Adoption of soil health improvement strategies by Australian farmers: I. attitudes, management and extension implications

Bennett, J. McL. and Cattle, S. R. (2013) Adoption of soil health improvement strategies by Australian farmers: I. attitudes, management and extension implications. Journal of Agricultural Education and Extension , 19 (4). pp. 407-426. ISSN 1389-224X


Purpose: There is inconsistency in the design, understanding, implementation and monitoring of soil health programmes. Despite mounting scientific evidence for the credibility of certain soil health indicators, an increase in the reporting of programme benefits, and progress in
communicating these benefits, many farmers remain hesitant to implement structured management plans and strategies tailored to address soil health. The purpose of this research is to investigate the proportion of Lachlan and Macquarie Valley landholders who implement a structured soil health programme and to better understand the role of extension in the management of these.
Design: Non-parametric analysis of a mail-based survey supported with content analysis of landholder comments was used.
Findings: Results suggests that the overall landholder attitude towards soil health management is positive, although soil health management programmes are often inconsistent, unstructured, or ad hoc. Ongoing communication between landholders, agronomists, extension agencies and scientists is shown to be vital in the adoption of soil health management programmes.
Practical implication: By understanding landholder attitudes and management practices, as well as the role of extension, extension efforts can become more targeted and effective.
Value: This article shows that soil health management is a primary focus of Australian farmers and elucidates the importance of extension efforts in management and planning. Areas where extension should be focussed are identified.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Published online 14 Jun 2013. © 2013 Copyright Wageningen University. Published version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Current - Faculty of Health, Engineering and Sciences - School of Agricultural, Computational and Environmental Sciences
Date Deposited: 11 Jul 2013 00:56
Last Modified: 04 Nov 2014 00:00
Uncontrolled Keywords: quality; indicators; landholders; planning; soil indicators; workshops
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070305 Crop and Pasture Improvement (Selection and Breeding)
05 Environmental Sciences > 0503 Soil Sciences > 050302 Land Capability and Soil Degradation
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070101 Agricultural Land Management
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9614 Soils > 961402 Farmland, Arable Cropland and Permanent Cropland Soils
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/1389224X.2013.775954

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