Emerging consensus on desirable characteristics of tools to support farmers' management of climate risk in Australia
The prospect that decision support systems (DSS) can help farmers adjust their management to suit seasonal conditions by putting scientific knowledge and rational risk management algorithms at farmers' fingertips continues to challenge the science and extension community. A number of reviews of agricultural DSS have called for a re-appraisal of the field and for the need to reflect on past mistakes and to learn from social and management theory. The objective of this paper was to investigate whether there is an emerging consensus, among stakeholders in DSS for Australian agriculture, about the lessons learned from past experience with DSS tools. This investigation was conducted in three parts. The first part was a distillation of suggestions for best practice from the relevant literature. The second part was a reflection on what the champions of five current DSS development and delivery efforts in Australia learned from their recent efforts. The third part tested the level of support for the combined findings from the first and second approaches by surveying 23 stakeholders in the research, development, delivery and funding of DSS. The key propositions relating to best practice that were supported by the survey, listed according to the strength of support, were: 1. It is essential to have a plan for delivery of the DSS beyond the initial funding period. 2. DSS need to be embedded in a support network consisting of farmers, consultants and researchers. 3. DSS development requires the commitment of a critical mass of appropriately skilled people. 4. A DSS should aim to educate farmers' intuition rather than replace it with optimised recommendations. 5. A DSS should enable users to experiment with options that satisfy their needs rather than attempt to present 'optimised' solutions. 6. DSS tools stand on the quality and authority of their underlying science and require ongoing improvement, testing and validation. 7. DSS development should not commence unless it is backed by marketing information and a plan for delivery of the DSS beyond the initial funding period. While the DSS stakeholders supported the proposition that it is essential to have a plan for delivery of a DSS beyond the funding period, the majority resisted the notion of DSS development being market-driven and especially commercial delivery of DSS. We argue that since public funding of the delivery of DSS for farmers' management of climate risk is highly unlikely, reaping the benefits of lessons learned from past efforts will require that DSS stakeholders change their perception of the commercial delivery model or find an alternative way to fund the delivery of DSS beyond the R&D phase.
If you experience problems downloading a file, check if you have the proper application to view it first. In case of further problems read the IDEAS help page. Note that these files are not on the IDEAS site. Please be patient as the files may be large.
As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to look for a different version under "Related research" (further below) or search for a different version of it.
References listed on IDEAS
Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
- Marsh, Sally P. & Pannell, David J., 2000. "Agricultural extension policy in Australia: the good, the bad, and the misguided," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 44(4), December.
- Nelson, R. A. & Holzworth, D. P. & Hammer, G. L. & Hayman, P. T., 2002. "Infusing the use of seasonal climate forecasting into crop management practice in North East Australia using discussion support software," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(3), pages 393-414, December.
- Darbas, Toni & Lawrence, David, 2011. "The influence of agronomic advice upon soil water thresholds used for planting decisions in Southern Queensland's grains region," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(1), pages 20-29, January.
- McCown, R. L. & Hochman, Z. & Carberry, P. S., 2002. "Probing the enigma of the decision support system for farmers: Learning from experience and from theory," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 1-10, October.
- Pannell, David J. & Malcolm, Bill & Kingwell, Ross S., 2000.
"Are we risking too much? Perspectives on risk in farm modelling,"
Agricultural Economics of Agricultural Economists,
International Association of Agricultural Economists, vol. 23(1), June.
- Pannell, David J. & Malcolm, Bill & Kingwell, Ross S., 2000. "Are we risking too much? Perspectives on risk in farm modelling," Agricultural Economics, Blackwell, vol. 23(1), pages 69-78, June.
- McCown, R. L., 2002. "Changing systems for supporting farmers' decisions: problems, paradigms, and prospects," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 179-220, October.
- Shapira, Zur & Venezia, Itzhak, 1992. "Size and frequency of prizes as determinants of the demand for lotteries," Organizational Behavior and Human Decision Processes, Elsevier, vol. 52(2), pages 307-318, July.
- Welch, S. M. & Jones, J. W. & Brennan, M. W. & Reeder, G. & Jacobson, B. M., 2002. "PCYield: model-based decision support for soybean production," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 79-98, October.
- Stuth, Jerry W. & Hamilton, Wayne T. & Conner, Richard, 2002. "Insights in development and deployment of the GLA and NUTBAL decision support systems for grazinglands," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 99-113, October.
- Cox, P. G., 1996. "Some issues in the design of agricultural decision support systems," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 52(2-3), pages 355-381.
- Hearn, A. B. & Bange, M. P., 2002. "SIRATAC and CottonLOGIC: persevering with DSSs in the Australian cotton industry," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 27-56, October.
- Walker, Daniel H., 2002. "Decision support, learning and rural resource management," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 73(1), pages 113-127, July.
- Hochman, Z. & Pearson, C. J. & Litchfield, R. W., 1994. "Users' attitudes and roles in the development and evaluation of knowledge based decision support systems for agricultural advisers," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 44(2), pages 217-235.
- Mullen, John D. & Vernon, Don & Fishpool, Ken I., 2000. "Agricultural extension policy in Australia: public funding and market failure," Australian Journal of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Australian Agricultural and Resource Economics Society, vol. 44(4), December.
- McCown, R. L., 2002. "Locating agricultural decision support systems in the troubled past and socio-technical complexity of `models for management'," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 11-25, October.
- Carberry, P. S. & Hochman, Z. & McCown, R. L. & Dalgliesh, N. P. & Foale, M. A. & Poulton, P. L. & Hargreaves, J. N. G. & Hargreaves, D. M. G. & Cawthray, S. & Hillcoat, N. & Robertson, M. J., 2002. "The FARMSCAPE approach to decision support: farmers', advisers', researchers' monitoring, simulation, communication and performance evaluation," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 141-177, October.
- Sterk, B. & van Ittersum, M.K. & Leeuwis, C. & Rossing, W.A.H. & van Keulen, H. & van de Ven, G.W.J., 2006. "Finding niches for whole-farm design models - contradictio in terminis?," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 87(2), pages 211-228, February.
- Donnelly, J. R. & Freer, M. & Salmon, L. & Moore, A. D. & Simpson, R. J. & Dove, H. & Bolger, T. P., 2002. "Evolution of the GRAZPLAN decision support tools and adoption by the grazing industry in temperate Australia," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 74(1), pages 115-139, October.
When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:6:p:441-450. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.
For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Zhang, Lei)
If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.
If references are entirely missing, you can add them using this form.
If the full references list an item that is present in RePEc, but the system did not link to it, you can help with this form.
If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.
Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.