10 Free Mobile Apps All Farmers Need

Insights

In 2018, there are literally millions of apps on both the App Store and Google Play.

Millions. Apps that are free, apps that cost money, apps that are useful, apps that are … well, the opposite of useful. There are well-considered, well-designed apps, and apps that are clunky and buggy.

What we’re trying to say is that there a lot of apps out there.

And if you’re looking for something mainstream – online shopping, or photo editing, or social media – separating the good from the bad is easy. Both of the major app stores have algorithms that push more popular, higher rated apps to the top of search results, meaning the hard work of vetting apps for quality is largely done for you.

When it comes to more niche markets, however – such as agriculture – separating the wheat from the chaff can be a little trickier.

Type ‘farming’ into the search bar in the App Store, and all you’ll get is dozens of farming simulator games – so many, in fact, that it takes a fair bit of scrolling before you find anything remotely useful to an actual farmer. That’s because games where you pretend to be a farmer are more popular than apps for actual farmers.

And if you’re time-poor, like most farmers, you probably aren’t going to be inclined to slog through dozens of Farming Simulator games in the hopes of finding something useful.

That’s why we’ve done the work for you.

Below is our definitive list of free mobile apps that provide real, tangible value to people working in the agriculture industry. These apps have been tried, tested and vouched for by real growers and agronomists in the field.

This list will continue to grow as new tech enters the market, so we recommend bookmarking it now, and coming back to check every so often. Alternatively, join our mailing list to get updates as they roll out.

Dropbox

What it is: Cloud-based file storage, which lets you upload, store and share up to 2GB for free.

Available for: Apple and Android devices, and on desktop

Why you need it: Dealing with paperwork when you're a small business owner is no small feat. There are hard copies and soft copies to contend with, filing systems to devise and stick to, and version control issues that arise when you're sharing documents with others involved in your business, like your bank or your accountant.

With Dropbox, you can store and organise all of your business documents in the cloud, enabling you to access and share that information from anywhere, from any device.

With 2GB free, and just $12 a month to store up to 1TB of data, Dropbox can help simplify record keeping and paperwork.

The Yield Free Growers’ App

What it is: A simple, lightweight weather built with growers in mind, which shows past, current and future information for some crucial growing conditions.

Available for: Apple and Android devices

Why you need it: Why spend time working out ETo manually when this free app can do it for you?

When you first open The Yield’s free app, you’ll be presented with an easy-to-read water drop image, showing you your water balance for that day. Simple, right?

If you want to dive in further, scroll down to see other weather information for that day, including wind direction and speed, air temperature, rainfall and relative humidity. Swipe left to see water balance information for the last 7 days; swipe right to see forecasted water balance, rainfall, wind speed, air temperature and relative humidity for the next 7 days.

YR

What it is: A Norwegian app/website for weather forecasting and meteorological conditions, which is a collaboration between Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation.

Available for: Apple and Android devices

Why you need it: What makes a Norwegian weather app a better option than the dozens of other, local apps on the market?

First of all, YR’s design is significantly prettier than most. An animated sky background shows you what the weather looks like outside; scroll to the left to see that animated sky change in line with upcoming weather forecasts.

Not here for beautiful animated skies? Don’t worry; YR has you got covered with a simple table showing your forecasted weather for the next week, which you can break down by the hour. Want even more detail? The graph tab shows you rain, wind and air pressure info for the next three days.

Cam Scanner

What it is: A simple and easy way to turn your smartphone into a document scanner. Scan and upload documents and photos to a number of cloud storage services, and share with your team as needed.

Available for: Apple and Android devices

Why you need it: Be honest. Do you have a sheaf of paperwork jammed into an old four-ring binder somewhere in your shed?

Do you have a mess of invoices, purchase orders, bank statements and tax documents you’ve been meaning to deal with?

Despite our best intentions, filing hard copies of documents can be a nuisance. However, with Cam Scanner, you effectively have a scanner in your pocket, making it easy to scan and upload important documents to the cloud on the go.

