Ground Cover Supplement : GC Supplement - Farm business management
GROUND COVER FARM BUSINESS MANAGEMENT 14 MANAGEMENT TOOLS support tools but that investment should be targeted, taking account of past successes and failures. For these tools to be successful, they must be able to assist in making more informed management decisions that are relevant to the needs of growers. Such decisions will often be associated with implementing a change of practice, leading to economic and/or environmental benefit. The outputs must be credible and the benefits gained from using the tool need to be evaluated. Perhaps most critical to successful adoption of these decision-support tools is understanding the user and providing sufficient support and education on the use of the tool. Encouraging the uptake of tools by advisers is likely to ensure the widest application of relevant tools. To achieve this uptake, tools will have to demonstrate a cost benefit and data input needs to be as simple and automated as possible. A major recommendation of the report was that the GRDC should focus investment on upgrading and improving existing tools that have a proven track record in adding value to decision-making. The potential yield calculator PYCAL, a relatively simple calculator, and Yield Prophet®, a more complex tool, were both identified as tools that could benefit from further investment. □ GRDC Research Code RCM00001 More information: Dr Russell Muchow, 0419 224 687, email@example.com; www.grdc.com.au/tools; www.grdc.com.au/RCM00001 How decisions are made Understanding the decision-making process was the first step in a study of the role of decision-support systems FOR MORE THAN 20 years, South Australian farm consultant Bill Long has worked with individual clients and grower groups. During this time he has advocated practice changes including no-till, controlled traffic, canopy management and the use of soil moisture data to determine crop-management decisions. However, he wanted to better understand the factors that drive people to make the decisions they make. In 2009, Bill was awarded a Grains Research Scholarship to look at the role of decision-support tools in farm business decision-making. Under the supervision of Professor Kevin Parton from the School of Business at Charles Sturt University, Bill looked at the role of these tools in the decision-making process. To start with, he wanted to better understand the decision-making process. "A survey of which tools are used and what makes a good decision-support tool really does not answer how humans make decisions. To be a good adviser, I really need to understand what the key motivators are in decision-making," Bill says. The first step in the process was a review of the literature on the use of decision-support tools. From this it soon became apparent that a study of the psychology literature on decision- making processes was required for a more complete understanding of the role of the tools. "All advisers will experience situations where the data supports the adoption of a practice change, yet a client does not heed the advice. While finance is often a limiting factor, more often it is the human element that influences the outcome." It is well documented that emotions drive decisions, as do the changing needs of individuals as they progress through their career lifecycle. "When starting out our needs and motivations regarding the use of time and creation of wealth are very different from when we have a family, have worked for 30 years or are looking at succession and retirement. "We are all influenced by this evolution whether we are growers or advisers, owner- operators, employers or employees."
GC Supplement - International collaboration
GC Supplement - Capacity building