Cereals 2012: Some appealing new apps on show

The demand for apps to help growers and advisers in their work is increasing, with many new tools on show at Cereals 2012. Adam Clarke reports.

App development for growers is gathering pace, with several new applications for smartphones, tablets and desktops being launched at Cereals 2012.

Possibly the most interesting for growers and advisers are the two new apps to complement the GateKeeper record-keeping system, which will simplify field planning and spray operations.

“The Web Agronomy app will allow advisers to build recommendations from their smartphone or tablet as they walk crops, which will then update their GateKeeper system at home,” said Sarah Alexander, communications manager at Farmade Management Systems.

“It will capture the information and group together jobs, which will make it quicker and easier to transfer knowledge between adviser and grower,” she explained.

Also adding to their growing suite of applications is Web Jobs. “Which is a tool for growers and operators that can be used to issue jobs and keep records of completed field tasks such as spraying and fertilising,” said Ms Alexander.

Web Jobs can also transfer completed data back to GateKeeper and has a load planner to assist operators in sprayer and spreader filling, she added.

Frontier

Also in the record-keeping genre is Frontier’s My Farm, which is a web-based record-keeping system for growers that allows the user to record and access information under one login, without additional software.

“We are hoping to launch it in the autumn, but it’s currently being trialed with 100 customers, which will drive development further after the feedback from what is essentially a road test,” said James Moldon, crop inputs commercial manager at Frontier.

“It allows field maps to be created using Google Earth, which will incorporate SOYL analysis results automatically where growers use it. You can also draw in features such as ELS schemes and game cover manually,” he said.

Once mapping is complete, field plans can be formulated, with many scenarios available to choose from in simple drop-down menus, which can be updated throughout the season.

“A unique feature is that it also allows growers to keep track of gross margins throughout the season, which are adjusted with each piece of information provided.

“Therefore it should allow growers to benchmark and ask themselves ‘how do I compare’,” added Mr Moldon.

Cost for the service is likely to be based on a rebate system, with growers that use a wide range of Frontier services unlikely to have any charge at the end of the year.

Also complementing My Farm is the Frontier App, which is available on all platforms and allows users to access information such as news, weather and live markets.

“Vehicle movements can be tracked and any subsequent sample data reviewed by the customer. Finances can also be displayed, such as what you owe, what we owe you and invoices,” said Mr Moldon.

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