Video | Business Headlines | Internet | Science | Scientific Ethics | Technology | Search

 


Taking knowledge from the lab to the farm


11 November 2013


Taking knowledge from the lab to the farm


A major challenge for scientists is getting research out of the lab and into common practice. A Massey University research team, supported by Gravida: National Centre for Growth and Development, has found farmers, in particular, can be a tough crowd to convince.

In a paper “Translating Science into Action” presented as a keynote speech at last month’s Association for the Advancement of Animal Breeding and Genetics conference in Napier, Massey Professor of Animal Science Hugh Blair discussed the challenges and efforts being made to enhance learning within rural communities.

The paper reports the first set of results gleaned from two projects - an experimental farmer learning project that has been underway at Massey University since 2011 - running to 2014 - and answers from a survey of almost 1000 lamb and beef farmers done in 2012.
One of the major findings from the survey was that farmers place a high value on information obtained from other farmers, with the farmer learning project showing a similar result. The survey also found that farmers prefer to get information via print media over electronic media such as websites, and liked “normal-people notes”, that is, information written in plain language.

The three-year pilot learning project utilises farmlets at Massey University and worked with an initial group of 18 farmers, which increased to 26 in 2013. The university experts included educationalists, social scientists along with animal and pasture scientists. They shared evidence-based ideas with the farmers on how to best manage herb pastures and how that affects lamb carcass weight.

Although this is a labour-intensive method of education, the results from the survey and the Massey team’s experience showed that personal engagement with specialists and peers was the best method for transferring scientific research into the field and developing learning networks.

“The farmer learning project deliberately built responsive, respectful and trusting relationships between farmers and scientists and between farmers.”
The farmers initially started as learners, but as the project progressed, they came to see themselves “as co-learners and co-inquirers alongside the scientists. They became producers of knowledge with others, rather than consumers of researchers’ knowledge.”
This meant, attendees at the workshops in turn shared their knowledge with other farmers, creating learning networks whose influence extended to ten times as many farmers throughout the region.

The researchers concluded that “if those wishing to change farmer behaviour were better versed in how farmers learn, and what works to support their learning, then greater rates of adoption of, for example, animal breeding and genetic technologies, might occur.”

Gravida is a government-funded Centre of Research Excellence (CoRE ) that connects leading biomedical, clinical and animal scientists throughout New Zealand and globally. Gravida-funded researchers focus on how conditions encountered in early life affect the health and the way an individual grows and develops.

Gravida promotes the use of this research in the clinical, public policy and education sectors to benefit the economic and social wellbeing of all New Zealanders.


ENDS

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
 
 
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines

 

Reserve Bank: Wheeler Keeps OCR At 1.75%

Reserve Bank governor Graeme Wheeler kept the official cash rate unchanged at 1.75 percent, as expected, and reiterated his view that the benchmark rate doesn't need shifting for the foreseeable future. More>>

ALSO:

Retail: Pumpkin Patch Brand, IP Sold To Catch Group

The receivers of failed children's clothing retailer Pumpkin Patch have confirmed that the company's brand and intellectual property have been sold to Australian online retailer Catch Group. More>>

ALSO:

Oil: 2017 Block Offer Petroleum Tender Launched

New Zealand is well-placed to take advantage of the economic benefits of oil and gas exploration, Energy and Resources Minister Judith Collins announced today at the launch of the 2017 Block Offer petroleum tender. More>>

ALSO:

OECD And Zero Carbon Reports: Environmental Pressures Rising In New Zealand

New Zealanders enjoy a high environmental quality of life and access to pristine wilderness. However, New Zealand’s growth model, based largely on exploiting natural resources, is starting to show its environmental limits with increasing greenhouse gas emissions and water pollution ... More>>

ALSO:

Statistics: Record Net Annual Migration Levels Continue

In the February 2017 year, 71,300 more migrants arrived in New Zealand than left, Stats NZ said today. This equalled the previous annual record set in January 2017. More>>

Get More From Scoop

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Sci-Tech
Search Scoop  
 
 
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news