An interactive ‘decision wizard’ app will support farmers in making better decisions, initially focusing on five real-life on-farm scenarios applicable to farmers in Victoria.
The app will be a practical online resource for farmers to use and the research behind the app will build knowledge about how decisions are made, further enhancing the capability of decision-making tools.
The Food Agility research project is a collaboration with Federation University, Marcus Oldham College and Southern Farming Systems. Associate Professor Peter Dahlhaus, from Federation University’s Centre for eResearch and Digital Innovation is leading the project looking at the factors that influence on-farm operational decisions.
“Every day, farmers are making business decisions that affect the productivity and profitability of their enterprise. They base these decisions around historical knowledge, data, agronomic advice, as well as intuition, beliefs, and values.
In this project we’re looking at how we can analyse this information to guide and support farmers to not only make a good decision but the right decision. Research has shown the main difference between highly profitable farmers and the rest of the industry is their ability to make the right decision at the right time.”
Lisa Miller is a Research and Project Coordinator for Southern Farming Systems Group, a farmer driven organisation undertaking practical research for farms in higher rainfall areas, and the agricultural partner in the project.
“Whether trying to decide should I lime the paddock, renovate a pasture, cut a crop for hay, or any other number of on-farm considerations, it’s not always clear what is the right path. The critical information to make the decision may not be easily accessible, isn’t obvious or the amount of information to consider can be overwhelming. And that’s true for any business.
We see real value in piloting a project like this that can become a practical easy-to-use online resource for supporting our farmers through that decisions-making process,” said Ms Miller.
“This is a project based on data and decision science, with practical outcomes. Farmers will be able to make sound decisions that they understand, by being able to access the easy-to-use online Decision Wizard app,” said Associate Professor Dahlhaus.
The project is the first of many that will form Food Agility’s new ‘Better Data for Better Decisions’ research program led by Federation University. The program will develop a set of cutting-edge projects that solve data challenges for the agriculture and food sectors to enable better business outcomes.