Farmers turning to iPads to increase production

iPad /

The growth in the number of farmers who use mobile devices while doing their chores may be stymied when faced with a needed iPad repair out in the field.

Farmers are using iPads to maximize production as app developers offer software that assists them in keeping track of their crops, monitoring livestock, adjusting their irrigation schedules and performing other tasks with the touch of a screen. They still have to take the devices with them into occasionally rough terrain that could lead to needing iPad screen repair.

Several farm machinery manufacturers offer products meant to help farmers adopt tablet technology while reducing the chance of needing to pay for iPad repair, according to Farmers Weekly. The Swedish company Väderstad  plans to launch its E-Control implement software system for farmers this fall. The system will initially be used to control seed drills and will come with a holder, which can be mounted in the tractor's cab to keep the device secure and reduce the risk of physical damage that would require iPad repair service.

“I believe this is game-changing technology for operators,” Väderstad chairman Crister Stark said. “Besides providing easy control, monitoring and data transfer, it brings the iPad's proven role as a computer for internet access and professional apps into the tractor cab.”

Farmers can use their iPads to display control settings that they can manipulate by using a separate touch screen or buttons on the holder. The iPads themselves use Wi-Fi to communicate with the holder system, eliminating the need for cables. The software can record information on the machine's performance, and the Wi-Fi feature means that farmers can take their iPads out of the cab if needed. The system also can be used to diagnose malfunctions and order new parts.

Growing trend
A study conducted by the consulting firm Float Mobile Learning found that about 40 percent of farmers were using smartphones in 2011 compared to 10 percent the previous year, and the use of iPads and other tablets has increased. The shift toward mobile devices raises the chances that a farmer will need an iPad replacement glass due to device damage accrued in the field.

“Agriculture industry professionals can benefit from using mobile technology in today's fast-paced business climate because it offers a way to stay connected,” Float managing director Chad Udell said in a press release. “Because of its ubiquitous nature, learning with smartphones and tablets may be the only way to get just-in-time information to these professionals when they are on the road or in the fields.”

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