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‘Farm Crap App’ wins Soil Association Innovation Award

14 October 2014

 The Soil Association is delighted to announce that the SWARM Knowledge Hub’s ‘Farm Crap App’ has won top prize at the 2014 Innovation Awards, announced last week at the Soil Association Annual Conference in Swindon.

 The free mobile app, developed by the SWARM Knowledge Hub in collaboration with Rothamsted Research North Wyke, is designed to raise awareness among farmers and growers about the nutritive and economic value of organic manures and slurries. 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.

Dr Stephen Roderick, project manager at Duchy College Rural Business School said “This is a great new development, providing farmers with a very practical and easy-to-use tool that could have real benefits and also continuing our core work of converting research and development into practical advice and information for the farming community. Technology like this can make a real difference to the efficiency and overall profitability of farms.”

Based on data from Defra's RB209 Fertiliser Manual values for crop available nutrients and the industry produced publication Think Manures, the app allows users to calculate crop available nitrogen, phosphate and potash and see what the manure will provide in terms of fertiliser value. The app is available on Android and Apple smart phones, and can be used in organic and non-organic systems alike to help solve the longstanding challenge of manure and slurry management.

Becky Willson, SWARM Hub Information Officer commented, “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 to use the app and realise the nutritive and economic value of their manures.”

The Innovation Award is part of the Soil Association’s Duchy Originals Future Farming programme, which supports and celebrates pioneering ideas in farming and growing across the UK that benefit the environment, health and animal welfare.

Conference delegates heard three minute 'Dragon’s Den style' pitches from each of the shortlisted finalists throughout the day – and debated and voted for their favourite innovator in two interactive sessions. The standard was extremely high, and delegates felt that The Farm Crap App had the potential to make use of existing knowledge and information in a practical and accessible way.

Tom MacMillan, Director of Innovation at the Soil Association said, “The Soil Association’s Innovation Awards celebrate people with the vision and persistence to help farming and growing thrive in the face of climate change, resource pressures and a host of other challenges. We must work together to share pioneering, practical ideas like this that are good for farmers and the environment .”

The runners up were the Bee Brick and the Cycling Veg scheme. The Bee Brick provides a nesting site to support the declining solitary bee population and is designed to be an integral part of new build projects. It sits alongside current green systems such as solar panels and rainwater harvesting, with the dual function of being a construction material that also promotes biodiversity. The Bee Brick was praised by delegates for its innovative approach in linking urban environments with conservation and farming.

Cycling Veg is a bicycle delivery service which supplies British organic produce within the urban environment. A small food enterprise with big ambition, the service is run by students and offers job opportunities to young people while also benefiting elderly and disabled people who are less able to access farmers markets or veg box pick up points. By using recycling crates from restaurants, wholesalers and market, the initiative is virtually packaging-free. Delegates voted for Cycling Veg because of its synergy with other initiatives such as farmers markets, its potential to create employment opportunities and its ability to be replicated in many urban areas- taking the veg box delivery service to the next level.

The top three entries will be put to a public vote this weekend and the winner will receive a £1,000 cash prize. Details of all the finalists can be found here: http://www.soilassociation.org/innovationaward

The Innovation Award is sponsored by the Duchy Originals Future Farming Program.Rea

For press enquiries please contact:
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, Digital Communications and Press Officer – 0117 314 5170

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