National Risk Management Initiative – Action Research Groups Eyre Peninsula

Funding Source
Funding Amount
Start Date
January 2023
Finish Date
December 2027
Project Manager
Naomi Scholz
EPAG Research, SARDI


RiskWi$e: the National Risk Management Initiative (NRMI) is a GRDC initiative extending over five years that aims to understand and improve risk-reward outcomes for Australian grain growers through participatory action research (PAR).
Explicitly the NRMI aims to:
1. develop an improved understanding of the risk-reward relationships for important on-farm management practices and decisions,
2. inform growers and their advisers of new insights into managing risks and maximising rewards, and
3. challenge grower decision-making so future management decisions are thought of in terms of probability of upside returns offset against the associated downside risks.

RiskWi$e seeks to understand and improve the risk-reward outcomes for Australian grain growers by supporting grower on-farm decision-making.

  • 5-year national initiative (2023-28)
  • GRDC investment of $30 million + in-kind contributions of $13 million
  • 26 grower/adviser/extension groups
  • 10 research partners
  • 6 action research group leads
  • National project lead (CSIRO)
  • Principal partner (GRDC)


How do we improve grower decision making – particularly for decisions that have large profit and/or sustainability implication…when the outcome is uncertain!?


80% of grain growers articulate their production management decisions in terms of probability of upside returns (reward) offset against the associated downside risks to improve the quality of on-farm decision making.


Through a structured network with a national footprint that facilitates the coming together of growers, grower groups, consultants, agribusiness, research agencies and scientists, in a process of inclusiveness for all stakeholders that affords equality to all involved.

Participatory action research:

In PAR, growers and their advisers will quantify the probabilities of uncertainty of outcomes and assess the risk-reward payoffs for given management decisions in the context of their own farming operations. At the conclusion of NRMI, a suite of extension packages and artefacts (decision support tools) will continue to inform and challenge grain growers, their consultants and advisers to consider farm management decisions as informed by probable rewards (profit $/ha) and associated probable risks (loss $/ha).


Theme working group meeting at Cummins, September 2023
Theme working group meeting at Cummins, September 2023

Eyre Peninsula project

AIR EP will lead the project and convene an EP Action Research Group (Steering Committee) to provide oversight of the project and provide a conduit to link to the NMRI Lead Project Team.

Steering Committee:

  • Bill Long (Chair), AIR EP
  • Andrew Ware, EPAG Research
  • Mark Stanley, AIR EP
  • Rachel May, SA Drought Hub
  • Naomi Scholz, AIR EP
  • Amanda Cook, SARDI
  • Symon Allen, BFIG

EPAG Research will coordinate the delivery of all project activities ensuring partners are well connected and are adding value to the project; and will convene 6 farmer led action research discussion groups across EP. These groups will meet 3 times each year to better understand the probability of outcomes and the risk-reward of implementing management options as identified in the themes.

A theme working group (TWG) will build their capacity in using a range of risk management tools and processes, and in turn provide ongoing support to the discussion groups. Working group members will work closely with a range of experts who will support the project delivery, building the capacity of the TWG to work with the discussion groups. The themes will have members of the working groups interacting with experts in the field to ensure objectives of the theme are being met in a local context. Experts to be engaged include:

  • Dr Peter Hayman, Principal Scientist in Climate Applications, SARDI
  • Barry Mudge, Mudge Consultancy Services - risk & farm business management
  • Ed Hunt, Ed Hunt Agricultural Consultancy Pty Ltd
  • Josh Hollitt, Hollitt Consulting Pty Ltd
  • Andrew Ware, EPAG Research
  • Jake Giles, EPAG Research
  • Andy Bates, Bates Ag Consulting
  • George Pedler, George Pedler Ag
  • Murray Unkovich, University of Adelaide
  • Therese McBeath, CSIRO
  • James Cant, BFIG

Theme 1: Nitrogen management

Theme 2: To be confirmed by December 2023

This project will link with the CSIRO NRMI Project Lead proposal led by Rick Llewellyn, accessing CSIRO modelling capability, systems modelling and climate change analysis. It will link with other GRDC investments occurring on EP (namely SA node of national Nitrogen cycling project, the Soil CRC/GRDC Calcareous Soils project, the Southern Region Farming Systems project) and Future Drought Fund and SA Drought Hub projects. The SA Drought Hub will support an additional component of this risk proposal, providing funds to further examine the risk-rewards associated with implementing disc seeder/stripper front systems.

Coutts JR will develop a project monitoring and evaluation plan that will ensure continuous feedback loops occur at all levels allowing the project to adapt and maximise impact.

Focus sites in 2023:

  • Todd Matthews, Cootra
  • Bruce Heddle, Minnipa
  • Nathan Little, Port Kenny
  • Kerran Glover, Lock
  • Dan Adams, Cockaleechie
  • Paul Bammann, Cleve
Lower EP discussion group session, August 2023
Lower EP discussion group session, August 2023
RiskWi$e Core Partner Logo Block A4 Footer

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