Farm Table says:
This report is by MLA in 2016 and follows the evolution and increased effectiveness of the MLA PDS “Grazing Systems for Profit” project.
It looks at the evolution from
- data collection and field days
- to a mentoring program
- focusing upon understanding adaptive capacity and managing change
- to achieve increased levels of adoption.
The original project design focused on collecting data from three local demonstration sites and communicating that data to farmers in the form of key performance indicators, at a series of field days, with the aim of providing compelling reason for farmers to change from set stocking to rotational grazing.
However, as the Grazing Systems for Profit project progressed, it became evident that whilst the field days were well attended and enthusiastic discussion demonstrated good knowledge and awareness, the process was achieving little on farm practice change
The project steering committee agreed that the focus of the project from then on would be managing change.
An adoption program was designed around a demonstration site and a mentor farm, utilizing the concepts of mentoring, group learning and understanding adaptive capacity.
It was also recognised that in past programs, the adoption of sustainable grazing practices was attributed to formal and informal training and financial capacity, with the drivers of adoption being profitability and knowledge.
The greatest outcome from this project has been an increase in the adaptive capacity of the individuals and collectively the local community.
There is much evidence to support the theory that the greater the participant interest and involvement in a project, the greater the change in participant Knowledge, Attitudes, Skills and Aspirations.
The adoption of new practice is achieved through a change in behaviour.
In conclusion, each and every member of the core group has moved from autumn to spring calving, adopted some form of rotational grazing, regularly take soil tests and apply variable rates of fertilizer to achieve critical nutrient values.