Apps for the Field: A Quick List of New and Notable Apps

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New apps aimed specifically at farmers are launched every month.

From the very simple, to the GPS-reference, cloud-shared, multi-user type, the number of made-for-agriculture apps grows each month. If you’ve got a current smartphone or tablet, you’re set to begin incorporating these handy time savers and data-management tools into your farm.

If you’re somewhat overwhelmed by the technology, fear not. Some apps are really just task-specific calculators (like those from Beyond Agronomy, which include a tank mix guide and a seeding rate calculator). Others are simply in-hand, on-the-go resources, like the International Plant Nutrition Institute nutrient removal app.

As farmers adopt the use of the technology, apps and app developers are quickly heeding the call for what farmers need. Recently, six new made-in-Western-Canada apps rolled out that cover everything from estimating combine losses, to determining spray quality, to choosing a buffer zone while spraying, to narrowing down nozzle selection. These apps, developed in Saskatchewan in conjunction with Dr. Tom Wolf, should be available in the iTunes store by spring.

If you’re looking to get more interactive or fully integrate apps into data management on your farm, there’s more than a few ways to do so. Field scouting apps like FieldNotes and ScoutDoc Cloud allow you to GPS-reference what you’re seeing or measuring in a field. Farm At Hand is a free app and web-based platform that allows you, and up to five other users, to track bin storage, field activities and contract commitments from your phone or your desktop.

Then there’s information management. Nearly every media company has an app (I’m biased, but I think the RealAgriculutre app is pretty sweet, and it’s free. Ahem), but if you’re looking for an app that doubles as a price discovery and market intelligence tool, you need Twitter. When used to its full potential, Twitter (as an app, on the desktop or organized via TweetDeck or HootSuite) is a powerful information gathering tool that makes geography inconsequential. It’s well worth taking the time to learn how to use, especially if you’ve got an interest in grain marketing, or deal with any smaller acreage crops where market intel can be tough to find.

For those looking to change up how they’ve typically sold grain, FarmLead is a mobile and web-based platform that allows buyers and sellers to connect to set their own terms for a deal.

There are so many others out there — many manufacturer specific machinery or nozzle apps exist. Perhaps the toughest part is finding them (which is why the any words in bold above are a direct link to the app or company!); the search function on the app stores rarely brings up the right app. Try a browser-based search first to get you there.

If you’ve got a favourite app, please leave a comment below! We’re always getting requests for user-friendly apps and at the pace new ones are added, I’d be happy to update this story often.

Where To Find Apps Most apps are available for download on iTunes, the Google Play store or (but less so all the time) BlackBerry App World. Simply search by name or term, and you’ll find an entire world of apps to try. Some are free (free is great, but expect less functionality and possibly more crashes, though there are exceptions) and some cost $50 or more. Read the reviews, choose apps based on what you need (many are well worth the money), and be sure to check whether or not you need an Internet connection for full functionality (some of the production guides only partially work if not live)

A version of this story first appeared in the Alberta Wheat Commission newsletter.