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Barriers and measures to improve adoption of irrigation technologies: A case study from the Bundaberg region in Queensland, Australia*
journal contributionposted on 19.10.2021, 00:00 authored by Richard KoechRichard Koech, Michelle Haase, Bree Grima, Benjamin TaylorBenjamin Taylor
Australia is the driest continent and is largely reliant on irrigation for efficient agricultural production. Irrigation uses significant volumes of water, and in recent decades many initiatives have been undertaken to improve efficiencies of irrigation systems and management practices. This paper analyses the perceptions and barriers to adoption of irrigation technologies and management practices in agriculture based on a field study undertaken in the Bundaberg region in Queensland, Australia. Overall, most farmers surveyed rated the efficiency of their irrigation systems very highly; nonetheless, more than half the farmers surveyed recognized that their systems and practices had the potential for further improvement through automation. Financial constraints and uncertainty around the economic viability of investing in certain agricultural technologies emerged as major barriers to adoption of available and emerging technologies that could improve irrigation efficiency. This is occasioned by insufficient evidence of the benefits of adopting these innovations. Issues suggested by the respondents for further extension, development and research align closely to known barriers to adoption of agricultural innovations. A key finding and recommendation of this study is that farm-specific cost–benefit analyses of new irrigation technologies and practices are required to facilitate the decision-making process for the improvement of irrigation efficiency.