Technology has become an essential aspect for the agricultural industry, towards gearing for the future. Modern day farmers use technology, the internet and web-based applications to help maintain and grow their farming produce. Even more so, smartphone apps have made it convenient for farmers to retrieve vital information at any time and anywhere.

Using such apps is a great way to conduct business, especially for small-scale farmers; this gives them a platform to get information on the market, keep a system for maintaining their production and also get the latest news in the industry. Smartphones have become a handy tool in agriculture. Below are a few of the smartphone applications (apps) that are available to help farmers with their agricultural endeavours.

PANNAR Sprout

PANNAR Sprout app

Many agricultural input suppliers have taken the step to enhance the service they offer by making an app available to further assist their clients in the field.  One of these is the PANNAR Sprout mobile app, developed by PANNAR Seed. The PANNAR Sprout app gives detailed information on the full range of products PANNAR Seed offers. The app also includes farming tools such as a replant calculator, estimated yield calculators and hybrid comparisons. just to name a few. This app is good for farmers who produce grains and beans such as soya beans, mealies and sunflower seeds. The app is free to download from Apple Store and Google Play. For more information on the app, visit www.pannar.com.

Agtag  

Agtag is an agricultural magazine app that gives users relevant articles, news and information from all over the world. Topics include news on crops, equipment, livestock, water, agro-processing and many more useful links. Users can customise categories to give them news that interests them. Articles can be shared with friends on other platforms or saved for later reading. The app is for people who want to get the latest information on the agricultural industry. Agtag is available for download on the Apple Store and Google Play free of charge. For more information, visit www.agtag.co.za.

VetAfrica

A Scotland based tech company, Cojengo, in partnership with Microsoft created VetAfrika. The app, which is popular in East Africa, allows both farmers and veterinarians to diagnose livestock on the spot, receive information on proper medication to be administered, and share information through cloud software so that illnesses can be tracked and monitored in each area. VetAfrica was designed initially to help farmers in Kenya, Ethiopia, Uganda and Tanzania because the majority of illnesses and diseases that can be detected using the app are found in East Africa. This means that the app is not available for download in South Africa but is highly recommended for cattle farmers in East Africa.

Farmboek

Screenshot of Farmboek

Farmboek is a web-based application that can be accessed from the internet and downloaded as an app. This is a system that helps provide information for prospective farmers or existing farmers. The app gives agri-information and markets for different sectors in farming. Farmers are able to read up on skills, knowledge and information  to promote successful farming. Most importantly, farmers can identify pests or diseases or any other problem and obtain access to registered remedies for a specific problem and then get access to the local suppliers in his area. The application can be downloaded for iPhone and android phones or accessed directly by logging onto www.farmboek.com.

ARCHub

The Agricultural Research Council (ARC) created an app that aims to provide farmers with information and best-practice knowledge that enables them to be productive, economically viable and contribute to the nation’s food basket. This app creates a medium of communication between farmers, extension officers and ARC officials (researchers). ARCHub helps farmers with useful and timely information to enable them to be more productive and informed. Content that can be found on the app includes manuals and videos on production, and a warning for farmers when certain farming conditions are a threat. Information on training days hosted by the ARC will also be available on the app. The app is only available to download for android phones. IPhone users can access the portal on www.ARCHub.co.za

Murimi-Umlimi

Murimi-Umlimi is an app that helps to impart valuable farming advice and information to farmers that are not always available on their farms. The app is android based and can only be downloaded on android smartphones. It provides complete information on crop production, crop protection, poultry production, livestock production and all relevant agriculture allied services such as market trends and weather information. Murimi-Umlili was designed for Zimbabwean farmers to get assistance from agricultural experts.

FeedCalculator

Feed Calculator app

FeedCalculator is an app that is only available for download on Google Play. The aim of this app is to generate affordable quality feed recipes from locally available ingredients. The FeedCalculator’s feed norms are developed by leading Dutch feed experts, ensuring high quality feed recipes. The basic app is free to download and the premium app comes with a subscription. FeedCalculator offers a new and much demanded service to enable smallholder farmers to source quality feed for a lower price.  For more information on FeedCalculator, visit www.feedcalculator.com.

Techonology has played a vital role in innovating the agricultural sector. Statista.com reveals that the number of smartphone users in South Africa is expected to reach over 25 million by 2022. This also means that agricultural stakeholders now have a medium to communicate with farmers, retailers and even consumers on a more personal level through apps amongst other communication means.  Farmers should take advantage of the available applications to improve productivity on the farm and also gain knowledge about the farming sector as a whole. – Ntswaki Motaung, AgriOrbit