Modern farmers have countless resources at their disposal that those who came before could only have dreamt of. If we compare agriculture today with what was the norm 10 — or even five — years ago, the contrast is staggering. Over the last few years, farmers have reaped the benefits of numerous technological advances, and some of the most useful of them have come in the form of agricultural apps on smartphones.
The array of apps that could be useful for farmers is already vast and continues to grow. Armed with an Android, iPhone or even an iPad, they can scroll through the available apps to find a program that fits their every need, from buying new machinery to analyzing soil types.
But it is not only ag apps that are making farmers’ lives easier. Help can come from some unlikely places, and programs that were not designed specifically for agricultural use can be utilized in innovative ways.
With this in mind, we thought it would be a good idea to take a look at some of the useful apps currently on the market. Some are obvious choices for any farmer, while others may have previously been overlooked. Whether you are already ag-tech-savvy or are only just learning how the device in your pocket could change your farm management, this list will give you a sense of what is out there and how it can be used to your advantage.
Long neglected in terms of innovation and investment, feed management technology is finally making strides in the ag-tech industry. Until recently, it was still common for farmers to manage their feeding by using a pen and paper. Now, however, there are plenty of resources available on the App Store to make this process more efficient and cost-saving.
Taking into account key variables, such as maintenance requirements, animal growth, lactation and more, this free calculator can provide farmers with instant information on their livestock's nutritional needs, feed values and feed allocation.
- InTouch Forage Budgeting
The management of forage stocks has also become a topical issue on farms in recent years, especially with changing weather patterns. Fortunately, smartphone technology can also play a role in long-term planning.
This app calculates the total forage available to the farmer in both fresh weight and dry matter from clamped forage and additional baled forage. The user inputs the forage required to feed livestock during the winter housed period, and the app then determines if the farmer has enough resources at his or her disposal.
Developed in association with the team at Alltech E-CO2 and available on all mobile devices, this app becomes particularly handy moving into the winter, when the demand for forage is at its greatest. Farmers need to be proactive in measuring conserved forage quantities in order to avoid any potential shortfalls.
Whether they want to admit it or not, some farmers are careless note-takers. For a profession in which constant checks and record-keeping are essential, many farmers leave too much to chance. This task can be made easier and quicker with modern technology. On a base level, it is standard practice for all smartphones to come with some form of notepad app included. You can even set reminders that will alert you about certain items and tasks at a pre-arranged time.
This multi-platform app allows you to access your notes and photographs from your smartphone, desktop and tablet, syncing everything to make sure you are always up to date. It also allows you to share content with other users, which comes in handy when disseminating information among your team.
- Google Docs
The only drawback to Evernote is that many of its sharing and collaborative features are only available through a paid subscription. Google Docs, a free alternative with similar capabilities, could be a suitable replacement.
- GPS Fields Area Measure
Ask any farmer how much land they have, and they will be able to give you an answer straightaway. Being able to do so is an essential aspect of the profession and is an ability that many wear as a badge of honor. However, this off-the-top-of-the-head figure is only ever a ballpark number, probably rounded up to the nearest acre.
GPS Fields Area Measure is the perfect tool for determining distances and field perimeters and areas, fast! Using satellite imaging, this app provides you with an accurate measurement of your piece of land, saving you time and money. For added convenience, it can also be used offline, and saved measurements can be shared between users.
By its nature, farming is an outdoor enterprise. The success of a harvest, down to the budgeting of forage, depends heavily on the weather. While it can never be fully predicted, many tools and devices have been developed over the years to make dealing with the weather a bit easier. Modern technology now provides the most comprehensive methods of navigating the whims of Mother Nature. There is a plethora of weather apps on the market, all of which can provide highly accurate forecasts.
- Strawberry Advisory System monitors the weather so as to help keep strawberry crops free from fruit rot.
- Hurricane is the American Red Cross' hurricane-monitoring app.
- Weather Underground
Along with providing accurate weather information throughout the world, this free app can also be accessed in a vast range of languages. Collecting up-to-the-minute data from more than 270,000 global weather stations, it also lets users contribute by reporting on weather conditions in their own regions.
Buying and selling apps
These days, it has never been easier to go on a shopping spree. A short time spent browsing online can quickly leave you with myriad new possessions and an alarmingly low bank balance. The agriculture industry is not immune to this — and now, farmers are able to get in on the fun, too!
If you are in the market to buy or sell new or used machinery and farm equipment, this global app gives users access to thousands of sale listings. Its user-friendly interface allows you to easily search for equipment and parts, which can be bought directly or at auction.
- Cattle Market Mobile
Your smartphone can even give you the edge when bidding on livestock. Traditionally, farmers would enter a market blind, not knowing anything about the animals being offered. Now, apps are emerging that allow farmers to do research and even make bids beforehand.
This handy tool collects data on current auction prices across the U.S. Using this information as a guide, farmers can see exactly how much they should be paying for steers, bulls, heifers and more.
While only available in Ireland, this app is changing the way producers make decisions about livestock. This app works in conjunction with livestock marts throughout the country to provide users with vital information before they make their decisions. Whereas before, a farmer at an auction often had to rely on gut feeling when bidding, this mobile app negates any guesswork, helping you find the perfect animal for your needs.
For an all-around app that connects farmers with multiple sectors of the agriculture industry, this real-time agribusiness app puts users directly in touch with suppliers of feed, fertilizers, parts and more. It allows producers to create personal and secure working relationships while also saving them time and money.
Farm smarter, not harder, with these helpful apps for farmers. We hope these useful tools will help you better manage what you have worked so hard for.