Syngenta Survey Confirms Ag Loves Digital Tech

Syngenta_BiotechA majority of growers and other agricultural professionals turn to online sources first for general information about their industry, and over half of them use mobile or handheld devices 10 or more times per workday. These are some of the key findings in a recent Syngenta survey, in which more than 300 readers of Thrive, the company’s production-focused magazine and website, responded to questions about their online habits and appetites.

Anthony Transou, Internet marketing manager at Syngenta, is not surprised that, like other industries, U.S. agriculture is embracing digital communications—from social media campaigns and blogs to precision farming and recordkeeping.

“Digital platforms give users a way to share and learn from others in the agricultural industry, whether they are around the corner in their communities or across the globe,” he said. “One of our key concentrations is to create optimized content that can spread across channels and be consumed anywhere, so there is a seamless experience from desktop to mobile users.”

Transou’s team has made several recent adjustments and additions to the Syngenta digital platform. For example, new websites like Tools to Grow More Soybeans and the Quilt Xcel®Fungicide Stress Management Training Module help growers locate information about specific issues or products more easily. Another recent online development is the Know More, Grow More agronomy blog, which features tips and local news updates from Syngenta agronomic service representatives. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube channels are also convenient ways for growers to interact with Syngenta via questions, comments, contests and general discussions.

“Additionally, we are adding online companions to many of our print communications, including Thrive magazine,” Transou said. “This digital initiative allows us to reach a larger audience and provide deeper, more interactive content.”

One of his team’s proudest accomplishments is updating the company’s flagship grower-focused website, FarmAssist.com. This online resource has evolved into a one-stop shop for news, market updates and information about the Syngenta product portfolio. But until 2012, FarmAssist users needed a desktop computer for the site’s features to work properly. That changed with the launch of m.farmassist.com, a mobile-optimized version of the website that allows cellphone and tablet users to access the same capabilities as if they were on a desktop computer.

“Our current suite of digital assets is a result of our early preparation to become an active participant in the digital world,” Transou said. “We thought about a mobile strategy for Syngenta very early on so we could easily transition our content and existing assets to some of the emerging technologies and mediums.”

Looking forward, Syngenta aims to include more interactive localized content, which is a process of natural progression with the increasing use of mobile technology in agriculture. Transou said he envisions being able to send growers and other users pest alerts, weather information, market prices and yield data specifically targeted to their local areas.

The nature of digital communications allows Syngenta to gather and analyze customer feedback, which it uses to constantly improve existing digital assets and formulate ideas for new ones. The Thrive online survey is a good example of how the team uses feedback to influence content creation. Because respondents indicated that they are most interested in production best practices and new product information, the editorial team will start developing more articles and Web content around those topics.

“Farmers understand that information is now flowing in a digital world, especially the well-connected younger generation,” he said. “Our ultimate goal at Syngenta is to give growers the most positive digital experience in the industry.”

iCropTrak Makes WagNet Irrigation & Field Data Mobile

AgSense PressiCropTrak Mobile Farm Management announces support for Agsense WagNet network for pivot irrigation and soil sensor monitoring. iCroptrak automatically integrates the WagNet water and soil sensor data with your farming data to help farmers make better decisions and monitoring your irrigation efforts painless.

With water restrictions and sustainable farming playing an ever-growing role in farming, iCropTrak integrated one of the leading irrigation monitoring applications to automatically populate irrigation efforts and allows them to be reviewed easily with your other field data.

iCropTrak cloud talks directly with WagNet network to capture a farmer’s pivot and soil moisture sensor probe data. Formatting the WagNet data to be loaded onto the iCropTrak mobile platform for access while in the field. Allowing the farmer to combine soil, farming, harvest, weather, zone, and irrigation data together to make informed decision.

To learn more about iCropTrak mobile farm management capabilities including automated data entry support for MyJohnDeere.com and Weather Underground data feeds by visiting our website at www.iCropTrak.com and contact our sales team at Contact@Cogent3D.com.

