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Title: Measuring whole-farm sustainability and profitability at a credible scale
Contributor(s): Scott, JM  (author)
Publication Date: 2003
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Abstract: There is a considerable gap between what scientists see as valid research trials and what farmers see as evidence of improved farming practices on a credible scale – especially when experiments attempt to measure such broad concepts as 'sustainability'. Research experiments have typically focused on measuring components of sustainability on relatively small areas. This research has identified those parameters which contribute to more sustainable systems but, in order for adoption to occur, the scale of measurements needs to increase. A producer-led research and adoption group on the Northern Tablelands of NSW (The Cicerone Project) is attempting to conduct valid comparisons of farmlet sustainability on ascale that is credible to farmers. By working with technical specialists, the farmlets have been designed in a way that allows valid comparisons of different management pathways to profitability and sustainability. Although the farmlets are not replicated, researchers associated with the project believe that comparisons are valid due to the careful pre-experimental classification of the land which allowed the partitioning of each farmlet into equivalent areas based on soil type, topography and fertilizer history. Since July 2000 the farmlets have been managed in quite different ways to examine hypotheses relating to the impact of level of inputs and of intensive rotational grazing systems. Measurements are being carried out on the whole farm systems including some soil and pasture measures, detailed animal performance, and economic factors as well as labour inputs. In this way, it hoped that the different trajectories of critical factors over time will inform farmers and researchers about the 'sustainability' of whole farm systems.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Agriculture for the Australian Environment, p. 291-298
Publisher: Charles Sturt University, The Johnstone Centre
Place of Publication: Albury, Australia
ISBN: 1864671386
Fields of Research (FoR) 2008: 070305 Crop and Pasture Improvement (Selection and Breeding)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Editor: Editor(s): Benjamin P. Wilson, Allan Curtis
Appears in Collections:Book Chapter

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