IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Cropcheck: Farmer benchmarking participatory model to improve productivity


  • Lacy, John


In the 1970s in southern NSW, Australia, information was delivered to farmers through the transfer of technology (TOT) model. It was 'top down' with knowledge generated by researchers being passed onto farmers by extension officers. Farmers' knowledge was not respected by research and extension workers. In contrast Cropcheck is a farmer participatory program which benchmarks farmer crops to identify practices for lifting yields. With TOT there was good adoption of single factor technologies such as wheat varieties but by the late 1970s to early 1980s wheat yields were stagnant or only slowly improving. There was the realisation that farmers had valuable knowledge and that multiple factors were needed to increase productivity. To address these needs in developing countries many farmer participatory models were developed. This paper, based on my experiences as an extension officer, records development in a developed country of a farmer participatory crop benchmarking model called Cropcheck. This program benchmarks farmer crops to identify the checks (best practices) related to high yields. It has been successful in lifting crop yields and profitability. This paper discusses the development of the model for irrigated wheat, i.e. the Finley Five Tonne Irrigated Wheat Club (referred to hereafter as "Wheat Club") and adaption of the model for irrigated subterranean clover pasture, i.e. Subcheck. Since farmer participatory extension theory was undeveloped at that time, the development of the model was an intuitive learning process. The process was a planning, action and review cycle. Several years involving crop monitoring, farmer training, crop recording and reviewing results were needed to identify the objective checks consistently improving yields and gross margins. The results showed the more checks adopted the higher the yield and profitability. Farmers were trained in the learning steps of observing, monitoring, measuring, interpreting and recording their own crop practices. Farmer discussion groups were important for communication. Cropcheck has high farmer credibility because the checks are identified from farmer crops. Over a period of 6Â years, yields of the "Wheat Club" increased by 50%. With Subcheck the problem of reddened subclover and inconsistent production disappeared. The Cropcheck model has been adapted for many crops in eastern Australia. Precision agriculture and electromagnetic mapping and geographic information systems (GIS) have followed on as new technology and monitoring tools for farmers but it is still important to ground truth these technologies with crop monitoring.

Suggested Citation

  • Lacy, John, 2011. "Cropcheck: Farmer benchmarking participatory model to improve productivity," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 104(7), pages 562-571, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:7:p:562-571

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Farrington, John, 1989. "Farmer participation in agricultural research," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 14(2), pages 97-100, May.
    2. Webber, Lynn M. & Ison, R. L., 1995. "Participatory Rural Appraisal Design: Conceptual and process issues," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 47(1), pages 107-131.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Cock, J. & Kam, S.P. & Cook, S. & Donough, C. & Lim, Y.L. & Jines-Leon, A. & Lim, C.H. & Primananda, S. & Yen, B.T. & Mohanaraj, S.N. & Samosir, Y.M.S. & Oberthür, T., 2016. "Learning from commercial crop performance: Oil palm yield response to management under well-defined growing conditions," Agricultural Systems, Elsevier, vol. 149(C), pages 99-111.
    2. Martínez-Alvarez, V. & García-Bastida, P.A. & Martin-Gorriz, B. & Soto-García, M., 2014. "Adaptive strategies of on-farm water management under water supply constraints in south-eastern Spain," Agricultural Water Management, Elsevier, vol. 136(C), pages 59-67.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:agisys:v:104:y:2011:i:7:p:562-571. 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: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    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 CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc 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 RePEc Author Service 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.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.