Consultation with industry identified a range of knowledge and information management tools required for building decision support systems (DSSs) that can help guide sustainable development of irrigated dairy production in the Murray Region. Individual production systems vary in complexity and input intensity and are coupled with the unique business and lifestyle goals of farm families. While single issue focussed decision support tools are limited to promoting understanding of single factor responses, the relevant opportunity costs for resources must be considered. Thus a whole farm perspective for DSSs is required to assist farm business managers optimise the profitability of production and development given the range of technical options, market conditions, environmental constraints, personal aspirations and family goals prevailing on that farm. The research, development and decision support needs elicited from producers using low, medium and high input production systems reflected both the necessity to optimise management of current systems and concerns regarding likely expansion paths for viable businesses.