Opinion: My 5 Most Used Precision Ag Apps of 2017

Agriculture and the use of digital tools are almost inseparable today. Technology has become much more accessible and data more valuable for decision making. Mobile technology, such as smartphones and apps, have become particularly useful in agriculture.

As someone who works with technology and precision agriculture, I’m almost ashamed to admit that I didn’t get my first smartphone until almost four years ago. Up until that point, I figured that smartphones were a luxury and data plans were an expense I didn’t need. However, on a trip to Costa Rica visiting farms in the region, I was shocked to see how high the adoption of smartphones was in the country, even among rural populations and farmers. Shortly afterwards, I got my first smartphone and have integrated apps and other tools into my career as an agronomist.

The year of 2017 was a good year for farming apps, and I added a suite of new tools to my toolbox. When I look back at the apps I’ve used the most this year, five stand out: John Deere’s MyAnalyzer, Sentera’s AgVault, AgriSync, Farm Dog Scout, and Apple’s Podcast app.

John Deere MyAnalyzer

John Deere has a suite of mobile tools that are free for farmers and trusted advisors alike. These include apps such as MyOperations, Connect Mobile, and MyTransfer. The best way I’ve found to view the many apps that John Deere has available is to download the John Deere App Center onto an iPhone or Android device, which curates the apps they have available and makes it easier to research and download tools.

As an agronomist, my favorite app from John Deere is the MyAnalyzer tool. With this tool I’m able to connect with farmers that I have a partnership with and view agronomic data, such as planting data, product applications, and yield maps to better support customers. From the app I can see a list of fields, and even get turn-by-turn directions to the field if I need to conduct ground inspections.

Obviously this app is primarily geared towards individuals who are using John Deere equipment, but John Deere has released compatibility with its Operations Center with competitive displays, such as those from Raven and AgLeader, using a mobile data transfer USB drive. This allows those with mixed fleets to manage their data in one place, and view it in the MyAnalyzer app.

Sentera AgVault

Sentera is a leader in the UAV space, and has a wide selection of sensors and drones for use in agriculture. Its AgVault app allows users to autonomously fly DJI drones that have Sentera NDVI sensors installed for evaluating crop health.

The AgVault app is extremely user-friendly, and it’s almost shocking how simple the app makes flying fields and taking the pictures necessary for making detailed maps. Users simply select the field they want to fly, specify the altitude and overlap, and push the “start flight” button. The drone takes it from there, and will return if it needs additional batteries or finishes the mission.

AgriSync

The AgriSync app is one of the most unique apps I’ve had the opportunity to use, and it solves a real issue for trusted advisors and famers: bridging gaps in communication. In the agriculture industry, advisors tend to cover very large areas, which can make it difficult if a grower needs support. The majority of issues are relatively easy to solve, but require physically looking at a field or piece of equipment. This can mean a lot of windshield time, and may not be the best use of resources.

AgriSync App
With the AgriSync app, growers and trusted advisors can connect with a video call, allowing both to share ideas and solve problems virtually.

With the AgriSync app, growers and trusted advisors can connect with a video call, allowing both to share ideas and solve problems virtually. What sets this apart from other services is that AgriSync is optimized for cellular connections, which means more reliable audio and video. Growers can open tickets with their trusted advisors when they need help or have a question, allowing the trusted advisor to connect with them when they’re available, and track tickets that have been created.

The pricing structure of this app is also pretty unique in that the service is free for farmers to use. Advisors pay a small yearly subscription, which when you consider the time and resources that can be saved on field calls and the level of support you can provide to customers, could easily pay for itself.

Farm Dog Scout

Farm Dog Scout is another new app that I discovered this year, which I installed, started using, and loved. It, too, has a very generous price structure. The service is free to use for commodity crops up to 1,000 acres and specialty crops up to 250 acres. There is tiered pricing available beyond that for growers or trusted advisors who are working with more acres.

The app simplifies the process of crop scouting and keeping track of fields during the season. You can create or import field boundaries, add scouting events, take pictures and notes during field visits which are geo-referenced on a map, and mark the severity of issues. After scouting, you can create scouting reports that can be sent to the grower or other trusted advisors.

Apple’s Podcast App

The last app on my list is Apple’s Podcast app but, really, this could be any podcast app of your choice – which might not seem like it fits in with the others on this list. However, more and more groups in the industry are launching podcasts that have relevant and valuable information. I know I’m not alone with the amount of time that I spend behind the windshield, and I’ve found that podcasts are a great way to make better use of this time. Listening to podcasts helps me learn new ideas and stay up-to-date with what others are doing in the industry.

A list of agriculture podcasts is probably a topic for another article, but some of my favorites include the Agriculture Technology Podcast, Ag PhD Radio, and The Deal with Yield.

Throughout the next several years, mobile farming apps like these will become more important to the industry. With most of us carrying fairly powerful computers in our pockets in the form of smartphones, more decision-making tools will become available and leave us wondering, like I did, how we ever got along without them.

