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iPhone taking photo of farmer's field.

Farming on your phone is not something that first comes to mind when you think of agriculture, yet farmers across the prairies are using smartphone apps more than ever in daily work on their farms.

 

Chris Claeys, a grain farmer at Deloraine, Man., said his farm has been almost completely paperless for the last five years. Claeys uses apps on his phone for almost anything you can think of for farming. “I use DTN: Ag Weather. I use iFarm for my scale on my grain cart, it’s linked together. I use Dropbox a lot. I have GoHarvest on here. I have Evernote,” said Claeys.

 

Another tech-savvy farmer is Levi Wood from Pense, Sask. “I think that they (apps) save me time and are easy to use... I have a quick glance at them during the day when I’m busy... Rather than having to phone someone or go to a computer and look, you can easily access that information,” said Wood.

 

Richard Gray, a professor of agricultural economics at the University of Saskatchewan sees apps as helpful to farmers. “Farmers’ business and activities are very mobile. They’re out of their residences most of the day and it’s very inconvenient for most producers to carry around a computer or anything like that,” he said.

 

There are even apps that can help you to monitor your farm equipment. One app that Claeys uses is JDLink from John Deere. “On the JD Link (app) you can tell how much fuel is in all of your equipment, and when all of your service has last been done, and where your equipment is at. And then if there’s any problems like code wise... like if there is a problem with the header or something it shows up on your phone,” said Claeys. 

 

It’s not surprising that you can monitor all of your equipment easily on your phone when you talk to other people in the world of apps. Alec Couros, a professor of education and media at the University of Regina, is well known for his knowledge of apps. “It’s almost impossible to have a new product today and not have an app,” said Couros. Agriculture is just following the growing trend in the tech world of being able to do anything and everything off of your phone, he said.

 

Weather apps are particularly popular with farmers. “I use the weather network app like six times a day,” said Wood.

 

Claeys uses DTN: Ag Weather Tools on his farm. “DTN is really cool because for every piece of land you own it has a virtual rain gauge that can tell how long the radar has been over and how intense the rain has been on your land,” said Claeys.

 

A popular agriculture app is the myViterra app. “That one is pretty cool because it tells you the prices for all the month and all the grains... Every second as the markets are open it changes live,” said Claeys.

 

“(Apps) certainly have made farmers more connected. They can in real time get information on prices. It certainly helped them as well with some of the calculations and other things that they need make to farming faster and more efficient,” said Gray.