COLUMBUS — A free mobile app is now available to help farmers comply with new record keeping requirements created under two state laws.
Developed by Knox County Farm Bureau and Knox Soil and Water Conservation District, the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper was designed to help farmers comply with Senate Bill 1, which restricts the application of manure and fertilizer on frozen, snow-covered or saturated ground in the Western Lake Erie Basin, and Senate Bill 150, which requires anyone who applies fertilizer on more than 50 acres to obtain fertilizer application certification.
Simple to use
The app is available for both Apple and Android devices and was designed to be a quick way for farmers to record their fertilizer or manure application, as well as record the current weather conditions and forecast for the next 24 hours. Those records can be downloaded and printed using an online portal.
“We wanted to make it simple and not have farmers be at the edge of the field and entering a lot of data,” said Knox County Farm Bureau President Trish Levering.
It takes about 40 seconds to create an account, enter the farm and field information, the fertilizer type and amount used, explained Rob Clendening, district program administrator for the Knox County SWCD.
“If you have time, you can create your account online ahead of time,” he said. And then all the farmer has to do is log in and enter the nutrient application information from his or her smartphone.
How it works
After setting up the Ohio Nutrient Management Record Keeper app on their mobile device, farmers can record what nutrients they apply. The application screen shows the current weather and the weather forecast. If the weather forecast calls for more than a half inch of rain, there will be a warning, letting farmers know their application could be out of compliance.
The application information is entered in drop-down menus that track type, time, analysis, soil conditions, method of application, field conditions and amount of nutrients applied per acre and any notes to be included in the report. All the information is saved, and application reports can be downloaded for printing from the Web portal.
Using the data
Farmers have a couple of options for downloading their information from the Web portal, explained Clendening. Standard PDF format allows farmers to print the necessary information for their records or a .csv file allows them to open the information as a detailed spreadsheet table in Excel. “If they are working with another ag technology, they can easily import the information into other apps they are using,” said Clendening.
More than $30,000 in grant money for the development of the app was awarded through Ohio Farm Bureau’s County Water Quality Initiative program, Ohio State University Extension and the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District. The project was one of 12 county Farm Bureau projects funded by Ohio Farm Bureau this year as part of its $1 million Water Quality Action Plan.
“It was very important for us to team up with the local Soil and Water Conservation District on a project like this that has an impact locally and statewide. It’s going to take a lot of people working together to improve our water quality situation here in Ohio,” said Levering.
A small team of Knox SWCD members and Ohio State University Extension specialists tested the app before its release in late November. “It’s been almost a year in the making,” said Clendening, adding there were many different avenues they considered when it came to the possibilities of the app. “We went with the ‘keep it simple’ concept,” he said.
The app is available at www.onmrk.com, Google Play and the App Store.
(Farm and Dairy reporter Catie Noyes contributed to this article.)