Digging into the ‘Hart’ of decision making: balancing risk and reward on farm

Digging into the ‘Hart’ of decision making: balancing risk and reward on farm

Image courtesy Sandy Kay Photography
Image courtesy Sandy Kay Photography

Balancing risk and reward on-farm is something most farmers do regularly.

Whether they stop to think about it or not, it is most likely underpinning most decisions they make every day.

‘Risk and reward’ is the theme of this year’s Hart Field Day on Tuesday, September 19, and Hart executive officer Sandy Kimber (pictured) says the group is challenging farmers to consider their own decision-making strategies.

“Farmers are balancing risk and reward all the time, sometimes without even realising it,” she said.

“Weighing downside risk with upside reward can be quite straight forward, but sometimes it’s complex, particularly as the number of variables or unknowns increase.

“At this year’s event, we’re encouraging farmers to consider their own risky decision-making strategies at all of our session topics, whether it be variety selection, time of sowing decisions, nitrogen and chemical applications and timing, or others.”

The 2023 field day focus comes on the back of the group’s involvement with a new, fiveyear GRDC national RiskWi$e project, enabling Hart to look more closely at the ‘risk and reward’ balancing act.

Sandy Kimber, Executive Officer Hart Field-Site Group
Sandy Kimber, Executive Officer Hart Field-Site Group

“From a practical sense, we’re gathering tools and resources to help farmers arm themselves with the right data to help make decisions, and then testing them in real life applications,” Sandy said.

“From a behavioural science perspective, we want to help farmers better understand their own attitudes to risk by exploring some of the psychology behind it.

“Are you a risk seeker, risk averse or more neutral? And how does it influence your decision making, and also your level of comfort with the outcome - will you feel regret or relief? “It’s quite fascinating.”

Rocky River Ag is onboard again as this year’s platinum and event sponsor, and the Hart Field Day will feature 20 rolling sessions covering a variety of topics, including:


• Export oaten hay; update on new AgriFutures-funded project and export hay market update by Johnsons.

• Managing frost risk: a zone approach to frost management and why it is important.

• Lentil agronomy and time of sowing, local research update.

• Grazing systems in mixed enterprises: Hart pasture trial results and whole-farm management.


• Powdery mildew: local resistance levels and how newer products are performing.


• Nitrogen (N) - strategic versus tactical decision; what is the difference, ‘N-bank’ approach vs seasonal in-crop decisions, the value of N testing, and what we know to help decision making.


• Snails, slugs and seasonal pest update and management strategies.


Other core sessions will include varieties (pulses, canola, wheat and barley) and herbicide tolerance, with pulse control and crop safety.

The lunch time slot has been cleared this year to enable more time for catching up with like-minded farmers, neighbours and industry representatives during the break.

The Hart Field Day will be held on Tuesday, September 19, with gates open at 9am and official opening at 10am. First sessions start at 10.30am sharp.

Admission is $45 (students $15), including access to all sessions and guest speakers, as well as a Hart Field Day Guide with articles and information from each of the sessions.

Full catering is available throughout the day (some vendors taking cash only).

The Hart trial site is 10 kilometres north of Blyth, just off the Blyth to Brinkworth Road.

Bus and group tours are welcome and are encouraged to contact organisers now.

Tickets on sale from August 28, and early purchase is encouraged. Sales will remain open online until lunchtime on the 19th, so sign up before you arrive and fast track your way through the gate.

For tickets, or for more information head to the Hart Field-Site Group website www.hartfieldsite.org.au (look for Events/Hart Field Day in the main menu), or contact Sandy Kimber on 0427 423 154, or email admin@hartfieldsite.org.au.