Towards the end of the Cicerone Project, after the final all-day field trip and symposium, farmer members were asked: “How useful was Cicerone to you?”

Below are some of the answers:

  1. “Poses questions as well as answers. Encourages thinking about problems. Points out some of the interactions. Brings into focus increased costs as well as increased production”.
  2. “Greater awareness of alternative grazing management systems and aspects that will be adapted to our own grazing enterprise. Always new ideas to learn about and implement”.
  3. “Recognising the complexity of interactions between soil, plants, animals, climate and markets.  Satisfied me that Intensive Rotational Grazing is not a magic bullet”.
  4. “Enables the farmer to observe trials of grazing systems without have to spend their own money and thus risk!  Provides analysis far beyond the capacity of any normal farmer”.
  5. “It has been very useful to follow and see the activities, the field days, the presentation of the results and the interaction in questions and comments by those present and to relate it back to my own enterprise”.
  6. “Hugely useful – to learn about the changes over time on the different farmlets”.
  7. “Extremely useful. Introduced new ideas and concepts of dealing with issues of managing and grazing enterprises”.
  8. “Cicerone has been a great resource for not only wool graziers but farmers in general. If the information provided doesn’t spark an interest it provides ideas and demonstrates that you have to look ‘outside the box’”.
  9. “Successful farmers are ones already looking to improve their management, and the Cicerone Project facilitates that”.
  10. “Very useful. Made me rethink what I am doing”.
  11. “Helped in looking at differences between management systems on the different farmlets.  Stock performance, income vs. expenditure, sustainability, inputs (capital, time), what is the future (long-term)?”
  12. “Provided information that can be tailored to individual farming enterprises”.
  13. “Very eye-opening when put in context, farm to farm.  Thought provoking and makes you assess your own situation.  There are so many variables and outside influences that affect farming, it’s hard to keep track when farming in isolation.  Cicerone has pulled us all together and opened up topics that make us receptive to thinking outside the square”.
  14. “Great learning tool.  Valuable comparison of grazing management systems.  Highlights management issues and impact of prolonged drought conditions.  Integrates key components of livestock management.  Board management not dissimilar to farm family situation – it has problems and doesn’t always get it right.  The effects of different livestock management systems bringing about loss of income and decreased gross margins”.
  15. “From a farming point of view it has been useful to have enough scale to include livestock in the system, but the time period of the project (5 years) is too short.  Funding bodies need to realise that these projects need long-term funding”.
  16. “It has been a learning experience in terms of correcting decisions from good and bad things done by Cicerone.  I have learnt from Cicerone’s mistakes.  From what has been learnt, it has led to new questions and new methods to measure whole farm systems”.
  17. “Having this opportunity and seeing different grazing systems in operation and their subsequent profitability has been a learning curve; no one strategy works”.
  18. “I am not a farmer but Cicerone has been a great learning experience.  It has helped me understand the economic and risk implications of different management approaches”.
  19. “Better understanding of grazing systems and their shortfalls and advantages.  Learnt from Cicerone’s mistakes”.
  20. “Cicerone has not been just about the farmlets; the field days have been very interesting.  The ability to see how different management affects pastures on the same rainfall and soils has been fascinating”.

Source: published journal paper titled "Delivering extension and adult learning outcomes from the Cicerone Project by ‘comparing, measuring, learning and adopting’".   

Link to published Abstract and Full paper:  Click here ...