FarmLogs offers free software to ag producers

Jesse Vollmar grew up on a Michigan farm with a passion for technology. Today, he combines agriculture and technology in what he calls "the best of both worlds."...

Jesse Vollmar grew up on a Michigan farm with a passion for technology. Today, he combines agriculture and technology in what he calls "the best of both worlds."

FarmLogs, founded in 2011 by Vollmar and Brad Koch and based in Ann Arbor, Mich., provides free farm data software and mobile applications that help farmers plan, manage and analyze their operations to increase yield and profitability. Uses include marketing, inventory control, soil mapping and budgeting.

This month, FarmLogs added yield maps, which allow users to incorporate yield data and then to study and analyze field performance. Heat maps automatically display the location of high and low output as a color-coded overlay on top of each field.

The new function will be available via web browser, Android and iOS mobile apps. Farmers will be able to inspect yields on their smartphone while standing in a field, viewing their precision location on the map, according to the company.

Vollmar says FarmLogs' mission is to be "the company that invents the future of farming."


The company says it has customers in all 50 states and 130 countries, with more than $11 billion in crops under management. Its main emphasis is on row crops, with a general focus on crops harvested by combine, but works with other kinds of ag products, too.

Farms of all sizes can benefit, he says.

Why it's free

FarmLogs promises it will always offers a free version, but plans to keep adding more features, some of which could carry a fee. Services that help analyze data are more likely to come at a cost.

The company has received sufficient start-up venture capital that it doesn't need to generate income right away. By offering its products without cost initially, FarmLogs proves itself and builds a base of future paying customers, Volmar says.

FarmLogs offer precision-agriculture services, but also provides help in areas, such as climate analysis, that usually aren't associated with precision ag, he says.

There's considerable debate in U.S. ag whether satellite or drones will provide better data to farmers. FarmLogs is "agnostic" in that debate, and will tap any source that provides useful, accurate information, Vollmar says.

Some farmers wonder if the effort to learn and utilize new technological tools is justified, he says.


"Sometimes the software can get complicated. It can get frustrating. We try to eliminate that," he says.

"We strive to be incredibly easy. If you know how to farm, you know how to use FarmLogs," he says.

FarmLogs can be attractive to older farmers who might not necessarily use it themselves, he says.

"This is bridging the gap between their generation and their grandchildren, who they want to take over their farm," he says.

"Maybe grandpa won't use the app on a regular basis himself. But maybe just being open-minded to having it on he farm is a way to keep the younger generation interested and involved," Vollmar says.

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