
Something for Every Grower
Sprayer management is just one blip on the massive map of topics mobile farming and agriculture apps cover. AgriSync allows farmers to connect with advisors via real-time video to solve issues like equipment problems or pest damage. Dark Sky is one of the most hyper-local weather apps available with extremely specific forecasts, allowing farmers to know when it will start and stop raining for the exact spot they’re standing on. Tractor Pal helps farmers keep track of machinery maintenance such as dates for oil and air filter changes, purchase dates and equipment serial numbers. Agrivi is an app that allows growers to easily plan, monitor and analyze all activities on their farms including tillage, planting, spraying, fertilization, irrigation, harvesting and other activities. There are even apps available to help farmers stay on top of their operational finances. With the wide array of problem-solving apps, it’s a no-brainer for farmers to take advantage. Plus, most of these apps are either free or require a small, one-time fee, making it more than worth the investment.
Work Smarter, Not Harder
Kati Migliaccio, professor of agricultural and biological engineering at the University of Florida Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, is the lead designer of the SmartIrrigation apps, created with the intent to help growers take the guesswork out of how much water should be applied during irrigation of specific crops.
“I primarily focus on water conservation, irrigation and hydrology in teaching, research and extension,” Migliaccio says. “I became involved in app development because of my interest in connecting growers with data in a usable format for making decisions.”
SmartIrrigation apps are available for crops including strawberries, turfgrass, cotton, vegetables and more, and provide the farmer with an irrigation schedule that adapts in real time with weather changes and depending on where the plant is in the growing stage.
“The apps can be used to schedule irrigation or check other irrigation scheduling methods,” Migliaccio says. “It helps farmers save resources by having better knowledge on how to apply water that benefits crop production.”
Ultimately, the benefit of using mobile farming apps is simple. They allow farmers to work smarter, not harder, and that is the key to making them better business owners.
Six Ways Mobile Agriculture Apps Let Farmers Work Smarter