Several months ago, Cotton Farming polled its readers to ask how likely they would be to download a smartphone app pertaining to some aspect of their farming operation. At the time, 75 percent voted “very likely” to “somewhat likely.”
Last month, we took the question a step further. How much have smartphones, apps and tablets affected the way you run your operation and why?
Based on the results of the poll and the comments that were posted, there didn’t seem to be much middle ground. On one end of the spectrum, the devices appear to have become a daily part of the operation. On the other end, they play very little to no role out on the farm.
It’s important to remember that some of the readers who chose “not at all” may not have a choice in whether they use smartphones, apps or tablets, especially if they are unable to get reception in their area.
After the votes were tallied, 30 percent of the respondents say mobile device use on the turnrow is significant for them, and 18 percent say it somewhat affects how the operation is run. On the other hand, 22 percent say the devices have very little impact, while 30 percent say smartphones, apps and tablets don’t affect what happens out on their farms at all.
Following is a sampling of the comments that we received from those who participated in the March poll about how much smartphones, apps and tablets have affected the way they run their operation:
• “Significantly! Having weather, stock futures, shipment notifications and email on hand is something I could no longer go without.”
• “I don’t need these devices to run my operation.”
• “Smartphones have made data transfer and the ability to keep up with weather, markets and other important information at a moment’s notice easier.”
• “Being able to check the weather on my phone while I am in the field is ‘priceless’.”
• “Following are some of the ways I use mobile devices on my farm: Radar, market reports, labels, field mapping, soil sampling, insect ID, emails, thresholds on insects, logging field data and keeping up with spray schedules. The list goes on and on.”
• “Mobile devices have not affected the way I run my operation at all. I have a Droid Razor, but WiFi is not good in my area.”
• “I check radar every time a cloud comes up to see where it has rained. I use email to get market reports and communicate with my consulting clients, including sending them scouting reports. I use a mobile hot spot for Internet access on my laptop to use programs that require Internet access and for carbonite to keep my laptop backed up. I receive lab results for soil samples and tissue samples as soon as they are analyzed. It has come to the point that it would be difficult for me to run my consulting business without my tablet.”
• “I don’t even get good cell phone reception here, so there is no smartphone service either.”
In many areas of the Cotton Belt, farmers are about to crank up their planters and get the 2012 growing season underway. We are asking our readers if they plan to lower their seeding rates, use variable-rate seeding or stay with the same seeding rates they have used in the past.
To participate in this month’s Web Poll, go to cottonfarming.com to cast your vote and share your comments. Please include where your farming operation is located. Results of the April poll will be reported in the May issue of Cotton Farming.
Web Poll Results
How much have smartphones, apps and tablets affected the way you run your operation and why?
• Significantly – 30%
• Somewhat – 18%
• Very Little – 22 %
• Not At All – 30%
April Web Poll Question
This year, do you plan to lower your seeding rate, use variable-rate seeding or stay with the same
seeding rate that you have used in the past?
(1) Use a lower seeding rate
(2) Use variable-rate seeding
(3) Use the same seeding rate
Register your vote