A TDA Communications Team Blog

Apps and Texas Farm Management

When we think of apps we tend to think of 20 and 30-somethings buzzing around, downloading the latest social network fad. We don’t usually think of farmers. But the day to day realities of farm management and riding in a cab make apps a more convenient source of information than a desktop or a laptop. In this post I’ve listed a group of apps that highlight how information technology is being used as an additional tool in the field to make life and farm management easier.

One of the apps that I thought was very interesting and realizes some of the potential in mobile apps is “In the Field,” Pioneer Hi-Bred’s Agronomy Alert Application. As the name suggests, people in the Ag industry are able to post comments and ideas as the come up, allowing for real-time discussions about pest issues, agronomy issues, etc.

The app developers at DTN/The Progressive Farmer used all the real estate an iPad offers to create a very versatile app. Some users may find it too busy while others will find it to be the complete package. It’s really a matter of taste. To get an idea of everything it offers, here’s a quick video-ad: 

Among the more traditional tools, Canadian company DEKALB created a “Planting Population Calculator for Agriculture” for corn and soybean crops. It has an easily read interface and usability for making in-the-cab calculations.

Ultra Chron (lite) (free, Android) is a stopwatch and count down timer. Among other things, it can be used to calibrate spray equipment

Target Date (lite) (free, Android) is a simple program that calculates time between two dates. It also will tell you a date in the future or past by simply typing in a number. For example you can ask it what will the date be in 100 days from now. Or how many days are there between now and June 17th.

Weather tracking apps are very useful. The Weather Channel, Accuweather, and the Weather Bug are among the most used at the national level. Closer to home, Texas Radars., says that that all of the NWS Texas Radars are included in their app, pulling weather info from Amarillo, Austin, Brownsville, Corpus Christi, Dallas/Ft. Worth, Del Rio, Dyess Air Force Base, East Texas, El Paso, Houston/Galveston, Lubbock, Midland/Odessa, Northeast Texas, San Angelo & San Antonio.

Bloomberg Market apps are a great example of how to provide useful, relevant, real-time, easily visible information. When you’re riding around in the tractor and you want to know what’s happening now in the markets, Bloomberg’s market graphs are a great way to tell you if it’s a green day or a red day.

GPS is a big one of course. It’s a widely used app and has been for some time. Apps such as GPS Measure can be used to measure fields, check distances traveled for water, etc.

Map apps such as My Maps Editor by Google, are also widely available and used to mark and keep track of field data.

And for those who are always driving somewhere, Drive Safe is an app that reads your text messages and emails out loud in real time through your Bluetooth or radio transmitter. They also offer an “optional customizable auto-responder.

The apps I listed are just a few among many and the field is quickly expanding as app developers work to create new solutions for farm management and Ag-industry professionals. And it makes sense: farmers are on the go. Their technology should be as well.
With that in mind, the Texas AgriLife Extension Service is conducting a new project to develop and teach agricultural applications for iPhones and iPads to farmers. Five hands-on workshops, all with the same curriculum, are scheduled from 9 a.m.-3 p.m. in January.

Dates and locations are:
Jan. 9, Lamesa, Forrest Park Community Center, South 10th and Houston.
Jan. 23, Lubbock, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 1102 East Farm to Market 1294.
Jan. 27, Plainview, South Plains College, 1920, West 24th Street.
Jan. 30, Amarillo, Texas AgriLife Research and Extension Center, 6500 Amarillo Boulevard.
Jan. 31, Dumas, location to be announced.


One comment on “Apps and Texas Farm Management

  1. Bryan
    December 20, 2011

    That DTN app is amazing, it does do much. Earl, what about you contacting them and offering them content? Maybe they woudl consider adding the Commissioner’s blog to their lineup? So how do we become relevant using out GO TEXAN app?

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