The slow adoption rates for many agricultural practices are often a source of frustration for researchers and extension agents. An information and learning-based approach is used to describe the adoption decision-making process and why some innovations, even if apparently profitable, may not be adopted. Recent studies of the adoption (or non-adoption) of agronomic innovations in Australia are used to demonstrate steps that can be used to identify specific factors in the adoption decision that are both influential, and can be targeted to accelerate learning of the likely value of an innovation. However, it is also recognised that adoption and the adoption decision consume two limited on-farm resources: time and the capacity to integrate new information. Readily available quality information with high reliability and relevance to the decision-maker reduces these information seeking and learning costs. The rapid rise of formal groups of farmers, called farmer groups in the Australian research and extension network, is considered in this context. Although the participative research processes at the core of farmers group activity is most important, the majority of farmers engage with groups through relatively traditional modes of communication. Results of a study categorising farmer group research projects are presented together with a study of the perceived economic value (willingness to pay) for agronomic research information from farmer group and other research sources. The high value placed on localised information is demonstrated and opportunities to achieve more rapid adoption by reducing information and learning-related costs are identified.
Field Crops Research – Elsevier
Published: Oct 1, 2007
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