Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Farm business management
13 fArm businEss mAnAGEmEnt Ground covEr mAnAGEmEnt tools oVeR THe yeaRs at least 68 computer-based tools have been developed to support decision- making in the australian grains industry. To establish a future investment strategy for decision- support tools, the gRdC commissioned a desktop study to identify which tools are available and being used to support decision-making. Computer-based tools have been created to support decision-making in relation to climate variability, available water, irrigation scheduling, management of weeds, pests and diseases, variety selection, rotations and mix of enterprises. The tools were classified into four categories and those still supported can be accessed via the gRdC website (www.grdc.com.au/tools). 1simple decision tools that provide novel information (rainfall likelihood, variety guides, disease risk) or useful calculations (for example, stored soil water, yield potential, fertiliser requirements, irrigation schedules) to support decision-making by users – 35 tools. 2complex decision tools that integrate many factors and provide ‘what if’ or sensitivity analyses, informing users of the likely consequences of farm management actions that are stipulated by the user – 23 tools. 3more complex research tools that provide understanding and insights into farming systems and their management – eight tools. 4data tools that provide useful data encapsulated in climate and soil databases – two tools. of the 58 identified ‘decision tools’ in the first two categories, 17 (29 per cent) are no longer in use or supported and a further five (nine per cent) are in limited use but no longer supported. of the tools in the first two categories, seven (12 per cent) were under development or were being upgraded at the end of 2010, when the study was completed. interestingly, of the climate-related tools identified in a previous study in 1999, all except one are still in use. computer tools for better decisions an audit of decision-support tools will help the grDc focus future investment By russell muchow These findings indicate: n a crowded marketplace with a high attrition rate; n tools are still being developed; and n many tools have a long life of use and experience. Thirty grower groups were surveyed on their use of decision-support tools and it was consistently found that, generally, use was very low, although some specific tools were used by 11 to 25 per cent of respondents. issues constraining the use of these tools included: support, relevance and value, cost and funding of these tools. it was often felt there were too many to choose from, many tools were unsupported and that delivery was best facilitated using consultants. The study concluded that the gRdC should continue to invest in computer-based decision- tools must hElP mAKE morE informEd mAnAGEmEnt dEcisions thAt ArE rElEvAnt to thE nEEds of GrowErs.
GC Supplement - International collaboration
GC Supplement - Capacity building