What drives farmers to choose their farming method?

News | Posted Apr 09,2020

Understanding what management decisions farmers make, and why, is vital to better understanding the challenges they face, and the information and technical support they need to achieve their goals.

The ultimate aim of the Soil CRC project Surveying farm practices is to better support farmers and help them build resilience.

Led by Dr Hanabeth Luke from Southern Cross University, the first stage of the project has been completed in collaboration with the North Central Catchment Management Authority (CMA), with results from north central Victoria farm surveys.

Survey findings

Farmers look to the Bureau of Meteorology as one of their most trusted and useful sources of information for farm management. This is followed by newspapers, friends, neighbours and relatives.

The study re-emphasises findings of previous studies, which highlight word of mouth as a critical influencer of farmer decision making. another important factor is a predisposition to accept risk.

Moving onto the next phase of the project, the research team have recently sent out two thousand surveys to farmers across the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia to gain more information on farm management practices.

The South Australian survey was co-designed by Dr Luke and local partners to guide strategic directions of the Lower Eyre Agricultural Development Association (LEADA) and the Eyre Peninsula Agricultural Research Foundation (EPARF).

Importantly, the surveys help the Soil CRC to understand what farm management practices are being undertaken, and why farmers choose the farming methods that they do across Australian farming systems. In this way, future research activities can be better targeted to the needs of farmers.

Watch Dr Luke’s presentation as part of our Program 1 Conference webinar.