Rice Extension Newsletter December 2017

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Best wishes for the Christmas season. We hope your Christmas is filled with happiness and the New Year is a good one!!

Welcome to the December Rice Extension Newsletter. 

In this month's newsletter:


  • PI Predictor
  • Predicted dates for PI
  • NIR sampling
  • R&D is underway to take the hard work out of NIR sampling
  • Please take care when spraying
  • Non-lethal duck control
  • Map Rice GIS
  • Another great Innovator's Workshop
  • Rice Extension up-coming field walks
  • Festive season office opening hours
  • Save the date

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Temperatures this season have been a bit up and down but we are still tracking for a warm season, especially leading into PI. According to the temperature records from Laurie Lewin (see below) this year is above the long term average.

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The hot temperatures will bring PI in earlier than last season. Check the PI Predictor web app for an update on your crops.

PI Predictor User Guide

Rice growers and agronomists have been using this web app over the last 2 seasons to better estimate their PI date for satellite, drone or aerial imaging, NIR sampling and nitrogen topdressing. The PI Predictor has been updated for all varieties this season using the latest information available.

The web app predicts an estimated date of PI of each crop based on the sowing date, variety and sowing method by using BoM temperature data.

It is important to get the PI date correct as this is the most efficient time to topdress nitrogen for best response in yield.

This user guide will help those who have not used the tool yet.

Click here for the User Guide or click here for the PI Predictor

Predicted dates for PI

If you are unable to use the PI predictor, then:

Click here for the Murray Valley PI Predictions as of 16 Dec
Click here for the Murrumbidgee and Coleambally PI Predictions as of 16 Dec

Please check as according to the predictions early to mid-October planted aerial and dry broadcast sown crops may come in to PI over the Christmas period due to the hot weather forecast.

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This season we still have available the FREE nitrogen topdressing recommendations from SunRice for the hand cut samples that you do.

Information from Grower Services is available here.

The bins have been stocked with all sampling needs at AGS rice receival depots. 

If you suspect your crop will reach PI between Christmas and New Year and testing is required contact the QAC on 02 6953 0549 or 0428 411 419. Samples must be delivered to the Quality Appraisal Centre in Leeton as there will be NO courier collection service during in this period.

For those growers reaching PI between Christmas and New Year in the Murray Valley or Coleambally area the team from RRAPL have agreed to deliver samples to Leeton QAC on the 28th December please contact RRAPL on 03 5886 1391 or 0429 425 798 to organise collection points.

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Sampling at PI for the NIR Tissue Test is a great way to check the nitrogen status of your crop midway through the season and apply the correct amount when topdressing.

Sampling a rice crop at PI however is hard work! The results can sometimes be less accurate than you would like if everything is not done correctly – you need to be careful to sample from ‘representative’ sites, and you need to cut, dry and weigh accurately.

Brian Dunn, NSW DPI and his team have been looking for a better way. They have been testing remote imagery in rice over the last 5 years with interesting results:

  • NDRE imagery or “Red Edge’ will show more accurate crop variability than NDVI at PI.
  • Brian is calibrating Red Edge imagery from various sensors to accurately, directly predict PI nitrogen topdressing rates for Koshihikari and YRK5 varieties, without the need to physically sample the crop.
  • When superior imagery becomes available it may be possible to remove the need for hand cut sampling for all varieties.

It is planned that in the future accurate PI nitrogen prediction by remote sensing, along with accurate PI date prediction and imagery delivered to the SunRice MapRice GIS, will allow a variable rate map for nitrogen topdressing to be sent to each grower for each rice field. Higher yield will be generated across the industry with less risk and increased profit.

From Brian Dunn NSW DPI Farmers Newsletter article July 2017: Red Edge image of a rice variety by nitrogen experiment conducted at Yanco in the 2016/17 season. The varieties run from left to right across the plots. The redder plots are the low nitrogen rates of zero and 60kg N/ha pre-permanent water nitrogen rates from top to bottom.

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Please take care when spraying

This is a reminder to use best management spray practice so not to impact on other crops. This applies equally to ALL irrigation and dryland farmers. Extra care is needed as we are living and working in one of the most diverse agricultural communities in Australia.

We all have a duty of care not to impact on others in our community. Spray drift damage has been reported already this season across the Murrumbidgee and Murray valleys in both rice and cotton crops.

  1. Think about what chemical it is you are spraying and the potential impact on nearby crops.
  2. Think about where you are spraying the chemical in relation to sensitive crops.
  3. Think about the effect of weather conditions around the time of spraying.

Click here for information about what to do if you have suspected spray drift damage

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With the widespread adoption of drill seeding the total area of rice that is at risk from duck damage has been reduced significantly. However there will always be some early ponded crops that will require protection from duck damage.

 Growers use a range non-lethal control measures to protect crops. Currently lights, scare guns, scare crows, drones and pyrotechnics are deployed. All provide some protection to crops however none guarantee 100% protection.

There are a range of new technologies around that may provide greater crop protection. These include seed treatments, lasers and sound emitting devices. Neil Bull from RGA has been investigating non-lethal duck control and he has found some interesting products click here.

The fox light below is used by some growers for info click here.

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Please upload your crop survey details onto the SunRIce MapRice GIS system, it is not too late to do so. This information is used by AGS for setting up for deliveries and SunRice for yield predictions. SunRice is developing benchmarking information from the data input from growers. It is important to feedback any data collected so you can use it to make informed decisions for improving yields and quality.  

The Gator competition closed on December 11. SunRice will announce the winner shortly.

Watch a video on how to enter you crop survey data here. Or read the User Manual here.

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 - there were lots of positive comments from the participants from our Innovators Workshop last week. Make sure you make a point of coming along to the next Innovators event.

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Out of the heat and wind to learn about imagery, drones, SunRice value added products and nutrition.

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Rice growers Darrel Fiddler and Clint Badocco on saving water and rice rotations.

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Russell Nicol from AccuSpread on setting up your spreader.

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We will be holding mid season meetings at a number of locations in January and February. Please keep an eye on your inbox for flyers. We would love to see you there.

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The Rice Industry Field Day will be held at NSW DPI Yanco Agricultural Institute on 8 March.
This Field Day will replace the RRAPL Field Day for this season.
The NSWDPI site has some interesting trials in progress and the day will be a great opportunity to view the results just prior to harvest.

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Rice Extension: connecting growers with research, technology and best practice

Troy Mauger (Murray) 0417 375 168 tmauger@rga.org.au
Leah Garnett (Murrumbidgee) 0455 558 035 lgarnett@rga.org.au
Gae Plunkett (Rice Extension Coordinator) 0419 790 019 gplunkett@rga.org.au

Copyright © 2017 Rice Extension, All rights reserved.