Faced with difficult farm decisions? Help is at hand

Author: Natalie Lee | Date: 16 Jun 2016

At the core of farm management is decision making, a skill that requires discipline, practice and a process to become good at it.

To help growers and advisers improve this skill, a booklet has been published - Farm Decision MakingThe interaction of personality, farm business and risk to make more informed decisions.

Available at this link, it collates insights and experiences from the Grain & Graze program, funded by the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), and includes theory, practical examples and activities.

GRDC Western Regional Panel member Jules Alvaro says a new booklet Farm Decision Making, produced by the Grain & Graze program and the GRDC, examines the drivers behind decision making in mixed farming businesses.

GRDC Western Regional Panel member and Merredin grower Jules Alvaro, who is a Grain & Graze 3 (G&G3) farm business discussion group member, said the booklet was compiled by G&G3 coordinator Cam Nicholson, of Nicon Rural Services, with contributions from other coordinators.

Ms Alvaro said the contents of the booklet were based loosely on four concepts that the Grain & Graze program had identified as crucial for good decision making.

“One concept is around risk - many decisions relating to adjustments to enterprise mix do not consider or calculate the change to the risk profile of the business,” she said.

Ms Alvaro said the second concept was about how human nature could confound the most logical analysis and argument.

“An appreciation of how people’s values, goals, biases and personalities influence their decisions is essential for advisers to understand how to craft a message that will resonate with them,” she said.

“Thirdly, farming businesses operate within a set of basic operating principles.

“Understanding these principles is critical to ensure that advice and decisions do not jeopardise the goals and objectives of the business and that resources are allocated appropriately.

“Finally, the booklet aims to strengthen the awareness of and approaches to decision making, taking into account the other factors of risk, personalities and farm business basics.”

Ms Alvaro said the G&G3 website, which can be accessed via this link, was another source of information including a series of case studies. Advisers could also go to the website to order a resource kit with materials and facilitation notes so they could conduct short exercises with their clients.

G&G3 is the third phase of the long-term mixed farming program Grain & Graze which commenced in 2003.

Since then, there have been considerable advances in the understanding of grazing crops, how to integrate livestock and cropping on farms and the management challenges and risks of operating a complex farming system.

Contact Details

For Interviews

Jules Alvaro, Western Regional Panel
0429 141 668

Cam Nicholson, G&G3
03 5258 3860


Natalie Lee, Cox Inall Communications
08 9864 2034, 0427 189 827

GRDC Project Code SFS00028

Region West