Landholders’ Attitudes and Investment Intentions Regarding Deep Open Drainage in a Salinising Agricultural Landscape
In the salinising agricultural landscapes of Western Australia deep open drains are a fairly popular engineering option for salinity management. However, there is no unanimity of views between researchers and farmers, nor among farmers, about the technical, environmental and economic merit of these drains. This study documents the nature and polarity of views and investment intentions among landholders regarding these drains. A classification and regression tree (CART) analysis of landholder responses in a mail questionnaire reveals key differences between landholders with opposing investment intentions regarding DODs. The role of landholders’ perceptions about the efficacy of these drains, and the extent to which they rely on other landholders or researchers as their principal source of information about the drains, are shown to importantly influence their drainage investment decisions. Some other characteristics of landholders, such as farm size and farm location, are also found to be important determinants of their investment intentions. Farmers with drains tend to view favourably their drainage investment and, because they are a principal source of information for other farmers, further investments in these drains, whether economic or not, is very likely.
Keywords: Farmer Attitudes, Farm Management, Water Management, Agricultural Investment
Dr. Ross Kingwell
Senior Lecturer, School of Agricultural & Resource Economics, University of Western Australia