- Charles Sturt awarded $3.2 million funding for Grains Research and Development Corporation’s RiskWi$e project
- The University is leading the funded GRDC project, which will be delivered by a consortia of farming systems groups led by project partner, FarmLink Research
- The project will be completed over five years, ending in March, 2028
The Southern NSW Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (the Hub) at Charles Sturt University in Wagga Wagga has announced its second major investment in NSW farming in the past two weeks.
RiskWi$e is a national GRDC initiative involving CSIRO along with universities and grower groups around the country with the Hub, based at Charles Sturt in Wagga Wagga, collaborating with the GRDC to deliver the project in NSW.
Charles Sturt will provide project oversight and form part of the technical steering committee while project partner FarmLink Research will lead the Action Research Groups spread across the state.
RiskWi$e will develop strategies and tools to support nitrogen, sowing, agronomic, financial and natural resources capital decisions so that by 2028, 80 per cent of grain growers will be able to articulate their production management decisions in terms of probability of upside returns offset against associated risks.
The Hub Director Ms Cindy Cassidy said this participatory action research will help farmers and industry be more informed about the risks inherent in their farming practices and allow for more informed decisions based on their individual appetite for risk.
“Trials and demonstrations at the core of this project will enable researchers, growers and advisers to quantify the probability or likelihood of different outcomes (good and bad) and assess the risk-reward payoffs of their specific management decisions,” she said.
RiskWi$e comprises of five themes – nitrogen decisions, sowing decisions, enterprise agronomic decisions, enterprise financial decisions and managing natural resource capital – under two overarching bodies of work – behavioural sciences and analytics and modelling.
The research will be conducted in New South Wales, Victoria, Western Australia, South Australia and Queensland cropping zones. Nine dryland cropping trials and two irrigated cropping demonstrations of seasonal and financially risky nitrogen management strategies are underway from Walgett to Moama.
This project fits neatly into the drought and climate resilience portfolio of the SNSW Innovation Hub.
“The Hub is focussed on improving the resilience of farmers, communities and landscapes to climatic issues, like drought. Understanding and managing risk is an important tool to build resilience,” Ms Cassidy said.
“Core to the operation of the SNSW Hub is people-centred values-based engagement and project design. RiskWi$e employs a participatory approach, where members of communities affected by the research will be involved in the research itself.
“As a regional university Charles Sturt is inherently concerned with the vibrancy and resilience of our regional communities and landscapes. The potential positive impact of research, such as RiskWi$e for regional NSW, is significant and Charles Sturt is pleased to support its delivery.”
This $3.2 million in funding is in addition to the $6.23 million recently announced for The Hub to study successful strategies for managing mixed farming systems during drought.
Other organisations involved in the RiskWi$e project include AMPS Agribusiness, Grain Orana Alliance, Central West Farming Systems, Ag Grow Agronomy, Holbrook Landcare Network, Riverine Plains, Irrigation Farmers’ Network, Irrigation Research and Extension Committee and Southern Growers, led by FarmLink Research.
The study is expected to conclude in March, 2028.