Mix Tank Features Ready for Planting Season

Screen Shot 2014-04-04 at 9.11.34 AMWell before the planters have stopped rolling, efficiency-minded retailers, applicators and growers are already thinking about best practices for tank mixing and applying their crop protection products. Precision Laboratories’ Mix Tank 3.0, an award-winning and patent-pending app for iPhone and Android smartphones, is a convenient tool to help ensure that tank mixing compatibility, proper logging and more are available right in the palm of your hand.

Mix Tank simplified its design and added features in November 2013. In time for the 2014 growing season, retailers and growers will be able to utilize Mix Sheets™, the app’s latest feature that captures product use rates, field size, spray volume and tank size. Use rates are calculated automatically after entering basic information, which can then be easily shared via email.

“We’re excited for applicators to get out in the field and start using the Mix Sheets feature this season,” said Jim Reiss, vice president of Ag Chemistries at Precision Laboratories. “Mix Tank was created to make tank mixing easier and more predictable by identifying compatibility issues and encouraging proper mixing sequences. Applicators will appreciate having these new features available during the busy spring and summer months ahead.”

Along with its newest features, Mix Tank offers additional tools such as weather integration, which captures real-time data to maintain accurate spray logs and documentation. It also has a “My Favorites” feature, providing quick access to the user’s preferred crop protection products.

Mix Tank is the only app in the ag industry that offers these features completely integrated into one user-friendly platform. The app is available as a free download on the App Store and Google Play by searching for Mix Tank or Precision Laboratories.

Florida Dairy Farmers Release New iPad App

image003Kids, adults and educators alike can now learn about dairy farming in an exciting way through the Florida Dairy Farmers new iPad app, SunnyBell’s Florida Dairy Farm Adventure. The free app that can be downloaded from iTunes, is a fun, interactive romp through a Florida dairy farm.

SunnyBell – a little calf who longs to be an important part of the dairy farm, teaches kids about nutritious milk and where it comes from. The story is interactive and immersive, while kids learn about how a dairy farm works. The app also includes sing-along “moo”sicals, word-search puzzles, coloring pages and quizzes.

SunnyBell’s Florida Dairy Farm Adventure app is not only great for kids of all ages, but is also an exceptional educational tool for parents and educators, and uses games and songs to improve cognitive abilities in kids.

“The SunnyBell app shares the experience of life on a Florida dairy farm while reinforcing the message of where our milk comes from. Children are easily engaged, via educational songs and games that boast interactive animation, while learning about the importance of dairy foods in the diet,” says Alyssa Greenstein, registered dietitian with Florida Dairy Farmers. “As a registered dietitian and mother of three, I especially enjoy the fact that the SunnyBell app helps kids and adults separate nutrition from fads and misinformation.”

To download the free app, visit www.floridamilk.com and check out our new Kids Corner where you can learn, play and grow with SunnyBell.

iCropTrak with One Tap Data Entry

iCT SoilOne tap data entry. Because as Aaron Hutchinson, President, Cogent3D, says, “Every click is money.” That’s part of the improvements in the latest release of iCropTrak. Aaron says the company has also created a new version of the product called iCropTrak Soil. This version provides a lower cost alternative for those who don’t need an advanced system.

In addition to Rapid Scouting enhancements like Rapid Observation and Action Items, the new iCropTrak includes a series of augmented map functions to make field understanding fast and easy.

  • Map Annotations to provide additional map reference data
  • Work Order Status Annotations to provide where and what quickly
  • Follow Me Upgrade to keep you on the map at any speed
  • Map Sketch to allow you to draw on the map and save results for reports
  • Recent Forms puts field history in chronological order

Version 4.1 includes the first mobile parts of the upcoming MyJohnDeere.com integration: On-demand data downloading. On-Demand let’s you download only the data you need for the time you need it, then remove it from your iPad when done to have space for other efforts. At multiple gigabytes per field for planting, as-applied, and harvest data, On-Demand provides users control over their data and provides the first peek at the new user definable statistical legends that colorize the data on the fly based on its attributes.

