Soil biology has ranked as the most interesting topic in sustainable agriculture, according to a recent survey by the South West Catchments Council (SWCC).
The survey was sent to SWCC’s sustainable agriculture contacts, made up of project partners and people that have attended SWCC-funded events held over the past 15 months. A total of 57 people responded, including 23 farmers (Figure 1) from different industries representative of the South West farming community (Figure 2).
The survey sampled interest in 16 sustainable agriculture topics (Figure 3). While there was variation between the high rainfall zone (Figure 4) and broad-acre cropping zone (Figure 5), soil biology came out on top overall, with 93% of respondents showing some interest.
Respondents were also very interested in perennial plants, grazing management and maintaining soil moisture across both regions, while making compost was also popular in the high rainfall zone. Overall, the response indicates a real passion for sustainable agriculture within the community.
Unfortunately the survey didn’t provide detail on what aspects about perennial plants and grazing management were of most interest to respondents, so SWCC has set up a new (shorter) survey to get more guidance on these topics. There is also room to comment on other aspects of the survey results. The new survey can be accessed at: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/5WNKMKP.
And for the facilitators out there, the most preferred extension method is still on-farm demonstrations (by a country mile), with small discussion groups, farmer case studies and seminars also popular. The preferred design for extension events in the broad-acre zone was to hold events in February/March or July-September, with mornings coming in ahead of afternoons as the preferred time of day. For the high rainfall zone, there was an even spread across months from April to October, but don’t discount February, with mid-morning to mid-afternoon preferred.
Thanks to all who responded. Your feedback is highly valued and appreciated by SWCC and we will be sure to consider these results as we plan future events.