Incentives and disincentives identified by producers and drainage contractors/experts on the adoption of controlled tile drainage in eastern Ontario, Canada

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Courtesy of IWA Publishing

This study investigates incentives and disincentives regarding adoption of controlled tile drainage (CTD) in a region of eastern Ontario, Canada, where CTD could be used prolifically from a biophysical standpoint, but is not. Irrespective of documented environmental and agronomic benefits of CTD, adoption remains low. Surveys and semi-structured interviews with producers and drainage contractors/experts were used to evaluate awareness of CTD and identify producer adoption impediments. Surveys indicated nearly 70% of producer respondents had heard about CTD. Top ranked incentives identified by producers (who adopted) and drainage contractors/experts combined were: soil water retention benefits, increased crop yields, and gratification improving the environment. Top ranked disincentives combined by target groups were: increased farm labor, perceived lack of extension services, and costs. Many producer adopters emphasized motivators grounded in personal or community bearing, such as peer interaction and doing the right thing for the environment. Drainage contractors emphasized adoption impediments tied to a perceived lack of extension support for CTD. Drainage contractors themselves desired more extension support and firm data/research foundations with respect to advocating CTD to clients. With respect to motivation for producers to adopt CTD, this latter point may be critical given that producers highly valued drainage contractors as an information source on drainage practices.

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