Whether you view it as a curse or a blessing, carrying a cell phone is the next thing to a societal necessity these days. Fortunately, there are a number of “apps” for smartphones and tablets that can make day-to-day dairy farm management easier and more efficient. Check out these app categories that may enhance your life:
- Dairy Management – PCDART Pocket Dairy, CowManager, University of Wisconsin Locomotion Scorer, University of Minnesota Hay Price Calculator, Penn State University Dairy Cents, University of Wisconsin Calf Health Scorer, Penn State University Crop Cents
- Veterinary Pharmaceutical Information -- Compendium of Veterinary Products; Food Animal Residue Avoidance Database (FARAD) VetGRAM; Zoetis My VFD
- Weather – The Weather Channel, Weather Bug, Weather Underground, University of Missouri Thermal Aid
- Dairy Markets – Daily Dairy Report, Merck Dairy Market Central
- Maps – Arc GIS, Google Earth
- Crop Production -- Agrian Mobile, ScoutPro Corn, University of Missouri Weed ID, Ag PhD, SoilWeb
- Sprayer/Tank Mix Assistance – Simplot Spray Guide, TeeJet Spray Select, Syngenta TankCalc, DuPont TankMix, Spray Lite, Clemson University Calibrate My Sprayer
- Business Management – Iowa State University Pesticide & Field Records, Ag Web, Quickbooks, Farm Logs, Mile IQ (for tracking mileage), Evernote (note-taking).
Fred Hall, Northwest Iowa Extension Dairy Field Specialist for Iowa State University, said business management apps like Mile IQ provide excellent documentation if you ever are audited. Other tips he offers about apps are:
- Be sure to only download apps from known sources.
- Be aware that some apps – especially those that utilize live data like mapping apps – are known for using a lot of data on your phone.
- To preserve your battery life, make sure apps are not running in the background. Shut them down several times a day.
- Recognize that while most apps are free, if you use it frequently, a paid app may be worth the investment.