Mobile app allows ag info sharing

Farmers curious about what their neighbour paid for fertilizer might find the answer in their phone. 


AgPriceBook joins a growing list of mobile applications targeting producers. Some allow growers to re-cord and share farm management data or access market and weather information. 


This one, developed by Farmers of North America Strategic Agriculture Institute with funding from Agriculture Canada, allows producers to anonymously share prices for fertilizers and other inputs that they’ve seen in their region. 


“We’ve developed this tool with the expectation that … it’ll provide transparent pricing information to farmers,” said Bob Friesen of FNA-STAG . “Of course, the success of this is contingent on farmers engaging.” 


Users can input information on the free application, as well as view prices posted within a 100 kilometre radius of a point they select. The application does not identify retailers. 


“We’re expecting it will have a price levelling effect, so that if a farmers in Humboldt, Sask., finds out the product that he’s buying is $800 a tonne but he sees that a farmer near Regina is getting it for $700 a tonne, that he will be able to use that information,” said Friesen. 


The application was launched last month, and has already been downloaded several hundred times. 


He compared the application to a farm input monitoring survey that the University of Guelph conducted in Ontario, which surveys prices paid at farm supply centres in that province and some U.S. states. 


“For some time, we had thought that we needed something like this, especially in Western Canada.”


Friesen said the non-profit organization could potentially use the data collected from the app in reports.


“It would give us an opportunity to use the price information that farmers have entered and just simply aggregate it in a price survey report.”