A new mobile app, designed to help farmers and growers value the nutrients found in manures, has been nominated for an award with the Soil Association. The Farm Manure Management Application, informally called the “FarmCrapApp” has been developed by the SWARM Knowledge Hub, a project run by the Rural Business School at Duchy College.

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 Stephen Roderick, project manager at Duchy College Rural Business School: “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.”

The “FarmCrapApp” has been created using nutrient values found in Defra’s RB209 Fertiliser Manual along with the Industry produced publication Think Manures. The app contains three features: a calculator, an image library and record sheets. The calculator determines the amount of crop available nutrients that are found within manures spread at different rates, helping with decisions on how much to spread in order to meet the crop requirements and also what this looks like.

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 make a real difference to the efficiency and overall profitability of farms and with new rules on the use of fertilisers; we hope this app can make a difference. The app is free for users to download and use, it also doesn’t need a mobile signal to work as the database is stored on the users phone.”

The image library can be used as a visual reference guide to estimate the spreading rate of manure applied to the field and calculating the amount of crop available nutrients that have been applied. The app will also keep records of field spreading events which can be emailed to the office computer for inclusion in farm records.

Liz Murray, National Project Coordinator of Tried & Tested Nutrient Management said “It seems a really great pocket estimator of the nutrient and monetary value of farm manure. Easy and quick to use, this rough guide is reassuringly based on RB209 (Fertiliser Manual) and brings home the information in our ‘Think Manures’ booklet.”

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.