RiskWi$e at a glance:
- Grain growers face increasing levels of risk: The two main risks faced by grain growers that affect their business success are yield (impacted by weather changes) and price volatility – both are expected to become more unpredictable in the future.
- Improved understanding of risks empowers growers: With a better knowledge of risks, grain growers will be able to make decisions about on-farm management that maximise the rewards and minimise the downside risk.
- RiskWi$e is designed to help growers manage risk: RiskWi$e will use participatory action research that engages growers in the conception to implementation process to help build trust and understanding of new knowledge on risk-reward that better informs decision making on-farm.
RiskWi$e (the National Risk Management Initiative), is a 5-year national initiative of approximately $30 million that will run from 2023 to 2028. It seeks to understand and improve the risk-reward outcomes for Australian grain growers by supporting grower on-farm decision-making. To do this it will:
- Involve grain growers in the identification of on-farm decisions that have unknown components of risk-reward that will be studied to elucidate new insights.
- Develop an improved understanding of the risk-reward relationships for on-farm management decisions.
- Inform growers and their advisers of new insights into optimising rewards and managing risk.
- Challenge grower decision-making so future management decisions are evaluated in terms of the probability of upside returns offset against the associated downside risks.
Our target outcome is that 80% of grain growers can articulate their production management decisions in terms of probability of upside returns (reward) offset against the associated downside risks.
To deliver RiskWi$e, a participatory action research methodology (an approach to research that pro-actively involves members of communities affected by that research in the research itself) will be employed. The centrepiece of this will see growers and their advisers quantifying the probabilities of uncertainty of outcomes and assessing the risk-reward payoffs for specific management decisions in the context of their own farming operations.
RiskWi$e was developed in response to two primary issues. Firstly, growers in various forums including the GRDC National Grower Network highlighted that the risk associated with grain production has escalated and needs attention. Secondly, to action Objective 5 ‘Manage risk to maximise profit and minimise losses’ of the GRDC RD&E Plan (2018-23). Managing risk is also now integral to the GRDC RD&E Plan (2023-28).
RiskWi$e comprises 5 themes:
- Nitrogen (N) decisions: The nitrogen (N) decisions theme will take a whole-of-system approach to help growers assess N decision strategies encompassing fertiliser and legume use.
- Sowing decisions: The sowing decisions theme will develop long-term strategies to help determine sowing location, varietal selection and sowing timing while considering landscape, farm and paddock conditions.
- Enterprise agronomic decisions: The enterprise agronomic decisions theme will investigate crop sequence decisions from crop choice, fallow choice, soil amelioration and weed/disease management strategies.
- Enterprise financial decisions: The enterprise financial decisions theme will help with decision making related to farm economies of scale, operating costs, commodity prices and marketing, grain storage availability and labour management.
- Managing natural resource capital: The managing natural resource capital theme will help growers make decisions that support improved soil health and soil carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and non-chemical weed control.
Plus, there are two overarching bodies of work:
- Behavioural science: This work will incorporate behavioural science across all themes to understand grower behaviour change and support adoption.
- Analytics and modelling: This work will focus on participatory research tools ('flight simulators') that allow growers to explore their risky decisions and internalise an enhanced understanding of risk into their gut-feel decision-making.
RiskWi$e is made possible thanks to the involvement of all partners and was established through an investment of the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC). RiskWi$e partners include:
- Grower | Advisory | Extension groups:
- NSW: AgGrow Agronomy; Agricultural Marketing and Production Systems (AMPS); Central West Farming Systems (CWFS); FarmLink; Grain Orana Alliance (GOA); Holbrook Landcare; Irrigated Cropping Council (ICC); Irrigation Research and Extension Committee (IREC); Riverine Plains; and Southern Growers
- QLD: DAF is working with growers across different regions of Queensland covering North of Emerald, South of Emerald, Roma, St George, Goondiwindi, Meandarra and Brigalow.
- SA Central: Mid North High Rainfall Zone (MNHRZ); Murray Plains Farmers (MPF); Northern Sustainable Soils (NSS); and Upper North Farming Systems (UNFS).
- SA Western: Buckleboo Farm Improvement Group (BFIG) and EPAG Research Trust.
- Vic and SE SA: Coomandook Agriculture Bureau; Field Applied Research (FAR Australia) and Mallee Sustainable Farming (MSF)
- WA: Corrigin Farm Improvement Group; Facey Group; Mingenew Irwin Group (MIG); South-East Premium Wheat Growers Association (SEPWA); Stirlings to Coast Farmers (SCF); The Liebe Group; Western Australian No-Tillage Farmers Association (WANTFA); and West Midlands Group (WMG).
- Action research group leads:
- NSW: Charles Sturt University (CSU) – nitrogen decisions project
- QLD: Queensland Department of Agriculture and Fisheries (DAF) – nitrogen decisions project
- SA Central: Hart Field-Site Group Inc – nitrogen decisions project
- SA Western: Agricultural Innovation and Research Eyre Peninsula Inc (AIR EP) – nitrogen decisions project
- Vic and SE SA: Birchip Cropping Group (BCG) – nitrogen decisions project
- WA: Grower Group Alliance (GGA) – nitrogen decisions project and sowing decisions project.
- Research partners: Agrilink Agricultural Consultants; Barry Mudge Consulting; ICAN; Pinion Advisory; SA Drought Hub; South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI) of the Department of Primary Industries and Regions (PIRSA); Trengove Consulting; University of Melbourne; University of Queensland; and University of Western Australia.
- National project lead: CSIRO
- Principal partner: Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC).
Stay up to date with RiskWi$e news by following the hashtag #RiskWise on Twitter.
Was this page helpful?