Social Factors Influencing Technology Adoption in the Rice Industry


The rice industry has engaged in a number of change initiatives involving technologies aimed at increasing onfarm production efficiency, water use efficiency and environmental management. While profitability is recognised as a key driver of change for rice growers, social factors, ranging from growers’ existing knowledge networks to the broader policy environment which influence their practices, can also act as significant barriers to, or enablers of, technology adoption. The major objective of this project is to investigate the social factors that influence technology adoption by rice growers across a number of examples including (but not limited to): new rice varieties; precision farming; electronic communication, and biosecurity practices. In doing so, the project will specifically focus on exploring the following areas: 1) why some growers adopt changes in technology quickly while others are late or nonadopters; 2) the key factors that will enable further technology adoption across the industry; and 3) the most effective ways to disseminate information on technology to growers so that it is communicated in a form that growers want and can be acted upon quickly. To achieve these objectives, indepth qualitative interviews will be conducted with growers and stakeholders across the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area (MIA) and the Murray Valley Irrigation Area (MVIA). This information will be used to identity key priorities for industry stakeholders to influence further technology adoption, as well as recommendations as to how these changes can be implemented.



Research Organisation

Charles Sturt University

Objective Summary

The main research objective is to investigate the social factors that influence technology adoption by rice growers. This is important because it assists in understanding why and how growers adopt, or do not adopt new technologies, developing priorities to increase technology adoption, as well as developing strategies to improve the communication of technological change and adoption of technology. The principal research objectives of this project are: 1. Identify specific enablers that will encourage late or nonadopters to engage in change practices (Grower level); 2. Investigate the key social drivers that will enable increased technology adoption across the rice industry (Industry level); 3. Explore communication methods that growers use to become informed of changes in the rice industry, and provide recommendations as to whether or how current communication methods are effective; and, 4. Develop a set of priorities and recommendations that RIRDC and rice industry stakeholders can implement to drive further change adoption.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Monday, September 1, 2014

Project Completion Date

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

RIC-Extension, sustainability and human capital


Related publications


Social Factors Influencing Technology Adoption in the Rice Industry