If you own an iPad, there is a pair of new agricultural apps that can turn it into a much more useful tool. They may even save you time and money.
First, there is ScoutDoc, offered by AgNition Inc. of Guelph, Ontario, which allows you to turn that iPad into a handy field scouting tool. It lets users draw or import field maps, enter agronomic information, save scouting reports and distribute them via email. Anyone doing the scouting can share the report as soon as it’s completed. That can be handy in situations where field conditions need to be diagnosed and addressed quickly.
ScoutDoc also eliminates duplication associated with manually recording scouting information with pen and paper and then transferring it to record-keeping software.
“We talked to many farmers, consultants and professional agronomists as part of the development of this app.” says Rob Hannam, president of AgNition. “And the vast majority of them told us the same thing: despite the availability of sophisticated record-keeping software, they were still using paper and pen to record the data and observations of their field scouting efforts.”
With this new app, users can sketch a simple field map right on the iPad screen using a stylus or import an existing field map image. “Another benefit of ScoutDoc is the ability to import and associate the data gathered directly with an image of the field from which it was collected, which is not typically the case with record-keeping software,” says Hannam.
The app screen has areas for data entry relating to crop type, field name and weed, disease and insect pressure. There is also the ability to add comments and additional information regarding action plans and progress reports for each scouting trip.
Currently, ScoutDoc is only available for iPad devices, however, an Android-compatible version is apparently in development. Learn more at www.scoutdoc.com.
Wireless blockage monitor
If you’re going to tote around an iPad, you might as well use it in place of an additional in-cab seed blockage monitor for your air drill, too. Intelligent Agricultural Solutions (IAS) of Fargo, North Dakota, has an app and wireless monitor system to let it do just that.
The system uses acoustic sensors installed in-line at the drill’s manifold. The system “listens” to seed and fertilizer flowing through the system as it bounces off a small stainless steel membrane. The sounds are then converted to electrical signals, which are transmitted wirelessly to the iPad in the tractor cab. The iPad app displays the readout on its screen as a graphic display.
IAS believes acoustic sensors are better than the more common optical types, which can suffer reduced efficiency due to build ups of dust or fertilizer residue. And the IAS system can detect blockages anywhere in the delivery system. “Not only is the system significantly easier to install and maintain than other all-run systems, it’s also very accurate and reliable,” says Barry Batcheller, president of IAS.
Since releasing the product last fall, the company just announced an update to it, which will allow users with double-shoot drills to monitor seed and fertilizer separately. This allows the system to tailor blockage alerts for two different flow rates at the same time.
The wireless system is compatible with most new drills, and can be retrofitted to a wide variety of older seeders. The update will be available at the Apple App Store by the end of February. For more information visit www.intelligentag.com. †