Dow tests iPad application in rice

The custom application now being used, known as Field Ref, offers numerous easily accessible tools packaged into a single resource.

Staying abreast of the newest technologies is becoming a necessity for continued success in agriculture.

The iPad, introduced by Apple in 2010, is one of the most innovative products to hit the consumer market in recent years. Dow AgroSciences is helping integrate the iPad into agriculture by developing an application designed to improve efficiency in the field.

The custom application now being used, known as Field Ref, offers numerous easily accessible tools packaged into a single resource.

For example, the application includes a wide collection of product labels from The Greenbook Group that are commonly used in the rice industry.

“We used to have to keep a box of reference material in our trucks, but not anymore,” says Andy Tonos, an assistant consultant to Allen McKnight for Delta Ag Consulting in Greenville, Miss. “We’ve put six different pesticide recommendation guideline manuals on our iPad so far. The best part is the convenience of having all of these documents in one place.”

Field Ref also includes a pest identification guide that supplies pictures and a list of characteristics for weeds, insects and diseases typically found in rice production. Plans are being made to incorporate additional elements in the future.

“An iPad is a lot more convenient and quicker to access than a laptop,” says Sterling Clifton, owner of Clifton Agronomics Inc. in Jonesboro, Ark. “The pest identification guide in the Field Ref application is a good reference tool and great for training new employees.” 

Approximately 170 iPad mobile digital devices, preloaded with the custom Field Ref application, were delivered to a select group of consultants throughout the Mid-South earlier this spring. Recipients received in-person training detailing the intricacies and benefits of the iPad, Field Ref and several other productivity applications.

Other applications included Documents To Go, GoodReader and Dropbox. These tools enable users to view and edit word processing, spreadsheet and PDF documents and easily share those documents with peers, co-workers and customers.

“The initial response from the field has been extremely positive,” says Jim Parker, portfolio marketing leader for Dow AgroSciences. “Users have taken to the convenience of the application and are using it in their everyday operations.”

Dow AgroSciences supports the rice industry by investing in new technology. The company recently introduced GRASP Xtra herbicide with two proven modes of action. Including GRASP Xtra with Newpath herbicide in the second application provides excellent control of hemp sesbania, jointvetch, eclipta, dayflower, morningglory and other tough weeds.

“GRASP Xtra rounds out our rice herbicides portfolio and gives growers another effective option,” Parker says. “This product was developed with direct input from rice producers and consultants — they asked for products like this and we were able to deliver them.”

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