Although the agriculture industry is usually behind other industries when adopting new technologies, the increase in smartphones has opened the industry to a multitude of new useful tools for the ag professional. As agribusiness professionals are buying newer phones, smartphones are quickly replacing phones that could not store data or connect to the internet efficiently. Agribusiness companies, the government and other organizations are developing smartphone apps at a fast rate, which is bringing new tools to ag retailers, crop consultants and growers.

It is impossible to list all of the apps available, but here is a list of some apps that are more targeted to retailers and consultants.

AGRONOMIC APPS

Apps that help retailers and consultants better manage weeds, scout for insects, determine if invasive species are near treatment thresholds and analyzing soil samples are functions of some apps.

Aphid Speed Scout from the University of Nebraska. This app helps determine if soybean aphids have reached the 250 aphids per plant threshold. It relies on the number of "infested" plants. Plants are considered "infested" if there are 40 or more aphids on that sample. This app is designed for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch.

Western Bean Cutworm Speed Scout app from the University of Nebraska. UNL and University of Minnesota entomologists developed the app. It allows users to speed-scout cornfields to help them determine whether WBC populations have reached the action threshold for treatments. The app also can store scouting history, which allows the user to review the information without Internet access. The app can also send a reminder for when scouting is needed again. This app is designed for both iPhone and iPad.

The Northern Plains Integrated Pest Management Guide from South Dakota State University. This guide is intended to provide current effective management options for insect and other arthropod pests affecting soybeans grown in North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska, Iowa, Minnesota and Kansas. This app is designed for iPhone/iPod Touch and Android.

The Age of AppsMobile Farm Manager app from John Deere. The application connects to customers’ Apex farm management software. Functions include field maps, historical reports, GPS tracking, field navigation and soil sampling grids. Customers with this app can share agronomic information with ag service providers, farm managers and other advisors as needed. This streamlines the communications process and helps ensure the accuracy of various applications and production practices. The app is available for iPad and iPhone.

Weed Manager Plus app from Monsanto. This mobile app provides weed management recommendations by region and crop, calculates potential incentives for farmers who use endorsed residual herbicide products and delivers a tank mixing tool and measurement conversion calculator. It is available for iPhone and iPad.

Extreme Beans app from the United Soybean Board (USB). This app includes two calculators that helps evaluate the economics of various inputs. One calculator determines whether the yield benefits of various input combinations justify the costs. The other uses the main maturity rates for a farmer's region, the cost of soybean seed and an estimated price of the soybeans at the time of sale to determine an optimal seeding rate based on a percentage of return. It is available for iPhone and Android.

Nutrient Removal app from Mosaic. This app makes nutrient removal data readily available in the office, field or tractor. The app serves as a new tool for growers as they partner with their local agronomist to plan for next year’s planting season and crop nutrient programs. It is available for iPhone and Android.

PGR Calculator app from OHP Inc. The PGR Calculator allows the user to calculate and apply Plant Growth Regulants in the field. It is available for iPhone, iTouch or iPad.

Spray Lite from EZi App. This app replaces the manual spray log, stores chemical details and features real-time reporting. The app provides entries for detailed information regarding the farm, where you sprayed, what chemical you applied and what crops you are growing. The settings are adjustable to focus on a specific operator, including the spray pressure, water rate and speed of application. It is available for iPhone.

SEED SELECTION TOOLS

Financing and seed investment app from Rabo AgriFinance. This app provides financing information to help growers make informed seed purchasing decisions. The app is fully functional without an internet connection after it is downloaded. It is available for the iPad.

Variety Selector Tool from Bayer CropScience. This app helps make the seed selection process easier for 2013 crop planning by providing tailored information on seed varieties and creating shareable seed plans. The easy-to-use Seed Needs Calculator within the app computes seeding rates and acreage to determine bag/box needs and, with the new enhancements, the app now offers a Liberty herbicide usage calculator, which indicates how many gallons of Liberty a grower will need for varieties with the LibertyLink trait. For quick conversions, a new stand-alone calculator allows for simple conversions of bags to boxes and Liberty usage. The enhanced VST is available currently in an iPad version. The tablet application for Android is coming soon.

MIXING APPS

Mix Tank 2.0 from Precision Laboratories. The 2.0 version is an enhancement from the original that won AgProfessional’s 2011 Readers’ Choice Top Product of the Year Award. Besides the Android availability, the new version can create spray logs, add your location data, receive alerts and integrate weather. The purpose is to make more data more available and even faster. The new version in now available for Android in addition to iPhone and iPad.

TankMix from DuPont. The DuPont TankMix Calculator Application lets you quickly and easily calculate how much product and water you need for effective applications based on your acreage or spray tank size. This is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

Mobile Ag Tank Mix Calculator from Marrone BioInnovations. This app quickly, easily and accurately helps growers and applicators calculate proper ratios of up to any three pesticide products to be mixed together in the spray tank. It is available for iPhone and iPod Touch.

SOIL TESTING OR ANALYZING

Optimizer 2.0 from Advanced Ag Solutions LLC. This app allows users to upload GPS soil sampling data, which includes phosphorus, potassium, pH and organic matter. Optimizer 2.0 allows growers to load their actual soil data and combine it with radar rain data to get an accurate picture of what's happening. It is available for most smartphone devices.

SoilWeb from the California Soil Resource Lab. SoilWeb is a portable version of the California Soil Resource Lab’s online interface to USDA-NRCS digital soil survey data. The application uses the GPS built into the iPhone to acquire your current location, and then submits an HTTP request to our server via the SoilWeb API. This is available for iPhone, iTouch, and Android devices.

EQUIPMENT

FieldNet Mobile from Lindsay. This app allows growers to fully control and monitor their irrigation pivots anywhere through the convenience of smartphones. It is available for iPhone, Droid and BlackBerry.

Insecticide Spray Equipment Calibration apps from the Agricultural Research Service. These two apps are designed to ensure that aerial and ground-based crews can hit targets and minimize pesticide drift by keying in specifics on the type of equipment and pesticide they are using. One app is designed for ground-based spraying for mosquitoes and other threats to public health. It covers 60 different sprayers made by 19 manufacturers and was developed jointly with the Department of Defense's Navy Entomology Center of Excellence in Jacksonville, Fla. The other app, for aerial spraying, walks users through the process of adjusting nozzles and settings so pesticides are delivered at optimal droplet sizes. These apps are available for iPhones and Android.

OTHER

Drive Safe.ly. DriveSafe.ly is a mobile application that reads text (SMS) messages and e-mails aloud in real time and automatically responds without drivers touching the mobile phone. DriveSafe.ly is the solution to texting while driving. There is no need to touch the phone while driving. One-touch activation and it is Bluetooth and radio transmitter compatible. It is available for Blackberry.

FuelLog. Tracks and logs mileage, fuel consumption, maintenances, services and costs of a car or motorbike and knows exactly how much your car costs. FuelLog calculates a lot of useful statistics like fuel consumption and economy (e.g. mpg or l/100km) of your car or other vehicle, total cost and mileage, average cost per distance or gas amount, average cost per month, year and driven distances, expenses and a lot more. Everything is managed in an easy to use interface. It is available for Android.

Agriculture Regulations (Title 7 Code of Federal Regulations) by Tekk Innovations LLC. The app features the entire text of Title 7 CFR, Agriculture, on an Apple device. This is available for iPhone, iPod Touch and iPad.

We certainly can’t list all of the apps that are available, but we would like to hear from you about what your favorite apps are for ag professionals. Share your tips and suggestions for apps with me and I’ll add them to the list, which you can find on our website www.AgProfessional.com. Contact me at cscherer@vancepublishing.com.