Must-Have Tools

 Discussing two free applications that help manage nitrogen and irrigation in furrow rice was Johanna Nelson,
 lab assistant at the Delta Center Research Station.
 Photo by John LaRose, Jr.

Free Apps Can Help You Fine Tune Crop Production

MidAmerica Farmer Grower

   Two applications that help manage nitrogen and irrigation in furrow rice were discussed recently by Johanna Nelson, lab assistant at the Delta Center Research Station.
   “Both of the apps are free and one of them is the crop water use app,” she said. “Irrigation is very important in southeast Missouri, so we have developed an app that helps you manage water needs in each of your specific fields, whether it be by showing the amount of precipitation you received or irrigation amount applied. All you have to do is log your data into the app provided by the University of Missouri.    You can log your fields, your plant date, and all the information you need according to your specifications and the app will simply tell you all you need to know to apply the needed irrigation.”
   The water app provides an on-line report, helping you adjust your efforts for your soil type, your rooting depth and irrigation. It even records the amount of rainfall from planting date to harvest date. The precipitation amount for this app is taken from the nearest weather station in your area. It also keeps you aware of pending problems.
   “The app actually tells you when to water according to rooting depth. The screen will show the exact days you need to water,” Nelson explained. “It doesn’t automatically turn the irrigation system on and off for you, that must be done manually; it simply tells you specifically when you need to irrigate a specific field.”
   There’s also a canopy app developed by Oklahoma State University. A farmer can simply go into the field, hold a smart phone with the app over the plot of rice, and it will tell you how to manage your nitrogen rates according to the green pixel levels that the app records.
    “In years past, we’ve been using software that costs over thousands of dollars, but this is a free download for a smart phone; and you can have it at the touch of a button,” Nelson said. “The canopy app actually gives you a percentage of green pixels it records and this corresponds to the amount of nitrogen that’s available to the plant.
   “The lower amount of pixels shown represents the lower rate of nitrogen applied to the plant. It indicates that you either need to add more nitrogen or that you have too much, and don’t need to apply more,” she stated. “It gives you a range, measured in percent, the percent ranging from zero to 100. The app likely will show different amounts of nitrogen that are needed across the field.
   “Each individual spot here is different,” Nelson explained. “We have different pounds and different rates that we apply. We have preflood, we have mid-season and late boot, so all we do is just take the app out to each plot and it will collect all the data for you. Then you can send it straight to Oklahoma and it will calculate the nitrogen needs for the field and send you the report in a fairly short amount of time.”
   Her take-home message is that irrigation and nitrogen are both important inputs for raising a healthy crop.
   “Both these apps will help us reap better yields for years to come. Why wouldn’t people want to try the two free apps? They could increase production as well as simplify your daily life.”
   The crop water app is available free from <> and the canopy app, also free, can be located at <>. ∆
   BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER: Senior Staff Writer, MidAmerica Farmer Grower
MidAmerica Farm Publications, Inc
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