With the popularity of handheld technologies and especially the influx of Apple products, companies are starting to realize the benefits of having their product guides in digital form so farmers can carry them around with them at all times.
Apps like this give farmers the benefit of easy access to a lot of information. They also give corporations a way to update their guides at any point throughout the year to reflect changes in to products and contact information.
The first app of this type of app that I’ve looked at is the Dow Field guide for the 2013 growing season.
The Dow app
The Dow app was made for iPhone but can be used on an iPad as well. It is a very simple app that allows you to access all the information you need on Dow products. There are six sections to this app: canola, weed control, grass production, insects and disease, grower offers and contacts.
1. The “canola” tab is simply a tab that explains the canola Dow sells and its advantages.
2. Next is the “weed control” tab, designed to help you with your chemical selection. When you select a chemical you are interested in you can look at in-depth information about what it can do for you: why to use it, weeds controlled or supressed and application guidelines.
Within the “weeds controlled or suppressed” section, for the more common weeds, Dow has provided links to pictures of some of the more common weeds in different growing stages. This should be helpful for crop scouting and making chemical decisions on the go.
This app includes great information about chemical application. It provides data on different rates, potential tank mixing partners, rain fastness, application timing, performance optimization and crop rotation concerns. This is a great resource for in-field use.
3. and 4. The “grass production” and “insect and disease” tabs include similar information.
5. The “grower offers” tab is basically two links. One links to the dividend and bulk up sell sheets and one links to the dividend calculator on the Dow website.
6. The “contact information” tab is very useful. I really like the people finder. You can click your way to find your nearest Dow chemical representative. With this app, Dow can keep its representative list up to date so you always have the right information and don’t’ have to waste time trying to track down a new rep.
Terms and conditions
The last thing I would like to mention is the “terms and conditions” section of this app.
I have had a few questions from Grainews readers regarding apps and how the information they provide applies to the end user. I feel the Dow app says it most clearly in this section. All apps have these sorts of terms and conditions attached to them.
Sadly, for the most part, most people do not read these sections of apps or any software anymore. I still try to read most of them — especially the headings I feel could pertain to me.
Generally, in this case the terms and condition section states that the information published in the app is provided in good faith and is not a substitute for field walking and advice from qualified persons.
If choose to rely on the information in the app, you are responsible for the results. It is also the end user’s responsibility to make sure the application is updated properly so you’ll have the most up to date information.
My advice? No matter how good the information is, the first time you use it, double check the information you find on the app with the information on the label. In today’s world things change rapidly from year to year. It’s always important to make sure you are using the correct information.
There are no simple answers out there so always use due diligence and make sure you have the right information before you start.
This is a great little app with a ton of information that can make your field scouting and chemical selection decisions a little easier.