The RiskWi$e Project

The RiskWi$e Project

National Project Overview

RiskWi$e: the National Risk Management Initiative (NRMI) is a GRDC initiative extending over five years that aims to understand and improve risk-reward outcomes for Australian grain growers through participatory action research (PAR).

RiskWi$e seeks to understand and improve the risk-reward outcomes for Australian grain growers by supporting grower on-farm decision-making.

  • 5-year national initiative (2023-28)
  • GRDC investment of $30 million + in-kind contributions of $13 million
  • 26 grower/adviser/extension groups
  • 10 research partners
  • 6 action research group leads
  • National project lead (CSIRO)
  • Principal partner (GRDC)

How do we improve grower decision making – particularly for decisions that have large profit and/or sustainability implication…when the outcome is uncertain!?


80% of grain growers articulate their production management decisions in terms of probability of upside returns (reward) offset against the associated downside risks to improve the quality of on-farm decision making.

Commencement: January 2023 | Completion: December 2027

Funding body: Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC)
Lead Organisation: Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
WA Action Research Group Lead (ARG): Grower Group Alliance (GGA)

What does RiskWi$e look like on the ground?

The West Midlands Group (WMG) will be working with the Mingenew Irwin Group (MIG) and other smaller grower groups across the Northern Agricultural Region of WA to investigate the risk associated with many of the common decisions made during the growing season by farmers. Involving local industry stakeholders and researchers in the conversation will also help to find new solutions to many of the hard decisions that farmers face, often made on the fly while keeping farming operations moving.

This approach is called ‘Participatory Action Research’ (PAR) and differs from the traditional approach to extension where farmers are ‘told’ what best practice should be. In the PAR model, farmers, industry, and researchers are on common ground in designing and executing research activities, and interpreting the findings to drive better, more locally applicable research outcomes.

Local groups of farmers will meet 2-3 times per year on a farm in the area to have input into the research activities under this project, to review results to date, and learn from other farmers, industry, and researchers about the issues they identify as important for their local area. We also aim to share many of the learnings between groups in the region so that participating growers have the greatest opportunity to learn and share knowledge and practices.

A theme PAR Group meeting in progress, Badgingarra 2023

There are five broad themes that each group can work across, depending on the needs of local farmers:

  • Nitrogen (N) decisions: A whole-of-system approach to help growers assess N decision strategies encompassing fertiliser and legume use.
  • Sowing decisions: Develop long-term strategies to help determine sowing location, varietal selection and sowing timing while considering landscape, farm and paddock conditions.
  • Enterprise agronomic decisions: Investigate crop sequence decisions from crop choice, fallow choice, soil amelioration and weed/disease management strategies.
  • Enterprise financial decisions: Investigate decision making related to farm economies of scale, operating costs, commodity prices and marketing, grain storage availability and labour management.
  • Managing natural resource capital: Explore the value behind improved soil health and soil carbon, reduce greenhouse gas emissions and non-chemical weed control.

Would you like to take part in Riskwi$e?

WMG are looking to include as many growers, industry stakeholders, and researchers that are aligned with the research activities of each local group under the themes outlined above. We will publish more of the groups aims in the future as they firmly establish their own directive in this project.


The risk associated with grain production has escalated and growers need additional tools and knowledge to maintain a competitive advantage in an increasingly variable market and production environment. Grower decision making is the key focus of the RiskWi$e project so it goes without saying that grower input is essential to the success of the PAR process.


Often industry stakeholders are best placed to see what is happening across regions as the visit many farms and see the impact of many of the management decisions made by growers. Having them in the room allows for a broader discussion and a wider range of alternatives to many of the decision-based problems that we face – hopefully with a little less risk!


Research organisations have the specific technical knowledge on many of the topics that are related to agricultural production, as well as the decision making process. Applied field research and social science research brought together and included in the local groups can help to understand why some things work and others don’t.

At a glance…

Who: Farmers, industry, researchers interested in reducing the risk around farm management decisions

What: Explore the risk behind many common farm management decisions, design and carry out trials, review results and learn with peers

When: Meet pre-seeding (March/April) and during the growing season (July) to look at local trials and review the latest findings to date

Where: Become involved in a group near you:

  • Yerecoin/Calingri/New Norcia Group
  • Dandaragan/Moora/Badgingarra Group
  • Three Springs Group
  • More groups to come across the region – register your interest!

Why: This project will support local growers to develop confident approaches to decision making and avoid costly mistakes in their farm operations.

How: Register your interest below!

Latest Updates

Want to get involved?

Get in touch with our Executive Officer, Nathan Craig.

Mobile: 0438 924 208