AgWatch


New App Offers Soybean Farmers Advice Through Smart Phones

LITTLE ROCK, ARK.
   University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture researchers have introduced new technology that puts knowledge right at the fingertips of soybean farmers.
   The Soybean Advisor App, launched July 10, provides farmers portable access to production guidelines developed by the Division of Agriculture, ranging from lime application rates to control strategies for diseases and pests.
   “Important information related to soybean production in Arkansas has been put in one place,” said Dharmendra Saraswat, associate professor of geospatial technology and extension geospatial engineer for the Division of Agriculture.
   “As the name suggests, its role is to be an advisor,” he said. “If a producer wants to find some symptoms on crop nutrient deficiency, then it can be easily looked up.” 
   The app, which operates on the Android Operating System, features reference images for a wide variety of nutrient deficiency symptoms, as well as pests and diseases, Saraswat said. “This app brings all that information into their pocket, and it’s available when they need it.”
   Because all the production guidelines and reference information is included in the app itself, users don’t need a Wi-Fi connection to access the information once the app is installed on a smart phone or tablet, Saraswat said.
   The app was a collaborative effort with contributions made by extension entomologist Gus Lorenz, Travis Faske, extension plant pathologist and Jeremy Ross, extension soybean agronomist for the Division of Agriculture. The Arkansas Soybean Promotion Board provided funding for the project.
   Recent Central High graduate Jace McPherson helped to provide coding for the Soybean Advisor app. McPherson, who is headed to the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville to pursue a degree in computer science, has spent the past year interning under Saraswat at the Division of Agriculture.
   The Soybean Advisor app is currently available on devices using Android version 4.0.3 and later. ∆
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