March 27, 2013 at 7:25 PM CDT - Updated July 11 at 4:50 AM
by Linda Foster Benedict
The LSU AgCenter has developed a mobile Web application, also known as an app, that will allow soybean farmers to easily identify weed, insect and disease problems in their fields by just grabbing their smartphones.
Known as the Soybean Field Guide, the app can be easily accessed on a smartphone, such as an iPhone or an Android, or on an electronic tablet, such as an iPad. The app can also be viewed on a laptop or desktop computer.
"This is a one-stop shop," said Jim Griffin, AgCenter weed scientist and the principal author of the weed information. "This app will help farmers identify the weed, insect or disease that's causing problems."
Once the problem is identified, then the app includes links to the AgCenter's three control guides – the Soybean Weed Control Guide, Control Soybean Insect Pests and Soybean Plant Disease Management Guide.
The app contains nearly 200 photos of weeds, insects and disease symptoms – some that can be viewed at different stages and at several angles.
The app also includes information about when and how to scout for these problems.
"If a farmer is out in his field, he can easily compare what he's seeing to the photos," Griffin said.
"This is the first of its type aimed at southern field crops," said Rogers Leonard, AgCenter associate vice chancellor. "There is not another one like this in the South and maybe in the rest of the country. We believe our soybean farmers will find this app extremely valuable."
The Soybean Field Guide app, which is free, is a website than can be viewed through a Web browser at http://soybean.lsuagcenter.com. If viewing on a smart phone or mobile device, the app will automatically provide a way to add a shortcut icon to the device screen or a bookmark for ease of viewing at any time.
If people have any problems with the app, they can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org, said Fred Piazza, the AgCenter's chief information officer.
"We've thoroughly tested this app," Piazza said. "But we are anxious for feedback because we will continue producing educational apps. This is the way people want information now."
"The beauty of this app is that it will be continually updated, and these updates will happen automatically. The user will not have to do anything for the updates," said Frankie Gould, the AgCenter's communication director.