A new, free smartphone app called Crop Protect is now available to provide growers and other industry members with efficacy ratings on crop protection materials to better manage up to 30 insect pests across the Cotton Belt.

Crop Protect was launched Jan. 6 as a pilot program during the 2014 Beltwide Cotton Conferences in New Orleans, La. The app was developed by the farm management software company Agworld through the direction and funding by Cotton Incorporated.

The Crop Protect website address is https://crop-protect.agworld.co/.

The app allows the cotton industry – including researchers and the grower community - to view or post zero-to-five-star-based ratings, plus comments, on their experiences on the effectiveness of crop protection materials against different pests across the Southeast, Mid-South, and West cotton regions.

Cotton Incorporated partnered with Agworld to develop a solution that could be easy to use and benefit stakeholders’ lives,” said Zach Sheely, Agworld’s vice-president of product and marketing.

“Crop Protect is simple. It is supposed to make your life easier,” Sheely announced during the Beltwide Cotton Consultants Conference. “You can access these ratings anywhere you have an Internet connection.”

Visitors to the website have two options. One is to click on the tabs to review information posted by others. The second option is to sign in with your name, e-mail address, create a password, and then rate products based on one’s own experience or research, including specific comments.

Cotton Incorporated and Agworld hope to expand the cotton software this year, and create applications for other crops and pests in the future.

“Suddenly, you have a community that allows yourself, your neighbors, and your industry to benefit from the real world value of the product and how it worked for you,” Sheely said. “It allows you to poll people that you might not have been connected with before, submit your own information, and keep track of it.”

Farm Press accessed the just launched website, clicked on the Mid-South tab, then the cabbage looper tab, and found product ratings ranging from 4-5 (on a scale of 0 to 5) on 16 crop protection products.  There were five researcher ratings but no ratings yet from growers.

Product ratings are nothing new to consumers overall. Many potential buyers visit the websites Amazon, Yelp, and others to glean ratings on electronics, restaurants, and movies.

Sheely says Crop Protect fits the cotton market niche with valuable feedback from cotton industry peers.

The Sheely family is no stranger to the cotton industry. The family grows Pima and Upland Acala cotton along with tomatoes, wheat, wine grapes, and pistachios in California.

The new app is a bit personal for Zach Sheely. Several years ago, his father Ted applied a crop protection product to a wheat field according to label instructions and the field appeared to have died. He spent a lot of time online searching for similar experiences and feedback.

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