Topic: Changing knowledge networks in farming: digi-grasping for environmental management outcomes in agriculture
Keywords: Digitalisation; Agricultural innovation systems; Digi-grasping; nutrient management; Digiscape
Agriculture is a sector in which digitalisation, it is often argued, will provide the next round of productivity gains, increase yields, efficiency and sustainability. However, there are likely to be broader implications arising from the digitalisation of agricultural innovation systems (AIS). Agricultural knowledge and advice networks are important components of AIS that are particularly susceptible to digital disruption. In this paper we look to review the current state and trends within agricultural knowledge and advice networks in Australia and the anticipated effects of digitalisation on those networks. Then, drawing on a qualitative case study of local farmer cooperation with advisors, industry bodies and scientists in Australia’s Wet Tropics, we explore how digital technologies are being deployed in these networks to address nutrient runoff and crop health in sugarcane production.
By analysing in-depth interviews with participants in this local collaboration we explore the challenges and opportunities of digitalisation through the concept of ‘digi-grasping’ (Dufva and Dufva, In press). Acknowledging both the digital and the embodied being, digi-grasping recognises that human and non-human actors are in constant communication with each other to various extents (Dufva and Dufva, In press). By exploring stakeholder perspectives of digital technologies, real-world examples are provided of various modes of human being and doing in the digital world. From ‘the everyday mystery of the digital world’, through ‘awareness’ of digitality, digitally ‘empowered being/s’, and ‘transformation’ of human imagination and ways of ‘knowing other than rational thinking’ (Dufva and Dufva, In press).