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AZ Tech Beat | November 28, 2014

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U of A Develops Apps to Aid Cotton Growers - AZ Tech Beat

U of A Develops Apps to Aid Cotton Growers
Sara Parker

Mobile Cotton Image 2

As one of the five C’s of Arizona, cotton is essential to a successful Arizona economy. The University of Arizona’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences launched two new mobile and web applications to help cotton growers manage their crops more efficiently. Arizona growers can use smartphones or tablets in the field, at home, the office, or anywhere to track and manage their plant growth, irrigation, fertilizer, and diseases with two simple apps.

The first app, Mobile Cotton, allows cotton growers and crop consultants to make decisions based upon scientific data provided by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. Randy Norton, resident director of the Safford Agricultural Center, and Jeff Silvertooth, professor and director of UA Extension, developed models using a system of heat units to predict cotton growth based upon temperature over a period of time so that growers can compare the development of their crops based upon what is expected.

Assistant specialist in agricultural and biosystems engineering, Pedro Andrade-Sánchez, explains, “We noticed our stakeholders – our growers – were using mobile devices . . . [so] why not create this device so growers can make decisions about their crops based on their own measurements and on models that were developed by UA scientists?”

The goal of the application is to provide real time information to growers. Previously, there was too much time spent travelling back and forth from the field to the office to simply update spreadsheets. “This app will allow growers to collect data, visualize it on their phone, and determine if something needs to be addressed with that crop,” states Andrade-Sánchez.

The other mobile and web based app, Differentiating Diseases of Early Season Cotton, allows cotton growers to identify, treat, and prevent cotton diseases in Arizona.

With this app growers can easily access information on treating disease and even send photos of plants with suspected disease to a UA plant pathology specialist. Furthermore, lead developer, J.D. Gibbs, states that the app can be used even if the internet is not available which is beneficial to rural growers.

This app is free to users and will help growers make important decisions with real time data from any location.

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To learn more about these apps click here.

Photos provided by the University of Arizona