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Developing answers and learning in extension for dryland nitrogen management

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Lawrence, D., Cawley, S.T. and Hayman, P.T. (2000) Developing answers and learning in extension for dryland nitrogen management. Australian Journal of Experimental Agriculture, 40 (4). pp. 527-539.


Article Link: https://doi.org/10.1071/EA99147

Publisher URL: https://www.publish.csiro.au/paper/EA99147


The complexity of nitrogen management appeared to be stifling farmers’ ability to apply advances in scientific understanding of nitrogen processes. Concerns about the impact of traditional ‘transfer of technology’ approaches led to the development of the Nitrogen in ‘95/96 workshop series, grounded in the concepts of experiential learning, action learning and adult learning. Nitrogen in ‘95/96 aimed to help people ‘navigate’ the available information on nitrogen, and through their personal experiences, transform this information into practical knowledge for use on their own farms. The series of workshops helped small groups of farmers understand the nitrogen cycle, use nitrogen budgets to interpret soil tests from their paddocks and develop recommendations for their own conditions. Planned evaluations demonstrated the impact of the process with 98% of respondents believing Nitrogen in ’95/96 helped them better understand nitrogen and 86% believing the process helped them make nutrition decisions. Comparison of participants’ initial fertiliser intentions and actual practices confirmed that they put their new learning into practice. Nitrogen in ‘95/96 presented a transparent simplification of reality, which is needed if any model is to be of any use as a framework for thinking about reality. This simplicity and transparency helped establish useful dialogue between farmers and scientists, and highlighted the potential contribution of learning concepts to agricultural research and extension in Australia.

Item Type:Article
Business groups:Crop and Food Science
Additional Information:Reproduced with permission from © CSIRO Publishing. Access to published version is available via Publisher’s website.
Keywords:decision making, evaluation, experiential learning, extension, nitrogen budgets, nitrogen fertiliser use, model transparency.
Live Archive:09 Dec 2021 02:23
Last Modified:29 Aug 2023 06:52

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