In an effort to stay current for the new year I updated some of my phone and tablet applications or “apps” the other day. I started thinking about apps which rural residents might find useful. Years ago I used Garden Architect software to help people design and layout farmsteads and small acreages. Currently I use GrassSnap and Web Soil Survey to help landowners assess production potential and grazing on landscapes.
But what about new landowners who wanted to virtually consider things before developing a property? So I went on the hunt for applications to do small acreage management, farm management and landscaping in rural areas. I found a bunch including some that may be useful and some that may not. It should be noted that many of the apps I mention are well-designed for the scope intended and I neither promote or demean any of them.
Many agriculture apps focus on accounting, irrigation management, planting dates and weed management but most small rural operations are not so focused. Some applications which focus on records and livestock management such as CowBoss and Cow Sense have been used well for years by producers. These programs help to track productivity, feed usage and costs but are not helpful with new plans. A similar program called Ranch Records is our very own UW Extension entry into the field. iCattleMgrPro and iLivestockMGR advertise herd management also. Farm Management Pro does combine machine tracking, animal database, vet care and grass management.
If you have a construction project in mind the Handyman Calculator app may help you plan construction and control costs as well as track labor efforts. This could be very useful if you hire someone to do the work for you.
FieldSync Livestock Tracking indicates it can use web and mobile technology to track livestock locations. This makes me curious about how large the animal has to be to track or wear the equipment required.
Tend indicates it provides a platform for managing diversified organic farms.
Easy Keeper is an app which allows you to manage goat and sheep flocks to enhance your profitability.
A number of applications such as Pro Landscape are well designed to help layout a yard or garden but I have yet to find a free or inexpensive application that can lay out a 40- acre farm with home, buildings and fences. The closest program I found to the old Garden Architect was one named Smart Draw which allows a great amount of individual latitude on the users part. As with Garden Architect it allows placement of buildings, trees, shrubs, fences and other features on a scale you set.
Texas AgriLife Extension did pull together a list of agriculture related applications which they have ground-truthed (somewhat) which is posted at https://aged.illinois.edu/files/documents/Apps—for—Ag—Revised—AgEd.pdf.
I am waiting for the Getting It Right The First Time Farm application.
A curious application that popped up and was found by Amanda Ratke of Beef Magazine was:
- – this Japanese app allows you to “smell” meat on your iphone. (What version of iPhone is that?) It comes with a gadget that plugs into your phone and then sprays short ribs, beef tongue or buttered potato scent onto your face or tongue. Maybe when I can’t get the real thing.
- But don’t despair, we have access to a number of factsheets on farm design from over 12 different university systems which can still provide some guidance on planning your property. We are always available at your local UW Extension office or at http://http://www.uwyo.edu/uwe/ or www.uwyoextension.org . Plan out your projects for the new year to enhance productivity.