Smartphone Apps Helping with Farmers' Productivity
Large equipment and machinery tend to be the type of technology associated with the farming industry. But now, farmers across the commonwealth are using a much smaller form of technology to increase productivity from the field.
"This is cow 156, for example, it tells me how long she's been milking," Ian Heatwole, a farmer, said.
Heatwole uses a smartphone app to keep health records for every cow on his Rockingham County farm.
"Any diseases they may have had or any treatments that you had administered to them, how much milk production, what percentage of compounds are in that milk," he said, referring to the abilities his smartphone app has.
The Virginia Department of Agriculture says social media technology for farming use has improved greatly in the past year and smartphone apps are playing a large part in the success.
"There are apps that can help map out their fields so that they can access to data to production, to soil data," Matt Lohr, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, said.
Farmers are using dozens of different agriculture apps - Virginia Grown, Yield Check, Farm Manager and Crop Nation just to name a few.
"If a farmer is spraying for example, he can pinpoint exactly what parts of the field require certain nutrients or certain chemicals," Lohr said.
Some apps record soil information - providing farmers with little details that make a big difference in productivity.
"If a farmer is working out in the fields they can actually go to a app and get specific information about what the phosphorus levels are, what the nitrogen levels are," Lohr said.
Heatwole says apps are speeding up farmers' productivity from the palm of their hands.
"If I'm out with the cows and I need to know what's going on or her history, it's right there on my phone and I can get the information right there," Heatwole said.
Heatwole says apps can help him determine how much seed or water a particular field - or even just a plot on the field - might need. He says it's important because it helps cut down on waste.
Smartphone Apps Helping with Farmers' ProductivityMore>>
Molly joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in September 2012.Full Story
Molly joined the NBC29 news team as a general assignment reporter in September 2012. She graduated from University of Missouri where she majored in broadcast journalism. Email/Follow on Twitter/ Full Story