Cotton Cultivation: There's An App For That

September 03, 2013

Cotton is one of Arizona’s largest cash crops – and now it’s going digital. The University of Arizona just released new tools for cotton farmers: smartphone apps.

The Mobile Cotton app gives farmers access to U of A research, and allows them to predict and compare their cotton growth. The app named Differentiating Diseases of Early Season Cotton is pretty self-explanatory.

Randy Norton is a specialist with the U of A Department of Soil, Water and Environment Science. He thinks this technological approach will likely resonate with many Arizona farmers.

cotton Two apps were recently released by the University of Arizona to help farmers' cotton crops flourish. Above is a cotton field in the Maricopa area. (Photo courtesy of the University of Arizona)

“The average farmer is getting younger,” he said. “And more and more of these younger growers grew up with this kind of technology or are more familiar with it.”

Norton said the state is a pretty small player in the worldwide cotton industry. But it’s known for producing large amounts of high-quality cotton on small amounts of land. These apps may not increase the amount of cotton grown, but Norton they should help farmers’ bottom line.

Pedro Andrade agrees. He’s an assistant specialist in agriculture and biosystems with the university.

“We think that this is going to help our base of growers to increase their efficiency,” Andrade said.

He added that it’s too early to tell how widely the apps will be used. But, Andrade explained, they are just the latest way the university is trying to continue the cotton tradition in Arizona.