Heuristics, risk and uncertainty and their influence on farmers decisions to adopt technologies and strategies in Integrated Weed Management (IWM) and Nitrogen Use Efficiency (NUE) programs

This research project explores decision making in farmers - specifically those decisions influenced by intuition, gut feel, or emotive responses sometimes referred to as heuristics.

What are known as Integrated Weed Management and Nitrogen Use Efficiency programs will be used as case studies to see what influences farmers' decisions about adoption of technologies or strategies that are part of these programs.

The problem is that government and research agencies advocating these programs and developing the technologies and strategies for them are concerned that farmers are not adequately adopting them. The research question is to explore the reasons why this is the case, specifically trying to understand the role of heuristics within the framework of risk and uncertainty. So, why are farmers reluctant to adopt the potential solutions, and how is understanding farmers and what influences their decision-making important in this context? 

There has been a push recently to embrace a more participatory approach with farmers and scientific research. The idea is if farmers, scientists and other actors can be become participants early on in the problem identification and research process it will lead to more effective outcomes. A step toward improving the engagement process is understanding your audience, in this case farmers and what influences their thinking and decision-making.