Identifying new insights into rice growers’ water productivity techniques and approaches.

Situation:

Rice Extension supports the adoption of innovation and research and development outcomes in the Australian rice industry.

Improving water use productivity involves producing higher yields using less water, that is producing more tonnes of rice per ML of water, which is one of the significant drivers of rice industry performance.

Rice Extension engaged Chase Consulting Group to conduct its survey with its rice growers to identify new insights into grower’s water productivity techniques and approaches.

Approach:

Chase designed the grower survey to help Rice Extension understand how rice growers are improving water use productivity in the rice industry.

The survey approach was designed to achieve a very high response rate and to ensure equitable grower representation across the four rice growing regions; Murrumbidgee, Coleambally, and the East and West Murray Valleys.

It was important to all stakeholders that grower confidentiality was maintained throughout the survey process with the results amalgamated within the regions.

The survey researched a number of water productivity factors including:

  • Approaches for improving water use productivity;

  • Crop management practices that maximise yield;

  • Practices to reduce rice crop water use; and

  • Growers communication needs.

The survey results and insights were summarised into a suite of performance-centric scorecards that measured practices, performance outcomes and sentiment. Also, the grower survey included a range of geographic variables against which the results are analysed.

Results:

The rice grower survey’s results and insights have enabled Rice Extension to understand better the practices growers are using to improve water use productivity in rice growing.

The results provided useful information for researchers and extension who are planning future work.

 
Our survey highlights how rice growers are improving water efficiencies and achieving higher yields.
These insights are integral to the Rice Extension Team’s future work planning and provided valuable information for industry researchers.
The team at Chase are excellent to work with – they led us through the survey process from design, implementation and analysis to ensure we uncovered the grower insights we needed.
— Gae Plunkett – Extension Coordinator, Rice Extension
 

The public release of the 2018 survey results can be found in the Rice Extension Newsletter August Newsletter.
https://riceextension.org.au/documents/2018/7/9/rice-extension-newsletter-august-2018-re4sd