Supporting and practising digital innovation with advisers in smart farming

Margaret Ayre, Vivienne Mc Collum, Warwick Waters, Peter Samson, Anthony Curro, Ruth Nettle, Jana-Axinja Paschen, Barbara King, Nicole Reichelt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


The promise of technology development in agriculture is well publicised with some claiming that digital disruption will transform the way farming and food production is done in the future. For farm advisers, engaging in smart farming involves managing the proliferation of new forms of information, new knowledge and networks and new technical devices that produce digitised representations of farm performance. The nature and effects of digital practices in particular poses challenges for farm advisers as they seek to understand how digital tools and services can be integrated into their service delivery for improved farm decision making. In this paper we present insights from a co-design process with private farm advisers and ask: What enables farm advisers to engage with digital innovation? And, how can digital innovation be supported and practiced in smart farming contexts? Digital innovation presents challenges for farmers and advisers due to the new relationships, skills, arrangements, techniques and devices required to realise value for farm production and profitability from digital tools and services. We show how a co-design process supported farm advisers to adapt their routine advisory practices through recognising and engaging with the social, material and symbolic practices of digiware in smart farming. We demonstrate the need to recognise ‘digiware as constituted in and by heterogeneous practices from which possibilities for digital innovation emerge. These possibilities include the increased capacity of farm advisers to identify the value proposition of smart farming tools and services for theirs and their clients’ businesses, and the adaptation of advisory services in ways that harnass and mobilise diverse skills, knowledge/s, materials and representations for translating digital data, digital infrastructure and digital capacities into better decisions for farm management.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100302
Number of pages13
JournalNJAS: Wageningen Journal of Life Sciences
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2019
Externally publishedYes


  • Digital innovation
  • Digiware
  • Farm advisers
  • Smart farming

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