iWheat App will soon help local farmers - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

iWheat App will soon help local farmers

Dr. Jerry Michel, Ag Life Extensions Dr. Jerry Michel, Ag Life Extensions

Maxine Ridling
NewsChannel 10

Amarillo, TX - Bugs spreading diseases to area crops is a problem local farmers say they can't fix, but there will soon be an "app" for that.

It's being called a technology break-through, when wheat farmers think they have a problem with their crops all they will have to do is take out their smart phone and take a picture.

In just one click, farmers will know if their crops are safe and healthy.

"It will completely change the way they manage their crops especially problems with weeds disease and insects," Ag Life Extensions, Dr. Jerry Michel's  says, "We hope that it will be an electronic evolution and the thing is once this gets going we don't see it ever stopping."

It's called iWheat, a smart phone application allowing farmers to send real-time information to scientist.

"They can enter that data and it is immediately sent to a computer system at Oklahoma State University that will do the analysis and give them information that will say you have aphids and you need to spray," Dr. Michel's says.

Aphids feed directly on the plant fluids and when many farmers see them doctor Michel says they make them same mistake repeatedly of chemically treating these bugs without knowing enough information.

"He makes the application anyway if the aphids weren't there enough in the first place that whole application is just throwing dollars away."

But this application, is hoping to change that.

Researchers at Ag Life Extension aren't stopping at bugs.

"Weed control is important also so as this program develops it won't just be insects so people will be able to put information in about the weeds their seeing," Dr. Michels says.

The app will also work as a communication tool. Farmers will see if a bug is transmitting a disease to other crops close by.

"Watching the diseases move we can give a heads up to people and the nice thing about it it's going to be so much more rapid than waiting till the end of the wheat season," Dr. Michels says, "They are going to know that day their getting information and results back."

The application is just in the beginning stages of being made, and it will be available in two years.

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