For farmers, there’s an app for that

Some readers may recall the craze throughout the country surrounding FarmVille, the social media game developed by Zynga in 2009. FarmVille quicky became the hottest game played on Facebook, the popular social networking site. But just as kids and adults of all ages can pretend to farm, real farmers throughout Ohio and the nation are using today’s technology for more than just casual fun – it has become an integral part of their business.

Farmers have been utilizing smartphone technology at a quicker pace than the overall population. A Successful Farming study showed that 55 percent of farmers own a cell phone capable of running applications or “apps.” Contrast that with a Pew study in which 35 percent of the population has a smartphone.

In fact, another Successful Farming survey found that more than 70 percent of respondents access agriculture-related information and services from their cell phone.

The benefits of smartphone apps available to farmers vary from conveniently storing important crop data to projecting yields and providing the latest ag news.

For example, Optimizer 2.0 uses a farm’s location, variety of seed, soil type and other variables to project corn yield and indicate the most limiting factor on the farm.

The Growing Degree Days app helps farmers predict when their crops will mature. The app reviews current and historic data based on the location of the farm.

CropNAtion is a farmers’ social network to share information and crop photos as well as explore regional trends.

If you wish to explore the range of apps available, consider CropLife’s list of the 10 best apps for 2012 and 2013.

In addition, the December 2012 edition of Farm Futures includes an article about more than a dozen smartphone apps.

How has smartphone technology impacted your farm?

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