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Gadgets on the farm

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Almost half of those
responding to a recent Agriculture.com poll say the next tech gadget they plan
to buy will either be a smartphone or a tablet computer. These tools can help
you stay wired in your tractor cab in the field. But can they do more?

More farmers are starting to
use smartphones and tablets not just as communication devices, but also as
tools to help monitor and control specific machinery and equipment operations
on the farm.

Central Illinois farmer
Colby Hunt is using his Apple iPad as a second set of eyes on his farm.

“We can monitor our old
grain dryer over the Internet with the iPad via cameras on the displays,” says
Hunt.

Monsanto spokeswoman and
blogger Janice Person says she’s seeing more farmers use smartphones to do a
lot more than just make and take calls. Newer software applications can help
farmers accomplish more data-intensive jobs, like keeping track of cattle herd
data and controlling center-pivot irrigation systems.

What’s next? Look for future
apps to do a whole lot more, says Nathan Faleide, spokesman for Agri ImaGIS
Technologies, a Fargo, North Dakota-based ag GPS and GIS software maker.

“Some new smartphones are 10
times more powerful than the controller in the tractor cab. Any tablet computer
that uses an app could run all the controls of your tractor through your
smartphone, in theory,” he says.

To join the conversation
about smartphones and tablet computers on the farm go to
www.agriculture.com/computers

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