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Update of SoFT (Selection of Forages for the Tropics)

This project aims to update the Selection of Forages for the Tropics (SoFT) tool, an open-access, online, expert knowledge system created by international forage specialists between 2000 and 2005.
SoFT provides detailed information on 180 major forages grown in the tropics and sub-tropics, and incorporates a species selection tool based on target environment and forage use. The ability to select and prioritize forages for specific niches, environments, socio-economic conditions and specific animal requirements is important to mitigate feed shortages and improve natural resource management as part of sustainable farming systems.
SoFT should be updated, because new research has generated information on forage performance and use in many environments over the last ten years. Advances in knowledge management and information technology, including the use of mobile devices, search engine optimization and rapid searching, could be employed in a revised and updated tool. It would also reach more users, particularly in developing regions where most people access information through cellphones and tablets.
The original SoFT tool will be updated to the new, improved 'SoFT II'. The new tool will consist of two integrated work packages: one on technical knowledge and information about forages, and one on access to and delivery of knowledge, aimed at producers and extension services.
This project will:
1. update and expand the technical information on tropical forages (factsheets)
2. enhance access to and delivery of knowledge on tropical forages.
It will develop mobile (tablet, smartphone) versions of the tool, improve the selection tool, and optimise the functionality of the tool with multiple operational systems and web browsers. It will consider how to enhance access, especially in countries of Sub-Saharan Africa.