Samantha Flight1, Lydia Turner1, Symon Jones1, Lesley Irvine1

1Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania, Cradle Coast Campus, Burnie, Australia

Corresponding author: Samantha Flight;



The Tasmanian dairy industry is predominantly pasture-based and pasture consumption is a key driver of dairy farm profitability. Due to this, Tasmanian dairy research, development and extension has a focus on increasing the amount of pasture grown and consumed by dairy cows. At an industry level, average pasture consumption has increased from 8.5 t DM/ha to 10.6 t DM/ha over the past 10 years. Coaching is one of the extension methods used in the Tasmanian dairy industry to develop farmer skills in grazing management. Pasture coaching involves the formation of groups of 4-6 farmers by an extension officer who takes on the role of coach for the group. A pasture coaching group meets 8-10 times over a 12 month period.  An assessment of the impact of pasture coaching on grazing management skills was undertaken in 2016-17 through pre-coaching and post-coaching surveys along with one-on-one farmer interviews. Pasture coaching resulted in practice change with more people undertaking best management practices including calculating average pasture cover and cow requirements and determining leaf stage. Not only did more people implement some of these best management practices but there was also an increased frequency that these practices were undertaken throughout the course of the pasture coaching program.


Sam joined the University of Tasmania as a professional staff member in 2016 after graduating from her Bachelor of Agriculture in 2015. She has undertook a large amount of work in the extension space as part of the Dairy On PAR Project which is jointly funded by Dairy Australia and TIA, her involvement in pasture coaching groups has been part of this project. Her key areas of expertise are pasture management and extension – working with farmer groups to help improve farmer profitability.


Douridas, A.1, Bruynis, C.1, Hawkins, E. 1, Badertscher, B. 1, Barker, J. 1, Bennett, A. 1, Brown, B. 1, Clevenger, B. 1, Colley, T. 1, Custer, S. 1, Dellinger, W. 1, Estadt, M. 1, Ford, K. 1, Fulton, J. 1, Griffith, M. 1, Hartschuh, J. 1, Leeds, R. 1, Lentz, E. 1, Martin, C. 1, Nye, T. 1, Richer, E. 1, Ruff, G. 1, Penrose, C. 1, Schoenhals, J. 2, Stachler, J. 1, Zoller, C. 1,

1Ohio State University Extension




Ohio State University Extension has a long standing tradition of using on-farm research to enhance education through collaboration with farmers. Recently, to address the need for improved communication and sharing of research results, a team of Extension educators and researchers came together to formalize an on-farm research network. The program, eFields: Connecting Science to Fields, aims to be the premier source of research-based information in the age of digital agriculture. The program began in 2017 with 39 field-scale trials including high speed planting, corn and soybean seeding rate trials, corn nitrogen trials, and side dressing corn with manure using a drag hose.  In 2018, over 100 trials were conducted in 23 counties. Analysis was expanded to include the economics of seeding rate, nitrogen rate and nitrogen timing studies to help farmers improve input decision making. Research results are reported in an annual publication that is available as a printed book and an electronic version at Implementation of results from the seeding rate trials alone on corn and soybean acreage across Ohio has the potential to generate $1 million USD in savings for farm managers.


Amanda Douridas currently serves as the Agriculture and Natural Resources Extension Educator in Champaign County where she focuses programs and research on farm management and agronomy. Champaign County is located in west central Ohio, USA and is primarily an agricultural county. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, 190,000 acres are in farmland and the market value of agricultural products sold is around $130,414,000. 873 farms average 218 acres. The average value of products sold per farm is $149,386 and the average net farm income is $56,258. Douridas received her B.S. and M.S. from The Ohio State University.


Victoria Westbrooke1, David Gray2 and Elizabeth Kemp2

1Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University, Lincoln 7647, New Zealand

2School of Agriculture and Environment, College of Sciences, Massey University, Private Bag 11222, Palmerston North



New farm consultants can be expensive to train, both financially and in terms of the time required. The aim for new consultants is to develop a ‘full book’ of clients to become economically viable as quickly as possible. While research into farm consultancy processes can assist with training, trainees also need to develop expertise in farm consultancy. A case study of a consultant with four years’ experience was conducted to gather information on the training of farm consultants. This paper reports on the consultants development of professional expertise and a‘full book’ of clients.

