FARMCRAPAPP : PRO EDITION ENHANCES DETAIL AND PERFORMANCE OF FIELD NUTRIENT GUIDANCE
The FarmCrapApp Pro is due to be launched at the same time as the latest official guide to nutrient management during Grassland and Muck at Stoneleigh Park on the 24th and 25th May.
The developers of the FarmCrapApp, a free software tool to help farmers make better use of the nutrients in their manure (slurry, farmyard manure and poultry litter), this week launch an updated version, the “Pro edition”, that adds more detail and enhances the performance of the original tool.
The FarmCrapApp Pro draws on the latest RB209 guidelines for applying manures and fertilisers to land, the Nutrient Management Guide, which replaces the seven-year-old Fertiliser Manual. The guide, from the Agricultural and Horticultural Development Board (AHDB) , is also due to be launched this week during Grassland & Muck, a two-day agricultural show at Stoneleigh Park in Warwickshire.
The App has been developed by Duchy College Rural Business School, Rothamsted Research North Wyke, interdisciplinary laboratory FoAM Kernow, and software designer Elixil, all based in Devon and Cornwall. It is available for both Android and Apple devices, and can be downloaded from www.swarmhub.co.uk/fca or from the iTunes or Google play stores. The App works in the field, without the need for any wireless connection to the internet or mobile network.
Like the original software, which won an innovation award in 2014 from the Soil Association, the latest version still contains three components: the calculator, the image library and the record sheets. The Pro edition can store more information about different treatments and crops, and can estimate the nutrient content of soils based on the type of soil and previous crops grown.
Together, these two factors can help farmers to select the most suitable treatment for a particular crop, and how much to use, for a range of crop, soil, rainfall and seasonal situations. For the moment, the developers have focused on three crops: grass, barley and wheat.
The functionality of the calculator has been extended to represent how users are managing a field, with the option to include different application methods, crops grown, and seasonality.
A new mapping feature allows users to draw on the map to record each field, which can then be plotted accurately from GPS co-ordinates. According to developer FoAM Kernow, this “was very much the most requested feature from the farmers and producers we tested it with.” By integrating farm maps into field records, the App can create whole field nutrient management plans.
“The FarmCrapApp Pro is a great example of translating ‘hard’ science into a practical on-farm application,” says Chris Hodgson, an environmental microbiologist and business adviser at Rothamsted Research North Wyke. “The App’s novelty lies in its intuitive interface, allowing farmers to map fields and prepare whole farm nutrient plans.” Hodgson notes that the development is the culmination of a long standing and continuing collaboration between Rothamsted Research North Wyke and colleagues in the Duchy College Rural Business School.
Stephen Roderick, manager at the Rural Business School says: “This brand new App, the FarmCrapApp Pro, successfully adds even more functionality and flexibility than the original whilst the App remains a very practical and easy-to-use tool that potentially brings real benefit to the farmer. The partnership team have done an excellent job of converting research and development into practical advice and information for the farming community.”
- The SWARM Knowledge Hub (www.swarmhub.co.uk) is a web-based knowledge exchange project, funded by the Rural Development Programme for England, which is part of the Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs. It was developed by the Peninsula Partnership for the Rural Environment, which comprises four institutions in south west England: Duchy College Rural Business School, Rothamsted Research North Wyke, the University of Exeter and the University of Plymouth. The project aims to help farmers and growers across the south west to manage their resources sustainably. It provides information on the latest research, best practices and innovative technologies that can help make farm businesses more environmentally and financially efficient and resilient.
- The android version of the FarmCrapApp was developed by FoAM Kernow, and the iOS version was developed by Elixil. The App can be downloaded from www.swarmhub.co.uk/fca.
About Rothamsted Research
Rothamsted Research is the longest-running agricultural research institute in the world. We work from gene to field with a proud history of ground-breaking discoveries, from crop treatment to crop protection, from statistical interpretation to soils management. Our founders, in 1843, were the pioneers of modern agriculture, and we are known for our imaginative science and our collaborative influence on fresh thinking and farming practices.
Through independent science and innovation, we make significant contributions to improving agri-food systems in the UK and internationally. In terms of the institute’s economic contribution, the cumulative impact of our work in the UK was calculated to exceed £3000 million a year in 20151. Our strength lies in our systems approach, which combines science and strategic research, interdisciplinary teams and partnerships.
Rothamsted is also home to three unique resources. These National Capabilities are open to researchers from all over the world: The Long-Term Experiments, Rothamsted Insect Survey and the North Wyke Farm Platform.
We are strategically funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), with additional support from other national and international funding streams, and from industry. We are also supported by the Lawes Agricultural Trust (LAT).
For more information, visit https://www.rothamsted.ac.uk/; Twitter @Rothamsted
1Rothamsted Research and the Value of Excellence: A synthesis of the available evidence, by Séan Rickard (Oct 2015)
The Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council is part of UK Research and Innovation, a non-departmental public body funded by a grant-in-aid from the UK government.
BBSRC invests in world-class bioscience research and training on behalf of the UK public. Our aim is to further scientific knowledge, to promote economic growth, wealth and job creation and to improve quality of life in the UK and beyond.
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The Lawes Agricultural Trust, established in 1889 by Sir John Bennet Lawes, supports Rothamsted Research’s national and international agricultural science through the provision of land, facilities and funding. LAT, a charitable trust, owns the estates at Harpenden and Broom's Barn, including many of the buildings used by Rothamsted Research. LAT provides an annual research grant to the Director, accommodation for nearly 200 people, and support for fellowships for young scientists from developing countries. LAT also makes capital grants to help modernise facilities at Rothamsted, or invests in new buildings.