Communicating innovation in water use to horticultural industries (HG07026)
This is a final research report from Hort Innovation’s historical archives. Please note that as these reports may date back as far as the 1990s, the content and recommendations within them may be superseded by more recent research.
What was it all about?
Since the project commenced 1 October 2007, twelve editions of Irrigation Australia were published (four editions were published a year, in February, May, August and November).
Articles that were relevant to the commercial and amenity horticulture sectors featured in at least 70 per cent of the journal, and the front covers of seven editions featured horticulture and amenity irrigation specifically; five were more generally focussed, i.e. covers promoting 2008 and 2010 Irrigation Australia Conference and Exhibition, or featuring agricultural irrigation.
Considerable effort had gone into ensuring that articles featured practical examples and information on applying innovative approaches to water management in horticultural and urban irrigation settings. Effort had also been made to include information on policy that affected these irrigation sectors. Features included topics ranging from recycled water use, pumps and pumping, soils and irrigation, and business management.
Two reader surveys of the magazine, completed in 2008 and 2010, indicated a high degree of reader satisfaction with the magazine. Most readers identified that the magazine was a good source of information on irrigation (80 per cent of readers surveyed from horticulture and amenity irrigation sectors kept the magazine as a reference). Over 90 per cent of these readers believed the appearance of the magazine was good or excellent. Over 90 per cent also see relevance of articles as excellent or good.
This feedback accords with feedback from another Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) project completed in 2009, Australian Irrigation Industry: Industry Development Needs Assessment, where members of IAL rated the journal highly as a source of information about irrigation and as a member benefit.
Importantly, the magazine had received considerable editorial support from the service sector, including manufacturers, providers of extension services (private and government), designers and installers. The proportion of articles being written by this sector had increased so that now around 50 per cent of copy was provided by its members. This was important because it demonstrated the credibility of the magazine as a forum for the irrigation industry, and because it results in the publication of relevant, practical articles that were based on current technology and projects. Irrigation Australia was the only irrigation-specific magazine in Australia that provided this important link between the service sector and water users.
The key benefits to the horticulture and amenity irrigation sectors were:
- The journal was a source of up-to-date technical and policy information that was relevant to horticulture and the urban irrigation sectors. It was unique in Australia that it dealt with both urban and rural irrigation. It was seen as an important source of information, not only for growers and irrigation managers, but also for members of the service sector and policy makers. This was supported by the high proportion of readers who keep the journal for future reference, in part because there was no other serial publication in Australia publishing the spread of information to do with irrigation.
- The journal had come to be seen as an important forum for the service and policy sectors to inform not only growers, but other members of those sectors. This was evidenced by the growing amount of copies that was provided by industry members. The significance of informing the service sector was that its members were a key source of information to do with irrigation for growers and managers.
- In offering a medium for industry members to publish material that was technical (as opposed to advertorial), the journal was contributing to building their capacity to present extension and technical material.
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This project was funded by Hort Innovation (then Horticulture Australia Limited) with the financial support of Irrigation Australia Ltd.
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