The study found that there was an emphasis on ‘learning-by-doing’. Developing expertise involved progressing from simpler to more complex problems and farming systems. This occurred while moving from supervised work to working with farmer groups and project work, before working independently with clients. The reputation of both the consultancy firm and the trainee and the trainee’s social capital, within and outside the firm, were critical to building a client base. This study has made explicit the process of developing professional expertise, including key factors in building a client base, which maybe valuable for other trainee farm consultants and their firms.


Dr Westbrooke has a background in farm consultancy and currently teaches farm management to both undergraduate and post-graduate students at the Faculty of Agribusiness and Commerce, Lincoln University. Her academic interests range from farming systems and the effects of farm scale to evaluation and extension.


Mandy Bowling

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association, Launceston, Tasmania, Australia  



Being an island state, Tasmania is free of many pests and diseases. There is, however, an increased risk of pests and diseases entering into Tasmania as tourism and trade continue to increase. Implementing farm biosecurity practices is therefore more important than ever to ensure Tasmanian farmers and produce are protected from pests and diseases.

To gain an understanding of the current attitudes and uptake of farm biosecurity in Tasmania, a short pilot survey was conducted. The survey was conducted both online and at Agfest 2018 (Tasmanian agricultural field day) by the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association. Questions asked included:

  • Do you currently have a biosecurity plan?
  • On a scale of 1 to 5, how would you rate your on-farm biosecurity knowledge? (1 being no knowledge and 5 being very knowledgeable)
  • How much do you agree with the following statement: Farm biosecurity is important (Strongly agree, agree, neither agree nor disagree, disagree, strongly disagree)

A total of 44 participants responded to the survey, with 18 at Agfest and 26 online respondents. Responses were counted and collated and a percentage calculated. Upon analysis, 45.2% producers responded that they have a biosecurity plan in place, while 54.8% did not. When asked to rate their knowledge of farm biosecurity from 1 to 5, the majority rated themselves at 3 and 4, with 22.5% and 37.5% respectively. The majority of respondents also rated biosecurity importance highly, with 53.5% strongly agreeing with the statement that farm biosecurity is important, while 11.6% strongly disagreed that it is important.

Overall, there was some variation in farmer biosecurity uptake, knowledge and perceived importance. Variation between producers is not surprising, with previous research identifying four different producer farm biosecurity groups ranging from those with high farm biosecurity to low. Attitudes and farm biosecurity uptake in Tasmania also seem to be varied and understanding the reasons why some producers are not actively undertaking farm biosecurity is vital to improving farm biosecurity. From these results it could be assumed that to help producers implement farm biosecurity, it may be more of a case of demonstrating how rather than why, with producers already believing it is important.

It is important to note, that the results of the survey may be swayed towards producers that believe farm biosecurity is important. This survey was a voluntary survey and it is likely that those who already believe farm biosecurity is important would want to participate over those that are not interested. As a result of this, the numbers of producers with farm biosecurity plans may be even lower in the general population, as well as the rating of farm biosecurity knowledge and importance. A more detailed understanding of attitudes of farmers through a more comprehensive survey is needed. It is also important to gain an understanding of differences between small land holders and commercial farmers as well as between farming enterprises. This can then be used to improve farm biosecurity uptake on farms and protect Tasmanian agriculture from pests and diseases.


Mandy is a Farm Biosecurity Officer with the Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association (TFGA). She completed a Bachelor of Animal Science (Honours) in Adelaide, South Australia and is in the progress of completeing a PhD. TFGA is working closely with Biosecurity Tasmania on a Farm Biosecurity Engagement Project funded by the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment (DPIPWE). The project aims to improve farm biosecurity knowledge and uptake in Tasmanian farmers, regular on farm visitors and the wider community.


W.A. Lombard1, J.H. Van Zyl2 & T.R. Beelders3

1Lecturer, Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State

2Senior Lecturer, Centre for Development Support, University of the Free State

3Associate Professor, Department of Computer Science and Informatics, University of the Free State



The consumption of beef and mutton products amongst South African consumers are expected to steadily increase in the near future. Across the world consumers are consuming diets that are higher in protein and the red meat industry is changing from being a production-led to a consumer-driven industry. To meet the needs of red meat consumers, retailers and producers should stay up to date with the changes in their consumers’ demands. The aim of this study was to determine red meat consumers’ preferences in the Mangaung metropolitan municipality of the Free State province of South Africa. In total, 350 consumers were interviewed by making use of a convenience sampling technique at eight different locations across the metropolitan area. A semi-structured questionnaire was used to determine consumers’ preferences. From the results it was found that consumers have specific requirements with regard to the red meat products they purchase. Price was found to be the most important self-reported aspect of red meat products by consumers in the study. In terms of the physical appearance of packaged meat, consumers showed a clear preference toward bright red meat with the neatness of the cuts and the fat on the meat being slightly less important.