Aaron Hutchinson, Cogent3D President shared the company’s excitement regarding this release stating: “The One Tap Observation capability to mark weeds, pests, and diseases is a labor break-thru in a market where every click is money. ”

You can listen to my interview with Aaron here: Interview with Aaron Hutchinson

Here’s a demo of iCropTrak Soil:

Introducing – iCropTrak Soil from Cogent3D on Vimeo.

Growers Edge Releases New Free iPad App

Growers_Edge.color.tag[1]Farmers have trusted Growers Edge™ for personalized weather, local & best cash prices, markets and news to help maximize profits for years. They continues to innovate with new technology from text messaging services to smartphone apps and now the free iPad app. The Growers Edge iPad app, is available now in the App Store, includes Profit Analyzer™, local & best cash prices, pin pointed weather and many additional features to help growers make more informed profitability decisions wherever they are on the farm.

“We value our users feedback, they asked for an iPad app and we delivered.” said Craig Mouchka, president of Growers Edge. “Our farmers are utilizing technology to increase efficiency and generate higher profits with Growers Edge. The accessibility of Growers Edge on the iPad allows the farmer to have information readily available to make decisions that positively affect his profitability.”

Growers Edge iPad App features include:
– Local & Best Cash Prices
– Risk Management
– Pin Pointed Weather
– Markets
– Commentary

Growers-edge.com provides farmers with a one-stop resource for business and marketing needs, for free. More than 28,000 farmers are using growers-edge.com to help enhance their profits. For more information, and to sign up for the My Weather Report and other free features from Growers Edge on their website.

Popular Agronomy Resource Now Available as App

14AppAdVertFor years farmers have depended on the printed MFA Incorporated Agronomy Guide as a way to compare seed and crop protection products they might need on their farming operations. But that day has come to an end. Farmers who have access to iOS, Android or Windows smartphones or tablets can access all the same information in app form.

The MFA Agronomy Guide app includes detailed comparisons on all categories of pesticides, herbicides, fungicides and insecticides providing product trade names, common names and chemical families. It also gives info on each chemistry’s mode of action, EPA regulations, storage temperatures and rotation restrictions.

MFA’s Director of Agronomy, Dr. Jason Weirich, said “We update the database that powers the Agronomy Guide app every year, and what you find in there is the unbiased information that shows growers what products best fit the soils, disease pressures and weed pressures on their farm, field by field. In-season, it’s a great resource to review what insect and disease control products will give growers the best control. Growers can find the most effective product, rate and timing for the problems they face. That’s important for environmental stewardship, and it’s good for the bottom line.”

The herbicides are rated by efficacy on target weeds and label info is right there on the app. Seed treatment suggestions and rates are covered as well. In its Seed menus, the Agronomy Guide provides comparisons for major seed lines. Comparison tools let growers evaluate seed based on maturity, disease packages, standability, plant height and other details.

“We still print the paper version of the Agronomy Guide,” said Weirich, “and it is as popular as ever, but we only print so many. The app is available to everyone, and with its customizable comparisons, search capabilities and the fact that it’s always in your pocket, we think it’s a valuable tool.”

John Deere is the inaugural sponsor of the app so users will be able to easily access additional information on a wide variety of John Deere products via links.

To download the app, visit Agronomyguide.com or the online market place for your device and search for MFA Agronomy Guide.

Top Agronomy Apps Provide Practical Solutions

Dupont PioneerThe word “app” has become regularly used in the vocabulary of farmers and ranchers across the country. Apps are designed to help users perform useful tasks.

Growers can find agronomy-related apps to help them with just about any chore, and app development is being driven by grower use of these high-tech tools.

“Rapid adoption of mobile devices among farmers is incredible,” says Matt Snyder, product manager, digital marketing platforms for DuPont Pioneer. “With convenient apps, growers have practical solutions literally in their pockets, accessible anytime, anywhere.”

Apps can allow you to record crop observations, including text, photos and field boundary information on a phone or tablet. Users can then share with others in the app or via email.