Topics:

Leave a Reply

Tools & Smart Equipment Stories
Grower Retaile iPad
Data ManagementRobust Crop Scouting Requires Advanced Data Collection
April 2, 2018
Disclaimer: I have never been a crop scout. My intolerance for insects insinuating themselves in places that are competing for Read More
DronesSentera Adds RTK Corrections to Fixed Wing Drone
March 22, 2018
Sentera announces the general release of its RTK GPS precision positioning module for the PHX Pro fixed-wing drone. The module Read More
Pexels-Agriculture_Fields_Tractor_Precision_AG
Tools & Smart EquipmentMachine Learning: The Secret Sauce of Precision Agriculture for Fighting Crop Diseases
February 13, 2018
With the development of agricultural technologies, crop and plant diseases have been advancing as well, causing degradation of both quality Read More
Tools & Smart EquipmentAutonomous Tractors Could Work in Wetter Conditions than Traditional Tractors
February 8, 2018
March 20th is the first day of spring, making spring much closer than even I expected. On the farm I Read More
Trending Articles
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Services
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
CROO Robotics’ automated strawberry harvester
Robotics/Labor SaversSpecialty Crops: Get in Gear Now for Agriculture’s Robotic Revolution
April 11, 2018
While the immigration debate rages on in Washington, DC, with little chance for reform in sight, the uncertain labor picture Read More
InSiteDCM
Business ManagementDelivering on Ag Data Value
April 3, 2018
Bruce Baier is another deeply experienced precision agriculture manager who survived the early years of ag technology while riding the Read More
University-of-Georgia-photo-credit-USDA
Business Management25 Best Colleges for Precision Agriculture
March 21, 2018
Choosing the right college is a process. It’s one that I’m just now embarking on with my teenage daughter. Long Read More
Farmer-tablet
Decision Support SoftwareOpinion: The Missing Link in Precision Agriculture
March 15, 2018
The agtech boom over the last two years is indeed astonishing. Farmers are becoming more open to new, emerging technologies Read More
Filling The Planter from Cab
Service ProvidersPrecision Agriculture: What is it?
March 15, 2018
If we look at the title of the article, all of you will come to an answer. These answers will Read More
Latest News
Industry NewsClimate Corp Announces 5 New FieldView Integrations
April 23, 2018
The Climate Corporation announced the addition of five industry-leading partners to The Climate Corporation’s Climate FieldView digital agriculture platform. The Read More
Laura_Crook_WinterWheat_Blackgrass_PrecisionAg
Industry NewsKansas Software Outfit Ag Developer Announces agX Integ…
April 23, 2018
Ag Developer, a Kansas based software development company, is simplifying grower/advisor communications by connecting to the agX Platform, according to Read More
field_in_back_1000_wd-featured-image
Industry NewsAyrstone Introduces High-Speed WiFi System for Farms
April 20, 2018
WiFi has become a necessity, and a proliferation of new WiFi devices have come to market for urban homes and Read More
Indian-Agriculture
AsiaIndian IoT Platform for Pre and Post Harvest Raises See…
April 19, 2018
Indian startup AgNext has raised an undisclosed seed round led by India-focused Agtech VC Omnivore Partners along with Singaporean angel Read More
Bayer-Forward-Farming
Industry NewsMaryland Farm Opens as Hub of Learning about Sustainabl…
April 19, 2018
Fourth-generation Maryland farmer Trey Hill measures the success of his operation not just by how many bushels of corn, soybeans, Read More
THRIVE
Industry NewsAgritech Startup Backers Announce New Corporate Partner…
April 18, 2018
Entering its fourth year, the THRIVE Venture & Innovation platform announced today the nine finalists and investment in its spring Read More
computer-in-field
EventsFinding Our Way in the Business of Precision Agricultur…
April 17, 2018
Service providers are the essential link between precision agriculture products and practices and the farmers who are increasingly relying on Read More
Farm-Storm-Clouds-Photo-Eden-Hills
Data ManagementThe Precipitation Problem in Agriculture
April 17, 2018
Precipitation is arguably the most important agricultural weather parameter, yet it is the most difficult variable to precisely measure. For Read More
Digital-Farming
Business Management7 Factors That Could Make or Break Digital Farming
April 13, 2018
Digital farming is the new technology genie – a genie that is now out of the bottle and cannot be Read More
SDSU-drone
Business ManagementInside the Key Strategies For Selling Precision Ag Serv…
April 13, 2018
In its earliest manifestation, the motive for developing precision agriculture service was entirely pure. Agronomists knew that crops were responding Read More
Facebook-phone
Data ManagementWhat Lessons Can the Ag Industry Learn from the Faceboo…
April 12, 2018
Today, a seemingly endless amount of ag data flows from growers’ fields into a host of technology platforms. It is Read More
DronesWhen High Value Crops Meet Inaccessible Areas: How Dron…
April 12, 2018
Avocados are one of the few crops in Chile that can economically be commercially cultivated on hills. On one hand Read More
Almond-trees-blooming
Sensors/IoTWhy Virtual Sensors Could Save California’s At-Ri…
April 12, 2018
To say that the Golden State can lay claim to the title of king of almonds might be an understatement. Read More
AgJunction, InfoAg 2014, Autosteer, GPS
Industry NewsAgJunction Launches Online Store, Low Cost Guidance Sys…
April 12, 2018
AgJunction today announced the opening of the HandsFreeFarm.com online store to bring low-cost, simple-to-use precision agriculture solutions direct to all Read More
aggateway
Business ManagementAgGateway Encourages Use of Standard Identifiers with A…
April 11, 2018
AgGateway, the non-profit organization with the mission to promote and enable the industry’s transition to digital agriculture, is offering a Read More
Remote-Soil-Sensing-Mapping
Imagery/SensingRemote Soil Sensing Enhances Precision Farming, Promote…
April 11, 2018
Precision agriculture management requires understanding soil at increasingly finer scales. Conventional soil sampling and laboratory analyses often lack this granularity Read More
Data ManagementREPORT: Bayer’s Digital Farming Business Slated f…
April 11, 2018
Germany’s Bayer plans to sell its digital farming business to BASF as part of changes to concessions it has offered Read More
Corn
Industry NewsSentera Announces New FieldAgent Features
April 11, 2018
Sentera announces the availability of high-fidelity crop stand, weed pressure mapping, spot scouting maps, and free local image stitching within Read More