Smartphones and tablets can place volumes of agronomic data in your pocket.
There are a variety of smartphone and tablet apps out there that can assist in identifying weeds, insects and diseases as well as ones that can help select crop protection products or track down pesticide labels, putting important data right at your fingertips.
Call it a change in our behavior or a sign of the times, many of us now go straight to a smartphone or tablet whenever we have an agronomic question. Fortunately, there are a lot of good resources out there that provide more information than a traditional field guide. Here is a brief look at some of the pest-related apps that I have come across for field scouting as well as a few that help once you know what your problem is.
There are multiple applications out there that are informative and easy to use in identifying weeds, insects and diseases. Table 1 lists some specifics that help in comparing apps; links to iTunes and the Google Play Store are listed at the end of the article. As a final note, many of these apps are regional in nature as they were created by university extension programs or for producer groups, so product recommendations or other guidance may not be 100% applicable to PA. If a crop protection product is recommended, be sure that it is registered in PA and that you are following the label correctly.
|App||iPhone||iPad||Android||Weeds||Insects||Diseases||ID key||Requires interent connection||Notes|
|ID Weeds||x||x||x||400+||x||No||Some photos not accessible w/o internet|
|Monsanto Weed ID||x||x||x||60+||x||No||Requires registration|
|Pest Manager||x||x||x||70+||30+||20+||No||Some label/product information|
|NPIPM Soybean Guide||x||24||x||No|
|Soy Diseases||x||18||No||Includes chart to show when diseases occur|
|AgPHD Field Guide||x||x||x||80+||12||Yes||Provides product recommendations|
|AgPHD Corn Diseases||x||x||x||40+||Yes||List of conditions and where diseases occur|
|AgPHD Soybean Diseases||x||x||x||30+||Yes||List of conditions and where diseases occur|
|UofA Corn Adviser||x||x||x||14||9||No||Nutrient deficencies and other features|
For weeds, the University of Missouri's ID Weeds has the largest database of any of the apps I reviewed and features an identification key. Monsanto's Weed ID has similar features although the scope of weeds may be limited the Northern US and the app is one of the few that requires users to register. For insects, the NPIPM Soybean Guide from South Dakota State details two dozen common soybean pests and features an ID key as well. For diseases, their Soy Diseases app identifies 18 diseases and features a calendar to show when they will most likely occur. In addition, the Hefty Brother's AgPHD suite includes Corn Diseases and Soybean Diseases whose features include maps of where diseases are likely to occur and detailed narratives that help in differentiating between diseases that show similar symptoms. If you are looking at apps that combine multiple pests there are a few options out there. OMAFRA's (Ontario, Canada) Pest Manager features IDs for weeds, diseases and insects. The app also features product recommendations; however, it is only for insects at this time. Another unique feature of the app is the integration of email and GIS mapping so that you can drop a pin or draw a field and send someone a report with what you identified. The University of Arkansas' crop-specific Corn Advisor helps in identifying insects and diseases and includes recommended control options as well. A unique feature of this app is the incorporation of nutrient calculators and deficiency symptoms as well as sections from their Corn Production Handbook. The University of Arkansas also offers the Soybean Advisor app as well, although it is only available on Android. Another offering from AgPHD is Field Guide, which includes identification of weeds and insects and includes economic thresholds and control recommendations.
In addition to the identification apps, there are a few specialty apps that I have found particularly useful. The University of Nebraska's Aphid Speed Scout can help in the sampling process and determining when treatment thresholds have been met. The app also has a tool for visualizing the number of aphids on a leaf.
If you've identified a field pest and are looking for treatment options, North Dakota State University's NDSU Pest Management
provides product and rate recommendations for common weeds, insects and diseases. The app also includes crop rotation restrictions, relative herbicide effectiveness, and minimum rain intervals for select products.
If you need to quickly find pesticide label information, the Agrain Mobile app offers quick access to general label information such as active ingredients, required PPE, and in what states products are approved. Users also have the ability to download pdfs of pesticide labels and SDS/MSDS. Modes of Action, another offering from AgPHD, gives the mode of action groups for herbicides, insecticides and fungicides and allows you to add multiple products to 'plans' so that it is easy view MOAs within a tank mix. The app also has a lookup for labels and SDS/MSDS, although the current database is missing a few more recent products.
Fortunately all the apps I listed are free, so the best way to find out what you like is to download a few and see what you end up using. Hopefully, the next time you're in the field and in the need a quick answer regarding a pest or control product the answer will be right at your fingertips.
Agrain Mobile (Agrain Inc.): [ iTunes]
Aphid Speed Scout (University of Nebraska): [ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
Corn Advisor (University of Arkansas): [ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
Corn Diseases (AgPHD): [ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
Field Guide (AgPHD):[ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
ID Weeds (Mizzou Extension):[ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
Modes of Action (AgPHD):[ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
NDSU Pest Management (North Dakota State University Extension): [ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
NPIPM Soybean Guide (SD State University): [ iTunes]
Pest Manager (Grain Farmers of Ontario): [ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
Soybean Advisor (University of Arkansas): [ Google Play Store]
Soy Diseases (SD State University): [ iTunes]
Soybean Diseases (AgPHD):[ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]
Weed ID (Monsanto): [ iTunes] [ Google Play Store]