South Dakota Extension Specialist Lists His Favorite Ag Apps

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Source: South Dakota State University news release

Many people will remember the catchphrase “Joe knows Super Bowls,” referring to NFL quarterback Joe Montana who led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowls. A similar phrase could be applied to Brian Arnall of Oklahoma State University … “Brian knows ag apps.”

Arnall is an associate professor of soil and food-crop nutrition. Involved in Oklahoma State University-Extension, teaching and research, he focuses on precision-agriculture technologies. He also has about 390 applications on his iPhone and iPad, he said.

Arnall will share his knowledge of apps at the InfoAg Conference, which will be held July 16-19 at Union Station, St. Louis, Missouri. The annual event features educational sessions and networking opportunities for crop consultants, agricultural retailers, farmers and other agribusiness professionals.

Arnall recently was asked what he thought were some of the best apps for farmers. He listed some favorites.

*Tank Mix Calculator

*SpraySelect Tip Selection

*Ag PhD’s Fertilizer Removal by Crop

*Ag PhD’s Crop-Nutrient Deficiencies

*Ag PhD’s Harvest Loss Calculator

*ID Weeds

*Cereal Disease ID

The best apps are straightforward and easy to use, he said.

“If I can’t figure it out in three minutes it’s gone,” he said. “An app should be intuitive, easy to use and have a purpose.”

“Tank Mix Calculator” was developed by TapLogic. It uses the FarmLogic decision-making tool, which enables farmers to enter and store records as they work in the field. The app allows growers to create chemical inventories and loads. Based on information a grower provides about flow rate and inputs involved, the app will calculate how many loads and volumes one would need, Arnall said.

“It even breaks down partial loads,” he said. “Growers can share their chemical-inventory list with others, and store information about rates and fields. It’s a nice tool.”

The SpraySelect Tip Selection app was developed by TeeJet Technologies and is available for Apple devices. It helps growers to quickly choose proper spray tips for their applications. Growers can enter intended speed, spacing and target rate. The app provides a list of tip recommendations for droplet size.

Ag PhD has about a dozen mobile apps available from the Apple iTunes Store and the Google Play Store. Arnall highlighted three of them.

“Fertilizer Removal by Crop” enables farmers to select their crop and desired yield for that crop. With that information, the app provides the amount of nutrients the crops will take up to reach desired yield. For example wheat growers can determine how much phosphorus would be removed from grain harvest as well as straw harvest.

Ag PhD’s “Deficiencies” app helps growers search for nutrient deficiencies by type or to see photographs of crops to find an image most closely resembling their fertility issue. The app features photographs and descriptions of nutrient deficiencies in several types of crops. It provides a tool for farmers to determine field problems and make fertility decisions.

The “Harvest Loss Calculator” helps farmers determine how much of their crop is left in a field after harvest. A grower would count the number of grains remaining in a square-foot area and use the app to calculate harvest loss in bushels per acre and pounds per acre. If a combine doesn’t have the proper settings, a farmer could experience as much as $23 per acre in grain loss, Arnall said.

“This app can be very impactful,” he said.

ID Weeds is free to download from the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play Store. It was developed by the University of Missouri-Extension. Farmers can use it to search for weeds by their common or Latin names. Users also can view a list of weeds or identify weeds based on a number of different characteristics. Details and photographs of each weed are featured.

Cereal Disease ID is free to download from the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play Store. While it was developed for growers in the United Kingdom, it also works well for American growers, Arnall said. The app is based on the United Kingdom’s “Encyclopedia of Cereal Diseases.” That publication was created by the Home Grown Cereals Authority – now Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board – and BASF. The app provides information on 36 key cereal diseases to help farmers identify problems. It features disease symptoms, life cycles, hosts and photographs.

There are numerous apps for crop-production purposes. And the number of apps for dairy and livestock producers is increasing, Arnall said.

One app already available at the iTunes app store is the “Cow Poop Analyzer.” Developed by the Texas AgriLife Extension Service, the app enables cattle producers to estimate forage quality for livestock on pastures. After taking a photograph of a manure pile, a producer could compare the manure to stock photographs on the app. That would provide information on the forage’s crude protein and digestibility.

Visit osunpk.com to read Arnall’s blog and for more information.

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