The Van Trump Report

Cool Farming Apps for 2020

While you can always download and ditch an app later when its value comes up short, saving precious minutes experimenting with something that ends up as an empty promise can get frustrating. We’ve scoured the web in search of the best farming apps to make your life a bit easier and your operation run a lot smoother. 

Companies seem to be focusing more on enhancements to existing apps vs. the development of new ones recently, and that makes perfect sense. A number of the apps on our list are downloaded often, used frequently, and rated highly, so companies are sinking more time and effort into making what they’ve got even better. Keep in mind, once the first version of an app has been released, the next step for developers is to begin to maintain and support it. The most popular apps often see updates as frequently as weekly while other release cycles may happen once or twice a month, according to Savy Apps, an industry-leading creative agency. It’s worth noting, if you are using an app that doesn’t have frequent bug fixes and performance improvements, then it may not be worth your time.

Though I’m sure everyone has their go-to app, and there are a ton out there, the list below is definitely worth taking a look at as you plan your 2020 campaign. Wishing everyone a safe and prosperous 2020 season. (Source: Croplife,
 FarmHand –  Every conversation we have with producers all across the country eventually ends up discussing the lack of available labor. Farmhand is hoping to alleviate some of those challenges by connecting farm job seekers with farm job workers in lieu of relying on ads posted in diners or word of mouth. Job seekers are provided FREE access to the job board to search active jobs at any given time throughout the USA. It features ratings and reviews and allows local workers to list their work experience. Created at Iowa State University’s Start-Up Factory in Ames, Iowa, Farmhand was developed by a farmer and is available for free on both Google Play and Apple.

FieldAgent –  From Sentera, FieldAgent flies your DJI drone and captures data to make beautiful agricultural crop health maps, count plants, find weeds, and more. Compatible with most any modern DJI drone, FieldAgent manages all the details of flying so you can focus simply on the desired map. The app shows your full orthomosaics, plant populations, weed locations, and precision NDVI crop-health products right on your device, complete with position information to make in-field scouting possible. One of the cooler updates is the Timeline View, where you can add unlimited polygon, line, and point missions, each with their own set of flight parameters, and fly them all in sequence. Timeline View shows you exactly what the aircraft will be doing when you begin. This app is free but only available for iPhones and iPads.

Open Range – With Facebook’s recent crackdown on advertisements for the sale of animals, one Arkansas cattle producer has created a platform for selling and buying livestock as well as equipment. His thought was that even if some producers weren’t using FB to sell their stock, they may be less inclined to make their operations public in the face of what some view as increasing public scrutiny over agricultural production. I’m told it also allows users to post job openings and handmade goods for sale, as well as allowing farmers to connect and openly converse with like-minded producers to share advice. This app is free and available on both Google Play and Apple.

Yara CheckIT – Stay ahead of any nutrient deficiencies with this app. Farmers now have a photographic library of crops to allow simple and fast identification of possible nutrient deficiencies. Once the cause of the deficiency is established, the app gives further information on how the deficiency affects that crop, what soil types are prone to this type of deficiency, and what factors will make a deficiency worse. CheckIT provides a fertilizer recommendation to treat the identified deficiency, as well as alternative products which allow preventive treatment for the following growing season. This is a free app available for iPhone, iPad, and Android.

Tractor Zoom – If you are tired of feeling like you’re searching for a needle in a haystack when looking for the right used equipment, Tractor Zoom is for you. All you do is enter the specific equipment that you’re hunting for and you can instantly search every auction on the site. There are over 250 farm equipment auction companies currently registered on the platform, and if the piece you need isn’t for sale at that specific time, just make an auction alert for later. A farmer came up with the concept while working with a farmland private equity group and attempting to buy equipment for his own farm. The app is free and available on both Google Play and Apple.

SoilWeb 2.0 – Gain valuable soil information on the go courtesy of the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service and the University of California at Davis. This app gives users greater accessibility to NRCS’ soil survey information that has been collected across the U.S. since the late 1890s. Presenting the data in mobile form, it’s helping users make better-informed decisions about the location they are researching. Features include soil profile sketches, estimated proportions, and geomorphic position of soil components associated with the SSURGO “map unit” identified at your current location; map unit aggregate data such as estimated water holding capacity; soil survey area scale and publication date; and much more. The app is free to download and is available for both Google Play and Apple.

Cool Farm Tool – Are you interested in participating in a carbon credit market to get paid for practices like cover cropping? Wondering whether cover cropping will improve your soil productivity? The Cool Farm Tool is not exactly an app but rather an online greenhouse gas, water, and biodiversity calculator for farmers, that can quantify the effect of different farm management practices providing the user with an objective way to gain recognition or premium payments for using certain practices or to assess whether a new practice is worth scaling up farm-wide. Farmers input readily available information like the total area of the farm, information about crop- protection management and soil cultivation, and the estimated area of habitats like watercourses, ponds, and hedgerows. There is a ton more insights and information on the Cool Alliance website.

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