iPhone app helps farmers manage fruit pickers

A new iPhone app called BucketLoad aims to help farmers manage teams of individuals who hand-pick crops such as blueberries, strawberries and citrus fruit during the harvest season.

Jun 21st, 2012
iPhone app helps farmers manage fruit pickers
iPhone app helps farmers manage fruit pickers

A new iPhone app called BucketLoad aims to help farmers manage teams of individuals who hand-pick crops such as blueberries, strawberries and citrus fruit during the harvest season.

The BucketLoad mobile app first assigns an ID number to each worker and an ID badge with a QR code is printed out. An iPhone or iPod touch with the BucketLoad mobile app loaded on it is then used to scan the badges of the workers when they bring buckets of fruit from the field to a truck, after which the number of buckets is added to their tally.

A farm manager can read the data remotely to predict up-to-the-minute harvest totals and generate reports in a browser window to simplify payroll and salary. The app works with any spreadsheet-based payroll system such as Quickbooks or Microsoft Excel.

Beta testing of the system was completed in the spring on a 17-acre farm in central Florida. During the eight-week harvest, Bucketload tallied over 110,000 pounds of berries. On average, the farmers using BucketLoad saved over six hours per week in administration time by using the app to tally daily totals from their fields.

The new app, developed by Big Sea Development (St. Petersburg, FL, USA), is available as a yearly subscription. Pricing starts at $599 for small farm operations with the iPhone application priced at $24.99 per device. The web app runs on any computer or iPad connected to the internet, and the iPhone app will run on any cellular data network or WiFi network.

-- by Dave Wilson, Senior Editor, Vision Systems Design

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