Dr. Willem Abraham Lombard is the lecturer in the Department of Agricultural Economics, University of the Free State, South Africa.


Phil McKenzie

Change for Good Consulting, Wellington, New Zealand



Whether it is for policy, strategy, developing resilience or extension there is a need to engage effectively with the farmers we work with, and often the communities that support them. The purpose of this paper is to outline and discuss an approach that puts farmers at the positive centre of the process, and  begins with what is working well and generates new ideas from this positivity. The engagement uses a process known as Appreciative Inquiry which is both a philosophical approach and a practical tool.  It approaches challenges from a positive mindset, building on what is working well, rather than a deficit approach of starting where something is broken. It draws out ideas as a proactive inquiry rather than a presentation of existing findings. This proactive engagement of farmers helps bring forward the diverse complexities and interrelationships that all need to align for successful extension or any other interaction to take place. An example is given of an on-farm Appreciative Inquiry workshop. The approach works best in a group where the participants can leverage off each other’s ideas and energy, and works most effectively for complex issues where the solution may not be obvious or easy.


Phil is Wellington / Wairarapa based with a deep farm systems knowledge gained from working and learning in many farming regions, in New Zealand and overseas. He is an independent agribusiness consultant, focused on engaging farmers and communities globally in positive conversations and design. The purpose is to enable them to tweak their systems, so they remain profitable, environmentally sustainable, and, feel loved for what they do.


Madeline M. Schultz¹, Lisa F. Scarbrough², Lorilee J. Schultz³

¹Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

²Iowa State University Extension and Outreach

³Mil-R-Mor Dairy Farm Manager



Women have significant employment, management and ownership on Iowa farms.  Farmwomen are willing to take on influential roles with education, research-based information and support. There is a critical need for education directed specifically to this group. The Iowa State University Extension and Outreach farm management team invested in 20 multi-session courses reaching 310 farm women in 2018. A logic model links investment in educational programs to resulting outcomes. Program evaluation demonstrates the ISU Extension farm management team has important roles in extending knowledge and empowering women. Transformational learning leads to improved farm profitability, new conservation practices adopted, and stronger networks among the community of women in agriculture. By improving agricultural sustainability, women in the industry are key stakeholders in the production of safe, accessible, and plentiful food.


Madeline Schultz is a program manager with the Iowa State University Department of Economics, member of the ISU Extension and Outreach farm management team, and co-leader of the ISU Extension and Outreach Women in Ag program. Madeline works to develop educational programs, increase connections among women in agriculture, build the professional capacity of educators, and steward funding in order to help women improve their lives and contribute to national food security. Madeline also coordinates Iowa’s Annie’s Project courses. She contributed leadership to Annie’s Project nationally from 2008-15. Madeline began her career with ISU Extension and Outreach in 2003. She earned bachelor degrees in agribusiness and economics and a master’s degree in business administration with an interest in sustainable agriculture from Iowa State.


Kapil Arora1, Kelvin Leibold1, Daniel Andersen1

1Iowa State University Extension & Outreach, Ames

Corresponding Author: Kelvin Leibold,



Manure application costs were evaluated for tank wagon applicators (TWA) and drag line applicators (DLA) for transport distance increments of 1.6, 3.2, 4.8, 6.4, and 8.0 km. Certain fixed and variable costs were analyzed for three application rates of 37,416, 46,770, and 56,124 liters per hectare to calculate the total operating costs. Increase in transport distance caused the variable cost to increase for both transport methods leading to increase in total operating costs, although the increase was stair-stepped in case of DLA system mainly due to addition of booster pump, fuel, and an employee at 3.2 km and 6.4 km transport distance. Increase in application rate caused the TWA system cost to drop more than the DLA system at any given distance mainly due to the variable cost being higher for the TWA system. Overall, the total operating costs were lower for the DLA system when compared to the TWA system for the three corresponding manure application rates. Data presented in this paper is a partial analysis of the total costs as it only considers transport and application costs, and does not include several additional incidental costs.


