Over 7000 people engaged with the MPCN Northern Region program in 2012 – 2015. The More Profit for Crop Nutrition (MPCN) program aimed to improve returns from fertiliser. The program funded research and extension on soil and crop nutrition. The e-Extension and Training projects integrated the latest advice. Growers and advisors had options to get involved in a range of ways.
We wanted to get the latest research to the right people. We needed to do so at the right time, in the right way. Here’s what we learnt:
- Growers and advisors need similar information. But they want it in different forms. Advisors prefer scientific principles that apply across soil types and regions. Growers want to know what will work on their farm. They focus on costs, logistics, and risks. Growers prefer to learn in the paddock, not the classroom.
- Go local. Understand local issues. Use data and case studies from the region. Build trust by working with advisors and growers who’ve gained local respect.
- Be clear. Distill complex content. Avoid inconsistent messages. Offer a rule of thumb if it’s useful. Refer to detailed background material, but limit the number of sources.
- Make it easy for your audience. ExtensionAUS teamed-up with MPCN to extend results and key learnings. With tweets, facebook, web posts and short videos, growers get 24-hour access to reliable information. Webinars and videos are in favour at the moment.
- Reduce the time demands. Growers and advisors are busy people. Advisors choose the workshops they go to with care.
- Deliver at the right time. Strategic concepts work best at slow times of the growing season. Deliver time sensitive messages when they are needed.
This post is a summary of a paper published in the Rural Extension & Innovation Systems Journal. Authors Kaara Klepper, Howard Cox, Chris Dowling and Julie White are all part of our ExtensionAUS Crop Nutrition group. Read the paper: Utilising learning theory to focus nutrition extension activity.