Stephanie Berkeley, Farm Safety Foundation manager, reveals the top five safety apps voted for by farmers.
Agricultural apps make up a relatively thin slice of the overall mix, but still present a huge assortment of options to sort through.
Knowing which ones are worth space on your home screen can be overwhelming, however, as particular types of apps become more popular, a number of copycat services are hitting the market, which makes it even more challenging to pinpoint the offerings that work best for you.
Of course, you can always download and ditch an app later when its value comes up short, the time-old word of mouth is always a good indication of whether the app delivers on its promise, something that any busy farmer will welcome.
We opened the debate recently to our 25,000 followers on social media - asking them to nominate the farming safety apps they simply couldn’t live without.
From the responses, we have compiled a Top 5 of Farm Safety Apps.
What it does: It is an easy way to identify precise locations and perfect for farmers and contractors covering large areas of work. The developers have divided the world into 3x3 metre squares and each square has been given a unique combination of three words – a what3words address. You can find, share and navigate to precise locations using three simple words. These three words are then used as reference points to geo-locate people in an emergency situation.
Verdict: Charlie Beaty, a 25-year old farmer from Warwickshire, said: “Amid an incident, the last thing you want to be doing is spending vital time trying to direct the emergency services to your location. What3Words gives you an exact location, without even requiring mobile data. Those saved minutes, even seconds, could be life-saving.”
What it does: A cloud-based software system specifically designed by Scottish farmer Marc Skivington which combines the latest technology and software to help farmers carry out daily pre-start checks of farm vehicles and machinery and comply with the law.
Cost: The app is free to download with a free 7-day trial after which there is a yearly subscription cost of £495 + VAT.
Verdict: Essex farmer Ed Ford said: “In this modern day, often the most important things get forgotten. The smart farmer app is a great way to connect your team to ensure maintenance and safety checks are carried out at regular intervals.”
What it does: SiloMOT allows users to register their silo, carry out a short survey to assess the structure, receive the MOT findings, carry out any remedial work required, reassess and resubmit to achieve a PASS which can be renewed annually. You can add different sites, check up on multiple sites and the app has a FAQ section and outlines hazards and dangers, as well as offering advice.
What it does: Brainchild of Jane Gurney and the team behind TillyYourTrailer, the app can be used to find your trailer daily maintenance checklist or locate a Tilly authorised mechanic in your area who can carry out the Tilly Pass annual 18 point inspection of your trailer.
Verdict: Jim Moon, Cambridgeshire, said: “The Head to Tow app is relevant to help with farm safety, road safety and machinery safety. It is simple to use and gives the user all the information required to keep their trailers in a safe road worthy condition.”
Readers can learn more about the HeadToTow app by listening to Farmers Guardian latest podcast here.
What it does: This new farm safety app, founded by Alma Jordan, a farmer’s wife from Co. Meath Ireland, allows children to play, interact and learn about safety in various areas of the farm and countryside and is ideal for children aged 6 plus. To ensure children cannot make in-app purchases, these are protected by a maths question that parents would have to answer to progress.
Cost: Free, with one game included but there are in app purchases at £1.99 per game.
Verdict: Stuart Roberts, NFU deputy president, said: “With so many in our community having access to smart phones the use of safety apps is growing and growing and for the younger generation it is good to see the use of some of these apps becoming second nature. For the youngest in our community I would recommend replacing a few minutes of Fortnite a week for a couple of games on the AgriKids app.”
All of the apps are available in Google Play and Apple’s App Store. Some include premium versions or in-app purchases.