8th January 2015 @ 1:00PM
The Cool Farm Tool (CFT), developed by Dr Jon Hillier and his team at Aberdeen University, has won the Practice with Science Award run by the Oxford Farming Conference (OFC) and The Royal Agricultural Society of England (RASE). The Award is sponsored by AB Agri.
CFT is a free-to-use greenhouse gas calculator used by the whole supply chain to measure the carbon footprint of crop and livestock products. It was originally developed in conjunction with Unilever, and is now owned by the not-for-profit Cool Farm Alliance.
Organisations which have adopted the tool include Marks & Spencer for cutting carbon emissions in cotton production, Costco for their organic egg suppliers and Heinz for assessing climate-friendly production options for their Californian tomato growers.
The runner up is The Farm Crap App, developed by Dr Stephen Roderick's team at the Rural Business School at the Duchy College in Cornwall.
Commenting on CFT's win, Dr Tina Barsby, an Oxford Farming Conference Director and CEO of NIAB, said: "The judges were impressed by this project because of its obvious value to the supply chain. The tool helps farmers identify 'hot spots', but where it becomes really valuable is that it allows the user to test alternative management options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions."
The £10,000 prize money will be used by Dr Hillier's team to develop an economic assessment module to enable farmers to better understand the profit and loss implications of more sustainable production choices.
The judges also praised the environmental credentials of the Farm Crap App developed by Dr Roderick's team to help farmers reduce their bagged fertiliser use by managing their manures more efficiently. The name has been controversial, but Roderick says that it is simple, memorable and appealing to farmers - which means they will use it.
The Crap Farm App is free to download on both Google Play and the Apple App Store. It includes a calculator to work out the nutrients available to a growing crop, an image library to show different spreading rates and recording sheets for farmers to store their own application details.
The Practice with Science Award was set up in 2010 to recognise applied scientific work that has resulted in valuable benefits to the agricultural industry, particularly in relation to on-farm practices.
Dr Barsby added that "this award addresses a fundamental need for agriculture because it bridges the big gap between the science-driven innovation farmers need on the ground, and the 'leading edge science' work being done in research institutions."
The Award is funded by the OFC and the RASE, with additional sponsored support from AB Agri. It aims to recognise the following areas of research merit:
• Novel and original application
• Clear economic benefit to the industry, food chain and consumers
• Improved sustainability through the more efficient use of resources
The £10,000 prize, is made up of £3,000, funded by AB Agri, awarded to the individual and £7,000, funded by the RASE and the OFC, to the institution or business at which the R&D team or individual is based.