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This project is now completed.

The People Involved

Final Report

Project Aims

  1. Generate information of value to farmers, research organisations and policy makers regarding:
    * the appropriate role and usage of sustainability indicators on and off-farm;
    * economic values of sustainability-related research;
    * impacts of govt policies on agricultural sustainability.
  2. Develop simple decision aids for farmers on sustainability-related management problems.
  3. Enhance knowledge and understanding of the interaction between sustainability and economics among farmers, extension staff, scientists, science funders and policy makers.

Project Summary

Advice to farmers on sustainability issues often neglects economic considerations. Sustainability indicators have a high profile, but they are little used in practice and there has been little attempt to integrate them with the realities of managing a farm business. There is potential for substantial benefit from better integrated management advice and research.

Methods: This project has a strong integrative focus, bringing together several sustainability issues and considering their biological and economic implications at the whole-farm level. The issues being considered are soil salinisation, soil acidification, herbicide resistance, farmer adoption of sustainable practices and the economics of monitoring sustainability indicators. We will adapt existing computer models such as MIDAS and develop new models as required. The project includes a comprehensive and innovative communication and implementation strategy.

Outcomes/Benefits: Principles for the selection and practical application of sustainability indicators. Identification and promotion of farming practices which are both economic and sustainable, and improved prioritisation of sustainability-related research by GRDC and others. Improved effectiveness of professionals (both in research and extension) due to improved understanding of the problem from farmer's perspective. Provide a model/framework for application in other states and regions. Broad community benefits through improved environmental quality.

Keywords: Sustainability, Economics, Modelling, Salinity, Wheatbelt, Farming Systems
University of Western Australia, Agricultural and Resource Economics, Crawley (Perth) 6009 Australia
Project Supervisor:
David Pannell
Associate Professor/Principle Research Fellow
Commencement Date:
01-Aug-97 Completion Date: 30-Sep-02

The SEA Project acknowledges support from

Grains Research and
Development Corporation

Copyright David J. Pannell, 1998-2003
Last revised: June 16, 2013.