Formative evaluation to benchmark and improve climate-based decision support for graziers in western Queensland

Keogh, D. U. and Bell, K. L. and Park, J. N. and Cobon, D, H. (2004) Formative evaluation to benchmark and improve climate-based decision support for graziers in western Queensland. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 44. pp. 233-246. ISSN 0816-1089


Researchers developing climate-based forecasts, workshops, software tools and information to aid grazier decisions undertook an evaluation study to enhance planning and benchmark impact. One hundred graziers in western Queensland were randomly selected from 7 shires and surveyed by mail and phone (43 respondents) to explore levels of knowledge and use of climate information, practices and information needs. We found 36% of respondents apply the Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) to property decisions but 92% were unaware El Niño Southern Oscillation’s predictive signal in the region is greater for pasture growth than rainfall, suggesting they may not recognise the potential of pasture growth forecasts. Almost 75% of graziers consider they are conservative or risk averse in their attitude to managing their enterprise. Mail respondents (n=20) if given a 68%, on average, probability of exceeding median rainfall forecast may change a decision; almost two-thirds vary stocking rate based on forage available, last year’s pasture growth or the SOI; the balance maintain a constant stocking rate strategy; 90% have access to a computer; 75% to the internet and 95% have a fax. This paper presents findings of the study and draws comparisons with a similar study of 174 irrigators in the northern Murray-Darling Basin (Keogh et al. 2003). New insights and information gained are helping the team better understand client needs and plan, design and extend tools and information tailored to grazier knowledge, practice, information needs and preferences. Results have also provided a benchmark against which to measure project impact and have influenced the team to make important changes to their project planning, activities and methods for transferring technology tailored to grazier preferences.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: No Faculty
Date Deposited: 23 Dec 2014 11:57
Last Modified: 13 May 2015 03:53
Uncontrolled Keywords: benchmarking, client focus, continuous improvement, El Niño Southern Oscillation, ENSO, extension planning, irrigators, Murray-Darling Basin pasture growth forecasts, seasonal climate forecasts, SOI, Southern Oscillation Index
Fields of Research (2008): 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0701 Agriculture, Land and Farm Management > 070106 Farm Management, Rural Management and Agribusiness
Fields of Research (2020): 30 AGRICULTURAL, VETERINARY AND FOOD SCIENCES > 3002 Agriculture, land and farm management > 300208 Farm management, rural management and agribusiness
Socio-Economic Objectives (2008): B Economic Development > 83 Animal Production and Animal Primary Products > 8304 Pasture, Browse and Fodder Crops > 830403 Native and Residual Pastures
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