Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Farm app makes it easier for farmers to collect and retrieve data

Farmers are turning to technology to make their jobs easier, using the app FarmLogs "to record planting dates, watering schedules and crop yield," Steve Friess reports for The New York Times. "In addition, subscribers can receive data from FarmLogs about rainfall and soil health that is tailored to their fields." (Modern Farmer graphic: FarmLogs software maps a field in finances)

"It is a striking departure from just a few years ago, when farmers had to travel to their far-flung fields, scribble such data in notebooks and input it into hard-to-use software that resided on a specific desktop computer," Friess writes. "The FarmLogs app allows them to enter the information on mobile devices and to share it easily via the web. Certain bits of information, like the times and amounts of watering, may be transmitted to the app wirelessly through sensors in the field, saving farmers time and miles."

Jesse Vollmer, who co-created the app after hearing about his uncle's struggles with the family farm’s new data management software, told Friess, "In 2011, the Internet had changed the world but hadn’t yet changed farming.” Vollmer said about "70,000 row-crop farms of 100 acres or more in the U.S. are using some elements of the FarmLogs software to keep tabs on vital information of the growing season."

The app, which offers most of its functions for free, "compares real-time satellite images of every five square meters of field with the last five years of satellite imagery to detect whether a particular area is distressed," Friess writes. "If so, farmers receive push notifications urging them to go to that spot and see for themselves why the plants are struggling compared with previous years."

Missouri corn and soy farmer Michael Morris said that last year he tried several apps "but only FarmLogs could handle his volume of data," Friess writes. He told Friees, “We can do better nutrient placement decisions throughout the year with this technology. No other program really offers that.” (Read more)

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