Cellphone apps for crop scouting were months in the making, but they’re finally here. Corey Gerber, director of the Purdue University Crop Diagnostic Training and Research Center, believes you will think it was worth the wait.
Purdue has published the popular Corn & Soybean Field Guide in a pocket version for many years. A couple of years ago, an interactive version for iPads was added. Now Purdue is introducing apps that let you access both scouting and decision-making information in the field, on your phone. You can find them in your app store.
Indiana Prairie Farmer recently posed some frequently asked questions about the new apps and materials from the diagnostic training center. Gerber provided answers.
IPF: Are the paper and iPad versions of the field guide still available?
Gerber: Yes. The 2017 edition of the Corn & Soybean Field Guide is available, along with the iPad version of the guide. You can order them by visiting edustore.purdue.edu.
IPF: What are the new products you are offering?
Gerber: The new apps for cellphones are called Corn Field Scout and Soybean Field Scout. We separated them so you can access one or both apps.
IPF: There is a charge for the iPad version. Is there a charge for the apps?
Gerber: Yes. Each app costs $5.99. So you can get both for $11.98.
IPF: What phones will these apps work on?
Gerber: There are apps for both iPhones and Android cellphones. Even if you have an older iPhone instead of the latest model, we’ve been assured these apps should work on most devices.
IPF: The guide became popular because it contains so many pictures of insects, diseases and many other things, like staging corn or soybean growth. Do the apps have similar pictures?
Gerber: There are plenty of photos. In some cases, like for staging corn growth, we have the full description, but don’t yet have a photo depicting each stage added in the phone app. We will be adding more key photos in the future.
IPF: Are there changes in the apps already planned for the near future?
Gerber: Adding more photos to the apps is definitely one thing we will continue to do. The apps have several calculators which simplify things like making replanting decisions or figuring fertilizer recommendations. We will continue adding more calculators as we develop them.
IPF: Are there calculators in the iPad version?
Gerber: Yes, there are some. A couple of the calculators in the new cellphone apps are similar to those in the iPhone app. However, we have reconfigured them for the cellphone versions. I think you will find that they look and work much better.
IPF: So some calculator functions included in the cellphone apps are new?
Gerber: Yes. There are apps that will let you make a variety of calculations and arrive at decisions very quickly. The calculators use information included in the paper guide, for the most part. Being able to access them on a phone app means you don’t have to do the manual calculations to arrive at the same answer.