We all know field tracking over multiple years is becoming the norm in agriculture due to rental agreement requirements or just for troubleshooting when things go wrong. I know it gives me piece of mind during the year to know I can look back into my records and be able to access information about the field activities I did during the cropping year. Smartphones have allowed us to not only start tracking all of our operations with ease, but also have this information at our fingertips all the time. However there has been a vacuum in this area — only a handful of farm-friendly applications have been developed.
One of the latest field tracking apps on the market is Field Tracker Pro by Farmer-Apps.
Field Tracker Pro is based through the browser either on your desktop or smartphone. It can work with a PC, Mac or any major smartphone operating system. Field Tracker uses cloud technology to allow you to access your information from any device once you sign into your account or one of your managed user accounts.
Using Field Tracker
The Field Tracker app is what I would consider a layered application. The details are layered on top of each other and there is really only one way in and one way out to access the information.
Field Tracker is layered into three main sections. The first is the opening screen where you can select which year to work in or access settings where you can change information and manage users.
Once you select the year you can access your field menu. With the base subscription you can add up to 40 fields; with the premium subscription you can add up to 200 fields. You’ll noticed that once you select a field, it shows the current crop on that field in that crop year.
After you select a field you will also notice that the field header at the top shows the current crop and also the acreage (in acres and hectares, which is becoming a more commonly used unit for field areas.)
In the field section there are 11 activity options to choose from and one main option to input the field details. I noticed that, under the soil sampling option in the field details, there is no main nutrient option for nitrogen. The top three options are for PH, phosphorous and potassium. It would be nice to see an addition for nitrogen as I think it is a major part of Western soil tests. The rest of the activity selections include all the most common operations such as spraying and seeding but also some that are more area specific such as irrigation and straw harvest.
Each one of the activity options allows you to select information specific to that operation. An example is that in the spraying activity you can enter the chemical you are using, the rate, speed and pressure. Field Tracker also makes use of planned usages as well — you can compare what you planned to use versus what you actually used. All of these activities are then recorded with the selected date and added into the activity report for that field. You can look at this activity report at any time. This is a fairly simple point and click in and out system for entering information.
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There are lots of things to like about this program but there are some things that could be added or changed. Two features I know they’re adding are automatic weather recording for spray records as well as the ability to change your records into a printable PDF format.
I think the activity reports get a bit lengthy when you’re adding in multiple activities. The information could be condensed down into a more efficient format. I could easily see print outs for my entire year getting over 100 pages. I would also like to see the ability to track commodity contracts and deliveries added to the app.
There are many nice things about this program. It is simple to use, with easy navigation. You could be using this program and entering information within five minutes. The menus navigate easily forward and backwards so you can find what you are looking for or update different parts of your field tracking operation. Also I like how fast the scroll buttons work in the activity addition fields. Speed of entry is very high on my priority list.
There are two pricing options once you use up your 30 day trial. The first is $249/year, which allows five users and 40 fields. The premium option is $479/year and includes the ability to manage 20 users and add up to 200 fields.
Like all apps and software there are still improvements to be made with Field Tracker but it is a very nice smooth program that would be perfect for people who are just getting into electronic field tracking and do not want an overly complicated program.
Jay Peterson farms near Frontier, Sask.