Kapil Arora is a Field Agricultural Engineer for over 15 years and Kelvin Leibold is a Farm Management Field Specialist for over 30 years with Iowa State University in the Department of Extension and Outreach. Kapil Arora holds a Master and a Ph. D. in Agricultural Engineering from Iowa State University and has worked on various issues on manure management including manure distribution. Kelvin Leibold holds a Masters in Farm Management from Iowa State University. Kelvin has authored various papers and articles on farm management topics and is part of the Ag Decision Maker Website at Iowa State University. He has previously authored cost analysis of manure value in the past years. Both presenters will be available at the meeting to make the presentation.


Alison Hall1, Lydia Turner1 and Sue Kilpatrick2

1Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture, University of Tasmania, Mooreville Road, Burnie, Tasmania 7320

2Faculty of Education, University of Tasmania, Launceston, Tasmania 7250

Corresponding Author: Alison Hall. Email:



Improving pasture utilisation on Tasmanian dairy farms is a key focus of research, development and extension programs, through increasing farmer awareness, knowledge and use of best practice pasture management practices. Recommended practices include using pasture management tools to provide objective information about pasture quantity, increasing control, flexibility and accuracy around pasture management decisions. A survey of 162 Tasmanian dairy farmers found large variation in tool use, and investigated the relationship between current tool use and key grazing management decisions. Key decisions include assessing pasture quantity (pre-grazing cover), grazing intensity (post-grazing residual), determining rotation length, and determining the level of non-pasture, supplementary feed required. There was a significant relationship between currently measuring pasture and using that information to assess pre and post-grazing cover, and decisions on rotation length (P<0.05). The relationship between currently measuring pasture and using that information to make decisions on supplement feeding was not significant. Using pasture measurement data can assist in increased accuracy in supplement allocation, with inaccurate allocation resulting in potential over-feeding, substitution of supplement for pasture, reduced pasture regrowth, quality and utilisation. Extension can increase farmer knowledge and understanding of how pasture measurement data can be used to make more informed grazing decisions, and subsequent increase pasture utilization, milk production and farm profitability.


Alison Hall is recently completed her PhD with the Tasmanian Institute of Agriculture (TIA), based at the University of Tasmania. Alison’s PhD set out to investigate what pasture management tools and technology are currently being used on Tasmanian dairy farms; to understand what factors have driven the decision making behind tool and technology use and implementation, and to understand what factors influence engagement with extension activities. Prior to commencing her PhD, Alison worked as a Dairy Industry Extension and Development Officer for four years with TIA, developing an interest in pasture management, business management, farmer decision making and social research.


Eva Schröer-Merker, Alison Bailey, Thomas Perrier, Ani Kartikasari, Jacob Kambuta, Kevin Old

Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Lincoln University, Lincoln, New Zealand



The Agricultural Knowledge and Innovation System (AKIS) is a concept that describes the different organisations and individuals involved in the process of innovation adoption and their links. Organisations are seen as the traditional source of advice, and historically, this was led by government institutions. In developed economies, disengagement of government in terms of information and advice provision has led to a rise in the privatisation of the service leading to a complex set of interrelationships.

The aim of this project was to provide recommendations for improving the performance and effectiveness of advisory services in strengthening the knowledge flows between science, in its widest context and practice, and the farming community, and with particular emphasis on the needs of the farmer.

This was achieved via consultation with the farming community through a series of sector-specific focus groups and a subsequent questionnaire survey.

The study found that farmers make decisions on the basis of a continuum of awareness creation through careful consideration and onto adoption/implementation. The types of information that farmers are looking for relate to three areas: business, operational, and compliance. The best way to facilitate the flow of information is through a farmer’s professional and social networks.


Eva is a Senior Tutor and Course Coordinator in Farm & Agribusiness Management at Massey University, New Zealand. Until its conclusion in 2017, Eva was also leading the ‘Farm Tools’ project for the Centre of Excellence in Farm Business Management (CEFBM), keeping up to date with farm tools and apps and speaking at events about the future of farming in view of technology.Before joining Massey, Eva headed up the International Farm Comparison Network’s (IFCN) Dairy Sector Analysis team at the Dairy Research Centre in Kiel, Germany. Eva has a Master of Science (Agribusiness) from Georg-August-University in Göttingen, Germany, which she passed with distinction.Coming from a mixed dairy, beef and cropping farm in Germany, Eva has deep roots in agriculture and is passionate about providing applied science and hands on advice to the sector.


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