Here are a few Synder recommends for growers:

Mobile Grain Trading by CHS

CHS Grain Trading AppCHS, Inc. just announced a new app for mobile grain trading agnerds. This sounds pretty handy. So here’s another app tool for your device and speaking of devices, there are lots more new ones to choose from like the new iPads announced by Apple this week!

The free app allows easy access to CHS grain terminals, soybean processing plants and select service center bids. It enables producers to make, monitor and manage offers to sell corn, soybeans and wheat electronically. The app also provides market information with the ability to create and manage futures-only, basis-only and cash offers.

Offers through the CHS grain trading mobile app are monitored during futures market hours from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. Utilizing the CME Group electronic markets, the app also facilitates an automatic connection between grower-approved offers and CHS hedge orders. With patented e-Pit® services provided by Farmstech, the app can place a hedge order, receive confirmation of the fill, execute the cash purchase, and notify both buyer and seller in seconds.

The CHS Grain Trading mobile app is compatible with both Android™ and iPhone® devices. Download the free mobile app at the App Store™ or Google Play store. Follow the registration process to link to your CHS account and create a grain trading mobile account. Enhanced login and security features ensure information privacy.

UF/IFAS Irrigation Apps

main-logoThe University of Florida has released three smart device apps of interest to those in the irrigation business, and for the time being, users can download them for free.

The first three apps to be released were designed for citrus, strawberry and urban turfgrass irrigators, said Kati Migliaccio, an associate professor in agricultural and biological engineering, based at the UF Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences’ Tropical Research and Education Center in Homestead, Fla.

The apps give real-time information to users, relying on constantly updated data from the Florida Automated Weather Network (FAWN) and the Georgia Automated Environmental Monitoring Network.

Each of the three apps is tailored to a crop – for instance, the strawberry app is based on drip irrigation, the citrus app works for micro-sprinkler systems and the urban turfgrass app gives guidance for five types of sprinklers.

The app is designed for use with manual or time-based irrigation systems, users download the app, plug in their individual details, such as location, root depth and irrigation zones, and the app uses that input and site-specific weather data to create an irrigation schedule.

Google Glass for Farming

Bruce RasaHave you heard about Glass, as in Google Glass?

Will this new technology be coming to a farm near you? Well, it has actually been used on farms as part of a Google Explorers project being conducted by Bruce Rasa, Inventive Branding. Bruce was one of a select few chosen my Google to receive and use Google Glass prior to the actual public launch of the product in 2014.

Bruce spoke to a group of software developers during last week’s John Deere API Integrator Conference. He gave us a “what if” scenario for how you might use a device like this on the farm that included several videos with farmers who used Glass on their farm. He’s got some great ideas that I think you’ll enjoy by listening to my interview with him in my weekly ZimmCast podcast.

Listen to this week’s program here: Google Glass on the Farm

Google Glass (styled “GLΛSS”) is a wearable computer with an optical head-mounted display (OHMD) that is being developed by Google in the Project Glass research and development project, with a mission of producing a mass-market ubiquitous computer. Google Glass displays information in a smartphone-like hands-free format, that can communicate with the Internet via natural language voice commands.

John Deere Announces Developer.Deere.com

Chuck SchleusnerI have the privilege of being invited to a fascinating event being put on by John Deere in Des Moines, IA. We were welcomed to the John Deere API Integrator Conference today in the beautiful World Food Prize building which will be very busy next week for the annual WFP event. To get a preview of what John Deere is doing here by bringing in representatives from 50 companies from 8 countries and 3 continents I spoke with Chuck Schleusner.

Chuck basically set the stage for how MyJohnDeere.com is “changing the skyscape.” I visited with him before we started. He says, “We’re here today to bring together the best minds in ag technology to participate in a platform we call MyJohnDeere with the goal to help improve the productivity of the farmer, specifically those who use John Deere machines. To do that we believe we need to partner with those who can create the plans, the insights that lead to executable instructions back on our equipment . . . We believe by being open with our platform and working with these parties we can do the best for the farmer, the ag industry and ultimately our goal of feeding the world.”

