Profit Tips: Even for that, there’s an app

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A pair of new smartphone apps could provide valuable information for the tech-savvy producer. One of these, from the University of Arkansas, helps estimate the dollar and nutrient value of manure as a crop input. The app was developed by Dharmendra Saraswat, an associate professor and Extension engineer, in collaboration with Karl VanDevender, a professor and Extension engineer. The app, known as Manure Valuator, is based on the premise that the monetary value of manure is linked to the market value for inorganic nitrogen (N), phosphorus (P) and potassium (K) fertilizers that the animal waste is replacing. This means the value of manure depends on crop N, P and K recommendations, the manure N, P and K content, and the amount applied. Users enter the cost of commercial fertilizer either on a dollar-per-ton or dollar-per-pound basis. If dollar-per-ton values are used, the app converts them to dollars per pound of N, P and K. Then users enter the crop’s N, P and K needs, ideally based on recent soil test recommendations. They also select one of 18 different choices of dry and liquid manure. After the desired manure application rate is entered, the app calculates N, P and K fertilizer replacement value. Users also can play “what if” to evaluate the effects of different rates.

Download the free app at the iTunes store or Google Play store. Another new app, from the University of Nebraska, allows the cow-calf producer to enter events electronically as they happen. Cow-calf records need to be collected at specific times during the year, such as at weaning, pregnancy checks and calving.However, they can be difficult to keep up with, says Richard Randle, a beef cow-calf production management veterinarian in the university’s Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources. “Records are a useful part of making any management decisions,” Randle says. “So, we developed the Mobile Cattle Tracker app so data could be electronically entered as events happen.” Production data like birth records, health records, weights and measurements, and management activities need to be entered real time, so that they can be available for review when animals are gathered and worked, Randle says. Mobile Cattle Tracker allows producers to collect and access cattle records when they are needed. The app isn’t a recordkeeping program but a way to collect data, Randle says. After data is collected it then can be emailed as an Excel file attachment. The app allows producers to keep records from year to year and can be started at any time during the production year. The app is available in the Apple store and will soon be available in the Google Play store. It is available for iOS and Android devices. A demo version also will be available soon.

For more information or to download the app, visit real.unl.edu.



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