With smartphones in hand, farmers today have a whole new world at their fingertips.. Recently, three agri-business millennials involved in agriculture compared notes regarding ag-related apps.
Jeremy Ziola farms corn, soybeans, sunflowers and wheat with his father in Chesaning. He also sells non-GMO and cover-crop seed and owns and operates the local feed store, retail freezer beef and a tiling business that services several farms in the area.
One of his preferred apps is Climate FieldView from the Climate Corporation. The free app offers a comprehensive, connected suite of digital ag tools to help optimize resources and maximize yield. Using real-time and historical crop and weather data by tracking rainfall, field health, scouting, and yield analysis, it delivers customized insights that help you make important agronomic decisions with confidence.
Chris Heck is a technical sales representative with Actagro, LLC. He also farms with his wife, Rachelle, his brother Ethan, and sister Emma, raising corn and soybeans on their 7th generation family operation near Monroe.
Chris is a fan of the free apps from AgPhD, of which there are 12. His favorite is the Fertilizer Removal by Crop app. It allows you to select your crop and the desired yield. You will then be given the amount of vital crop nutrients that your desired yield will need. Results can be saved within the app and e-mailed to yourself or your agronomist for later reference.
Jasper Cunningham is a Regional Representative with Michigan Farm Bureau in west central Michigan. He began his agricultural career at age 14, starting a specialty crop seed company. That endeavor led him to Michigan State University where he earned his bachelor’s degree in agricultural business. Today, he interacts on a daily basis with farmers from six counties, utilizing an app called ON X HUNT.
A plat book app, it allows him to navigate the nearly 3,800 square miles in his territory by county and land parcel number. It gives geographical coordinates, calculates distance between two points, acreage, and you can search by land owner and/or location. The cost for a state specific version is $29.99/yr.
Bean Cam, another free app, developed from research conducted by an agronomy specialist from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, will calculate plant stand (plant population) by averaging five plant count samples randomly taken within a soybean field at the VC, V1 or V2 growth stage. The app will then use your field’s average stand value to calculate expected percent yield at harvest with and without spring replanting.
To take the field samples, you can manually count measured rows of plants, or you can use your camera to automatically count plants. There is a help screen in the app that will get you started.
It’s as easy as holding your phone at arm's length and shoulder height out in front of you, with the camera facing down toward the plants at your feet. There are lines on the camera preview to show where the plant rows should line up.