Arable farmers’ innovation decision process towards using by-products of insect production
Innovations are needed to help farmers promote crop and soil health in a more natural way. One such innovation comes from the insect production sector. Insects are produced mainly for food and feed, but by-products of their production include shed skins, manure, and uneaten food. These by-products are called “insect frass”. The shed skins contain a substance (chitin) that has shown to improve crop and soil health. This research investigated the decision-making process crop farmers may implement when considering using frass.
Understanding this decision process is essential for forecasting potential barriers and stimulators of farmers’ adoption of innovative products like frass. In this research, we determine that the adoption of frass can be stimulated by the use of group discussions and by communicating the circular and environmental aspects of frass. Barriers to frass’ adoption include the current lack of information around it, for instance regarding (1) its (especially short-term) cost effectiveness, (2) its effectiveness in the field, and (3) how to apply it.