LUBBOCK, TX -- Far from the days of old, Crosby County farmer Steven Chapman now farms from the palm of his hand.
“What used to take me an hour to start a pivot, now takes me 10 minutes,” Chapman said. “What used to take me an hour to two hours a day to go around to all the pivots, now takes me maybe 30 minutes.”
“[It] saves a lot of wear and tear on the vehicles; saves labor. You know it’s a cost effective deal over time," said Chapman.
Chapman uses apps like Lyndsay Fieldnet, Wagnet by Agsense, Tankmix and Connected Farm to start his pivots, keep records and track his tractors.
“Now I get up every morning and look at my iPad, and then I can identify any problems and go directly to those problems,” said Chapman.
There are now so many agriculture apps on the market that the Texas A&M Agrilife Extension Service offers a course.
“Some have done nothing. Some have done great things,” said Extension Program Specialist Jay Yates.
“There is a lot you can do. And especially now with … new farm equipment that's coming out; a lot of it is coming out with very specific apps that control that equipment or monitor that equipment,” Yates said.
Yates travels the state teaching classes. The next one will be in Corpus Christi May 13th.
Chapman says this has become an integral part of his farming routine, but he knows not all farmers have signed on.
“The average age of farmers is pretty old. It’s hard for them to adapt to that technology and it’s very understandable because they are not used to it,” Chapman said. “But as the younger guys come in they can teach us how to use it and they can use it themselves.”
Chapman says if nothing else, his iPad saves him money and makes his job easier. And that alone is enough.