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Why do farmers partially adopt conservation farming practices? A sociological study of stubble retention in NSW and Victoria


Higgins, V and Love, C and Dunn, T and Lemerle, D, Why do farmers partially adopt conservation farming practices? A sociological study of stubble retention in NSW and Victoria, Proceedings of the 17th ASA Conference, 20-24 September 2015, Hobart, Tasmania (2015) [Refereed Conference Paper]

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Copyright 2015 Australian Society of Agronomy Inc.

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Despite considerable investment in Australia and abroad to promote the benefits of conservation farming, rates of on-farm adoption in some regions have been slower than expected. Recent research suggests that this may be due to the preference by farmers for partial adoption of conservation farming practices. However, such research provides limited insights into why farmers may prefer partial adoption. This paper aims to address this issue by drawing upon qualitative data from a DAFF-funded project exploring stubble retention practices by grain growers in NSW and Victoria. Our study reveals that while growers recogni=se the significant benefits in retaining crop stubbles, there exist a range of constraints in moving towards full stubble retention. Growers seek to reconcile these benefits and constraints through partial adoption. They continue to selectively and reluctantly burn stubble as they recognise that moving towards full stubble retention would undermine their flexibility to manage biophysical and financial variability. This finding suggests that improving the uptake of stubble retention requires greater accommodation of growers’ existing practices, as well as recognition that selective burning may be complementary to growers retaining crop stubbles.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Conference Paper
Keywords:Conservation agriculture; social research; partial adoption; crop residue retention
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Agriculture, land and farm management
Research Field:Agricultural systems analysis and modelling
Objective Division:Plant Production and Plant Primary Products
Objective Group:Environmentally sustainable plant production
Objective Field:Environmentally sustainable plant production not elsewhere classified
UTAS Author:Higgins, V (Professor Vaughan Higgins)
ID Code:124686
Year Published:2015
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-03-04
Last Modified:2018-05-22

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