- Author: Konrad Mathesius
- Editor: Mark Lundy
Half the battle in learning and development is knowing what you don't know. I have been collecting a running list of different ag-related tools and technologies that I think growers, managers, and crop consultants could benefit from. Below are some notable tools:
Using Google Sheets to Manage Tasks Among Ag Teams:
Google sheets is an incredibly simple and flexible tool, basically an excel spreadsheet that is housed in the cloud (online). This means that multiple people can be given access to it for organizational purposes to create a live project board that can guide field operations.
Greenbook (or Agrian):
https://agrian.com/labelcenter/results.cfm (label lookup)
Greenbook is basically a searchable a collection of herbicide labels. Agrian is similar. They provide an easy way to look up an herbicide's group and active ingredient. This is valuable for multiple purposes, including when PCAs or growers are trying to diversify herbicide programs to reduce herbicide-resistant weed populations. The fact that it's digitized also makes it easy to navigate labels using a ‘find in page' or ‘search' function in mobile browsers. Greenbook saves me a lot of time and energy digging around through different herbicide labels and straining my eyes in the process.
If you haven't heard of Crop Manage, it's a crop management tool (go figure) that leverages crop models and local weather data to predict growth curves, manage irrigation, and help growers keep track of what's happened in their various fields. The software is based online and you can sign up for free access here: https://cropmanage.ucanr.edu/. A good introductory tutorial can be found here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Nu8D3uaE4o&ab_channel=UCANR. Crop Manage is particularly useful in that it streamlines operations and can be a one-stop-shop for managing critical operations.
Small Grains N-management Webtool:
I've mentioned this one before, but anyone with wheat in their rotation will find this tool worthwhile. Given that the price of fertilizer is relatively high these days, now is a good time to take a moment and see where you might be able to optimize your inputs. This tool is based on a collection of statewide data and uses in-season measurements provided by the grower and local weather to produce a fertilizer recommendation for small grain acreage.
In the last several years we've demonstrated that growers can increase their net by an average of about $40 per acre through reduced input costs, increased yields, or a combination of both. Additionally, there are resources available in the Small Grains section of the UCANR Agronomy Research and Information Center that can help growers with some of the more technical aspects of N-management (N-rich reference zones, soil nitrate quick tests, soil sampling, etc. https://smallgrains.ucanr.edu/Nutrient_Management/ ).