5/5/2014 at 8:18 a.m.
From the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture:
LONOKE – Flag the Technology is moving to the cloud to help aerial applicators
avoid mismatching spray and crops in farm fields.
Flag the Technology, introduced statewide in 2011, was based on a simple premise:
placing color-coded bicycle flags on corners of a field would provide a means for
spray planes to know which field needed what herbicide. The idea took off with row
crop growers in Arkansas, Missouri, Mississippi and Louisiana using the flags.
The new version, FTTCloud, is based on Google Maps and allows users to map out what
crop technology they’re using on which row crop fields. Users can register, log in
though a secure website, add information about their farms. Participation is voluntary.
Going to the cloud means “we can eliminate the need for physically placing flags in
the field,” said Bob Scott, extension weed scientist for the University of Arkansas
System Division of Agriculture.
“FTTCloud allow producers to digitally establish connections with their consultants,
chemical applicators, and county agents,” said Dharmendra Saraswat, extension engineer
for the Division of Agriculture. “Basic information, such as herbicide technology
and location, about any new field is mailed to all registered users. Users can email,
search, and print maps of the entered data. Non-registered users can also visualize
countywide adoption status of the tool through user statistics included on the home
Saraswat said that when producers begin classifying their acreage, in addition to
“herbicide tolerant technologies, they can also identify sensitive areas such as orchards,
pumpkin patches, fish ponds and other areas on their property.”
Arkansas county agents were trained in the use of the site in March.
“It’s definitely in a trial mode right now,” said Scott. “This is the first year and
we want to see what kind of adoption we have.”
Although some farmers, herbicide and seed dealers might feel a little uncomfortable
making private use decisions public, getting involvement is important.
“With farmland begin squeezed by urban sprawl, and increased pressure on farmers to
grow more with fewer acres, precision is more important,” Scott said.
“We have received a lot of inquire about this from all over the U.S.,” Scott said.
“They’re waiting to see how this turns out.”
FTTCloud can be found at https://fttcloud.uaex.edu.
Funding for development of the cloud-based initiative was provided by Arkansas Soybean
Promotion Board. The FTTCloud advisory board, consisting of several specialists and
county agents, provided crucial inputs for the tool.