Mindy Montgomery, a reader from Lucas, KS, recently emailed me in search of the best apps for ranchers. Montgomery wrote, “I'm looking for an all-inclusive farm software program -- one that is Mac-friendly and has a mobile app. I’m looking for employee management, crops, cattle, and customer tracking for our hay sales. I'm not 100% sure what is available today and for what price.”
After her email, I asked BEEF readers to email me their favorite apps that they use in their own livestock operations. I’m not sure I’ve found the perfect app yet for Montgomery, but here is a round-up of eight apps for cattlemen recommended by cattlemen.
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1. iCattleMgrPro and iLivestockMgr from RGResources
Can you run your livestock business from an iPhone? These two apps promise to help ranchers manage their businesses better with a few clicks on a smartphone.
2. Ranch Records from the University of Wyoming Extension and Wyoming Private Grazing Lands Team
This is a free way to use your smart phone to keep ranch records. View the tutorial video here.
3. SoilWeb by CA Soil Resource Lab
The iTunes description of SoilWeb says, “GPS-based, real-time access to USDA-NRCS soil survey data, formatted for the iPhone. This application retrieves graphical summaries of soil types associated with the iPhone's current geographic location, based on a user defined horizontal precision. Sketches of soil profiles are linked to their official soil series description (OSD) page. Soil series names are linked to their associated page within the CA Soil Resource Lab's online soil survey, SoilWeb."
4. Raindar for Androids by Gerrit van Doorn
This is an animated Doppler radar on Google Maps that allows you to check the weather. According to the developer, “When you start Raindar, it automatically focuses on your location so you can quickly see if there is precipitation coming your way. When pressing the search button on your phone, you can now also search for locations within the U.S.”
5. Handyman Calculator for Androids by Kalyani
This app helps plan any construction projects you might have on the ranch. It promises to help reduce waste and save time and money. It includes a time-tracking tool, measurement conversion calculators, and has several positive reviews from contractors and home owners.
6. Farm Logs by AgriSight, Inc.
This app was recently featured on Forbes.com as a new way for food producers to manage their businesses. The app allows the user to track rainfall, monitor local grain prices, manage their farm activity and more.
7. FarmBooks by Sanders Software Consulting, Inc.
According to the developers, “FarmBooks makes accounting easy with tools to organize your finances. Complete tasks like payroll, invoicing, bill tracking, check-writing and inventory management.”
8. Hana Yakiniku
This last app is an odd one, at best, but I thought it was worth sharing anyway. This Japanese iPhone gadget allows you to smell meat on your phone. The gadget, Hana Yakiniku, which is Japanese for ‘nose grilled meat,’ plugs into a user’s iPhone headphone jack and sprays one of three scents: short ribs, beef tongue or buttered potato. The idea behind the app is that eating meat at restaurants is expensive, but you can still smell the meaty goodness while eating something cheaper like rice or lettuce. I think I will just order the meat. How about you?
Finally, here is a comprehensive article from Iowa State University on evaluating the best farm accounting software.
Which of these have you used? Have you had good luck with any of these apps? Are there other apps you would recommend? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below. And thank you to all of you who helped me compile this short list of apps.
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