By Gillan Ludlow
Poultry Times Staff
BELTSVILLE, Md. — Mobile apps are becoming available for farmers at increasing rates. These apps will assist farmers in maximizing land productivity while protecting resources.
In May, two mobile apps “LandInfo” and “LandCover,” were released. With the apps, farmers will be able to collect and share soil and land-cover information. They will also be able to access data regarding global climate, Jeff Herrick, USDA scientists, said.
According to the USDA, Herrick helped develop the mobile apps, along with cooperators, as part of a five-year, multi-organization project known as “Land Potential Knowledge System” or LandPKS.
LandInfo collects soil data for non-soil scientists and can provide feedback such as how much water soil can store, average monthly precipitation and temperature and the length of the growing season — all based on the location of the user.
LandCover simplifies the collection of data for inventories and monitoring. Users only need to use a yard stick to document tree, grass, bare ground and crop-residue cover, according to the USDA. Once the information is gathered, the app will generate basic indicators and send the data to servers, which will be stored and accessible to anyone worldwide.
“LandPotential,” a mobile app currently in development, will use information gathered from LandInfo with Internet cloud-based models and other knowledge bases. Users will be able to identify and select systems that will help them increase their production while reducing soil erosion.
Both LandInfo and LandCover are available for Android phones and can be downloaded from the Google Play store. The app will be available for other platforms, including Apple iPhones, by the end of this year.
The Department of Poultry Science at the University of Georgia recently developed and released a new app called “CHKMINVENT.” The mobile app will assist poultry farmers in determining how much they should ventilate their houses during the winter months. They will be able to enter variables like outside temperatures, the amount of water chickens consume, temperature inside the house and the size of the poultry house’s fans.
There are also mobile apps for spraying insecticides and ARS nutrient data. For more information on LandInfo and LandCover, visit www.ars.usda.gov/is/pr/2015/150529.htm.