11/1/17 - A study of attitudes to knowledge exchange and barriers to adoption of (including codes of practice)/technologies/best practice advice within the Northern Ireland agri-food sector

Departmental project code11/1/17
Provider project code44706
Project date03 June 2011
Project duration
1 Year
Project statusCompleted

A study of attitudes to knowledge exchange and barriers to adoption of new policies/technologies within the Northern Ireland agricultural sector
The transfer and adoption of innovations, including new policies, technologies or statutory compliance, is fundamental to the sustainability and progress of the agriculture industry.  As part of this project, a detailed survey of farmers was conducted to identify their attitudes towards knowledge exchange and barriers to adoption.  A literature review was also conducted to examine existing scientific information on knowledge exchange methods and factors affecting technology adoption.

Key recommendations

  1. Strategies for the transfer of information should seek to maximise the opportunities from the very high readership of the agricultural press.  Such strategies should include linkages to timely producer experience articles (from for example, discussion groups, farmer co-researchers, Focus Farms) reinforced with creditable financial performance and technical information.
  2. With the demonstration of the technology/practice under local conditions seen by many as an important method of improving the delivery of knowledge on new technology the use of monitor farms, Focus Farms, research farms and discussion groups should be encouraged.  
  3. With widespread use of mobile phones and increasing use of smartphones, mobile communications should be` a fundamental method of delivering knowledge and keeping in contact with producers.  The development of apps and improvements to existing websites that put information at producers’ fingertips quickly without time consuming searches need to be explored.
  4. AFBI on-farm research programmes linked with CAFRE for technology exchange have been found to be very effective in strengthening the linkages between research, technologists/advisers, producers and other stakeholders within the agri-food sector.  The development of on-farm research should be encouraged with embedded technology transferred encompassing producer, adviser and researcher experiences/findings.  
  5. To help encourage producer attendance at TT events/meetings the following was highlighted in the survey: information should be clearly provided in advertisements, postal invites, text/email messages and websites; exactly what is going to be presented on the night and by whom (outlining their experience); what are the benefits of attending; and will refreshments be provided.   Incentives, when provided, should look to be linked to a wider technology adoption/learning programmes whereby producers record extra information and make it available for research and/or attendance at further TT events/training.
  6. Participation in further education and short term training courses should be encouraged as those that had qualifications or undertaken any short courses in the last 10 years had an increased likelihood of adoption of new technologies. 

More project information

Principal investigator/researcher:

Alistair Carson, Steven Morrison, Duncan Anderson, Clare Jack

Email: Steven.Morrison@afbini.gov.uk 


  • AFBI - Agriculture, Food and Environmental Sciences Division (AFESD),
  • Sustainable Agri-Food Sciences Division (SAFSD)
Back to top