An innovative phone app developed by the SWARM Knowledge Hub, a project run by the Rural Business School at Duchy College, has won a Soil Association Innovation Award. The Farm Manure Management Application, informally called the “FarmCrapApp”, was voted for by the attendees at this year’s annual Soil Association conference.
Dr Stephen Roderick, project manager at Duchy College Rural Business School: “I am very proud of the team. What is really nice is that we have successfully used an innovative and humorous approach to getting serious messages sent about farm resource efficiency and reducing pollution. We now hope to use the prize money to further develop the app so that it has even broader appeal both as a teaching tool for students and as a very practical instrument for farmers and advisors.”
Following a brief presentation on the app, the 500 attendees then voted it the most pioneering idea in farming and growing across the UK in 2014.
Claire Reigate and Becky Willson, who presented the app at the awards, said “We are delighted to have won. The competition was of a very high standard and we were up against some great innovations. We hope that this will help us spread the word and get even more farmers and growers using the app. And we also hope they tell us what they think about it so we can keep on improving it.”
The app, which has been created in collaboration with Rothamsted Research North Wyke, allows the farming community to appreciate the nutritive and economic value of livestock manures. The app provides farmers with an opportunity to visually assess manure and slurry application rates and to calculate what is being provided in terms of available nutrients, as well as giving an estimate of potential savings in purchased artificial fertilisers.
Dr Roderick continues: “We’ve already received over 500 downloads, for an app that we feel can make a real difference for farmers. Technology, like this, can improve the efficiency and overall profitability of farms and with new rules on the use of fertilisers; we hope this app will help. The app is free to download and use, it also doesn’t need a mobile signal to work as the database is stored on the users phone.”
The app which is available on Apple and Android devices can be downloaded for free from www.swarmhub.co.uk/fca or from iTunes or Google play stores.
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