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Strategic Research & Development Plan 2012-17

Evaluating progress

Throughout the life of this Strategic R&D Plan, the GRDC will measure, evaluate and report on the progress being made in achieving the aspirational and intermediate outcomes of each of the six investment themes. The frequency of evaluation will match the rate of practice change. Results will be used to alter the investment mix where required, and to make improvements in the management of RD&E investments in order to achieve the outcomes as effectively and efficiently as possible.

The GRDC has developed a ‘monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement (MERI)’ plan for each theme. Each plan includes a set of key evaluation questions that, when tested, will enable the Board and GRDC stakeholders to assess the progress made in relation to the theme. For each question, the plan identifies performance indicators and sources of data that will underpin the evaluation.

Table 5 provides examples.

Table 5

Examples of questions, indicators and data sources used in monitoring, evaluation, reporting and improvement plans

Theme and intermediate outcome Key evaluation question Indicators Sources of data
3 Protecting your crop

Cost-effective management of weeds
Are new, cost-effective control methods for weeds, including new chemistries and non-chemical control tactics, being delivered to the industry?
  • Number, type and cost-effectiveness of new control methods approved and available.
  • Level of adoption of new methods.
  • Changes in effectiveness of weed management and in savings and profit achieved.
Australian Pesticides and Veterinary Medicines Authority approvals of new control products.

Changes in types, amounts and costs of active ingredients, dollar cost, being used by the industry, based on market survey data.

Grower/adviser survey data on use and effectiveness of control methods, adoption of integrated weed management techniques, and returns on investment in new methods.

Changes in cost of weed control.
5 Improving your farm resource base

Understanding and adapting to climate variability
Are growers and advisers using seasonal forecasts, local climate data and decision tools to predict and plan likely crop and farm performance and in their tactical (seasonal) decisions?
  • Awareness of potential impacts of climate variability.
  • Use of seasonal forecasts and decision tools to manage effects of climate variability.
Grower/adviser/group surveys of awareness and use of weather forecasts and tools.

Data from website hits and downloads (for example from the Climate Kelpie and Yield Prophet websites).

Availability of collated climate data (rainfall, degree days, frost risk) from local stations on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Survey data on use by growers/advisers of contingency plans and tactics; risk management tools (insurance, forward selling, off-farm income, risk profiling); and risk assessments by banks and other rural lenders.

Use of opportunity strategies shown by survey and by change in regional mix of crop types recorded at receival points.

The ongoing evaluation of progress in achieving the outcomes of this strategic plan will be informed and complemented by the regular process of reviewing performance against specific yearly targets, as defined in the annual operational plan and reported against in the annual report, growers’ report and other GRDC publications.

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