The adoption of environmental management practices is addressed in this paper. The use of consumer behaviour theory and a market research approach is discussed by describing how it was used in the study. Qualitative methods were used to gather data from dairy farmers in four New Zealand catchments. The environmental practices explored were; excluding stock from waterways, reducing phosphorus use, improving soil macroporosity, managing effluent and improving the efficiency of border-dyke irrigation. The findings are discussed, highlighting that farm contextual factors influenced farmers’ decision making in terms of adopting environmental management practices. The results suggest that environmental practices need to be linked to farm context. This should provide practical solutions that farmers’ will be more likely to adopt.