Cam Scanner employs OCR (optical character recognition) technology, meaning the documents you scan are searchable – something you don’t get from simply using your phone to take a quick picture of a document. You can easily upload your scanned documents to Google Drive, Dropbox, Evernote or OneDrive, and invite others in your team to view and comment on your documents.

Google Earth/Google My Maps

What it is: My Maps allows you to easily create custom maps. Add boundaries, points and shapes on top of Google Maps, then save, share or download your custom maps to use elsewhere.

Available for: Desktop

Why you need it: We’ve all used Google Maps to find our way when we’re lost, or to zoom in our own house for some reason. But when you layer My Maps over the top, Google Maps becomes much more than a navigation tool.

For growers, the ability to create custom maps is invaluable. With My Maps, you can outline your blocks and fields in seconds, then add photos, notes or descriptions. Colour code them, or see instantly how big they are, in hectares or metres squared.

But best of all, you can download your custom maps in KML or KMZ format – meaning you can easily upload your block and field references to other software applications that may need geospatial references.

Feralscan

What it is: Created by the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions, a collaborative research centre in Australia, FeralScan allows you to record sightings of pests in your area, the damage they’re causing and any control actions you’ve taken. These records help build an up-to-date map of pest animals.

Available for: Apple and Android devices

Why you need it: Invasive species and pest animals can cause a lot of problems – for our natural environment, for farmers, for our communities and economy.

FeralScan takes a crowdsourcing approach to the management of these invasive species; by logging any pest activities you encounter in your local area, you help the Centre for Invasive Species Solutions monitor pests and target them more effectively through coordinated pest control programs.

Launched in 2009, FeralScan now has over 100,000 community records, and supports recording for over a dozen types of invasive species, from rabbits to wild dogs, foxes to feral fish.

Crop Disease

What it is: Developed by the Australian National Variety Trials program (NVT) and funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), the Crop Disease app acts as a quick, in-your-pocket guide to crop diseases in grain crops.

Available for: Apple devices

Why you need it: If you’re a grain grower in Australia, the Crop Disease app is a necessary part of your digital toolkit.

The app lets you easily compare disease resistance ratings of 10 major grain crops (wheat, barley, canola, chickpea, fava bean, field pea, lentil, lupin, oat and triticale), and provides detailed disease information, including symptoms, photographs and management controls.

Data is sourced live from the NVT database, meaning variety information is always up to date, and new information is instantly available upon release.

VegPest ID

What it is: Developed by Applied Horticultural Research, VegPest ID helps growers identify insects, diseases and disorders on vegetable crops.

Available for: Apple devices

Why you need it: Getting a crop to maturity is no small feat. You have to deal with irrigation, wind, frost, humidity, radiation, soil moisture, fertigation and god knows how many other factors – and even if you get a handle on all of those elements, you still need to content pests, diseases and disorders.

While seasoned growers will know all too well the pests they regularly encounter, the VegPest ID app helps you identify the unfamiliar. Broken down by crop type – and featuring information for eleven vegetable crops – VegPest ID is an easy to use tool for vegetable growers.

AgWeb

What it is: A simple and handy agriculture news resource, powered by Farm Journal – a farming magazine that has existed for 141 years.

Available for: Apple and Android devices

Why you need it: While AgWeb (like most of the internet) is fairly US-centric, it’s still a fantastic resource for current agriculture and market news.

The app has sections for weather forecasts, podcasts, and events – but its news section is where it truly shines. Updated multiple times a day, AgWeb pushes the important news you need to know about the state of agriculture, straight to your pocket.

Twitter

What it is: A popular social media platform that lets you share short, real-time updates you’re your followers, and allows you to follow other individuals and organisations so you can stay on top of their updates.

Available for: Apple and Android devices

Why you need it: Look, you probably know about Twitter by now – it’s been around for over a decade, and is one of the most widely used social media platforms available.

And while it may be easy to brush off as something that’s wholly irrelevant to you and your interests, you should know that Twitter has a very engaged, very robust community of people in the agriculture sector, and it’s one of the best ways to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your industry.

Setting up an account is a snap; if you’re not sure who to follow, check out this list to get started.

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