We are an agri-research and industry-led initiative to help UK farming make the most of its two most precious assets: Soil and Water
The SWMC is a central source of soil and water management information and expertise, and national forum for establishing essential improvement priorities.
- Making practical soil and water management training and advisory materials widely accessible and co-ordinating farm-based workshops and demonstration projects.
- Instigating and supporting applied soil and water management research addressing particular challenges and improvement opportunities.
The proposal for a Soil & Water Management Centre, funded by a number of commercial partners, was put forward in April 2011. The Centre was to come under the umbrella of Harper Adams University and was to have a number of purposes, key amongst which was a focus on soils that addressed their degradation. This would be achieved by helping farmers to more intimately understand the workings of their soils and to act as a link between research, the industry and government.
The creation of the Centre was also prompted by the findings of a report published in 2008 (Godwin et al., 2008) which stated “there is a much depleted professional body of specialists who can address the research, extension and training issues required to support the farming community and work with the environmental bodies”. In short, there were very few applied soil physicists and engineers in the making.
In addition, the report stated: “There is a considerable store of fundamental research information available and whilst there is a need for some further supplementation, the prime requirement is to use and develop this existing information …”. In other words, a lot of information is there but farmers are not able to access it in a way that they can understand and apply.
Over the next four years, the partners (shown alongside) funded numerous proposals to establish the Centre as a national resource to allow these key objectives to be achieved. Although a substantial project in the form of AgroCycle was born out of this consortium, funds for the Centre’s core activities now rest with a smaller partnership. Resources are also increasingly being supplemented by a growing individual and corporate membership that together with sponsors for events and conferences, are allowing us to expand the Centre’s activities considerably and secure its future.
Since 2017, we have had three core partners who support the Centre and its activities, and we regularly work in collaboration with Natural England’s Catchment Sensitive Farming project. In addition, we receive regular support from an expanding number of research partners from around the country, which in addition to Harper Adams University include the University of Nottingham, Cranfield University, University of Reading and Rothamsted. The results of these activities can be found in the Soil and Water Management and other pages listed alongside.