So during the day we’ve got breakout sessions on both technical and business tracks to learn in more detail how the MyJohnDeere system works and how companies can create a developer account where they can “play in the sandbox” to test new applications that integrate with the system and John Deere data.

John Deere announced today a new web portal for developers – Developer.Deere.com – where you can create an account and see their public API’s. They also announced MyJohnDeere Data API. More on these later.

You can listen to my interview with Chuck here: Interview with Chuck Schleusner

John Deere API Integrators Conference Photo Album

DEKALB Brand Launches First Tablet App in Canada

logo_monsantoDEKALB brand seed has launched a new tablet application, available for download and use on Apple tablet devices. The DEKALB Seed Guide App is the first of its kind in Canada and is an innovative new tool that will provide corn, soybean, and canola farmers with the 2014 seed guide, including full product information.

Once downloaded, farmers will have the ability to access the entire list of products, with respect to the chosen crop, for the 2014 season.

In addition to seeking product information, users of the DEKALB Seed Guide App are able to navigate through hybrid information as well as yield performance, seeding rate calculators and yield estimators. There are also options to explore Genuity traits, and Acceleron seed treatments and inoculants information. Users will also be able to access DEKALB videos through the DEKALB YouTube Channel, and view up to date harvest results.

Rugged Gumdrop Protection for your iPad

Drumdrop Drop Tech SeriesThere’s a very good chance you’re using an iPad on your farm today. If so, are you concerned about keeping it protected? Here’s an option to consider. The rugged Drop Tech Series case from Gumdrop Cases. Here’s me with one I just got for my iPad mini in orange and blue (Go Gators!). These cases provide maximum protection that includes screen and port protection, shock absorption and drop protection.

So how about a real world ag application. You can look to Precision Planting customers who use iPad to access their FieldView App, which allows them to view real-time planter data as they go through the field and sync to the cloud so other farmers can access the data and monitor the operation. The FieldView app brings the farmer’s field to life on high-resolution maps. Farmers can view spacing and singulation as well as ground contact and row unit weight, making analysis much easier. The Gumdrop cases provided Precision Planting with a case that can withstand weather conditions and protect against any possible damage in the field.

“With the ruggedness of the cases, our farmers are able to take their iPads with them from the tractor and use the device as a crop-scouting tool throughout the season and then put it in the combine to monitor harvest operations in the fall,” said Sean Arians, Product Marketing Manager of Precision Planting.

You can find Gumdrop Cases here. I’m liking mine and will be taking it on the road with me this week to the 2013 Agvocacy 2.0 Conference in Charlotte, NC.

DPP Graindesk Mobile App

dpp_bannerWith more growers relying on mobile technology for their daily farming operations, Farms Technology, L.L.C., a wholly owned subsidiary of DuPont Pioneer, has upgraded its Dynamic Pricing PlatformSM (DPPSM) Graindesk mobile app to reflect sellers’ changing needs for updated grain-market information.

The free DPP mobile app puts your preferred buyers’ bids at your fingertips, enabling you to make, monitor and manage offers to sell corn, soybeans and wheat 24 hours a day.

The DPP Graindesk mobile app also delivers updated market information with the ability to create and manage futures-only and cash offers. Through mobile messaging, buyers can communicate with sellers directly through the mobile platform.

DPP Graindesk offers are monitored with every tick of the futures market from 8:30 a.m. to 1:15 p.m. and from 7 p.m. to 7:45 a.m. Utilizing the CME Group electronic markets, the DPP Graindesk facilitates an automatic connection between grower-approved offers and buyers’ hedge orders. With patented e-Pit®services, DPP Graindesk can place a hedge order, receive confirmation of the fill, execute the cash purchase, and notify both buyer and seller in seconds. Before the DPP Graindesk and the upgraded DPP Graindesk mobile app, growers interested in selling grain contacted merchandisers to get a price or waited for a price notification via a scheduled text message.

The DPP Graindesk mobile app is compatible with both Android and iPhone devices. Download the free mobile app at the App Store or Google Play store.