Alowance – A Software Tool Quantifying the Agricultural Landbank for Recycling Organic Materials

Nicholson, F.A.1, Gibbs, P1., Humphries, S.2, Anthony, S.2, Procter, C., Chadwick, D.3, Smith, S.R.4 and Chambers, B.J.1, 1ADAS Gleadthorpe, 2ADAS Wolverhampton, 2North Wyke Research, 4Imperial College London


Organic materials are a valuable source of nutrients for crop growth and organic matter that can help
to maintain and enhance soil physical conditions. There are around 9.1 million hectares of agricultural
land in England and Wales potentially available for the recycling of organic materials, but clearly not all
soils or land uses are suitable for this purpose. Applications are restricted both in space and time by a
number of physical and practical constraints, and legislative restrictions.

There is clearly a need to understand the size and distribution of the available agricultural landbank at
both a national and local level. ALOWANCE (Agricultural Land and Organic ‘Waste’: A National
Capacity Estimator) is a GIS-based strategic management tool that has an embedded methodology
for calculating:

1) the potential agricultural landbank capacity;

2) current farm manure N production;

3) the proportion of the landbank already taken up by farm manures and;

4) the landbank remaining for non-farm derived organic materials.

ALOWANCE can be used to identify areas where there is a potential shortage or surplus of available agricultural land for recycling organic materials.

ALOWANCE incorporates scenario testing capabilities, which enable new organic material streams to be added and the landbank capacity to be calculated interactively.

Organic materials, landbank, software

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