The SWARM knowledge hub is an RDPE funded project that provides a web-based knowledge transfer repository for resource management information aimed at improving the economic and environmental performance of agriculture through research, skills development and unbiased knowledge transfer.
Examples of different innovative approaches used include fifty farmer case studies, film, analysis of outputs from advisory schemes, decision tools and mobile phone apps as well as on-line text and imagery to encourage behavioural change and support management decisions across six broad themes: Soils, Water, Energy Efficiency, Nutrients and Manures, Trees and Wood and Renewable Energy. The project is a partnership with industry and academia, including The Soil Association, British Grassland Society, Natural England, Rural Focus, the Environment Agency, Exeter University and Rothamsted Research and the project has encompassed other initiatives such as Low Carbon Farming, Nutrient Wise Demos and www.pasturepromise.tv.
A number of significant documents have been converted to user-friendly on-line materials, including the Think Manures manual and Defra-funded guidance on mitigating diffuse water pollution and reducing GHGs. Farmer feedback has been key, enabling the adoption of an underlying approach to delivering knowledge materials in a ‘How to’ as well as a ‘Why’ format, highlighting cost-benefit relationships where required.