Rice Extension Newsletter December 2018

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Rice Extension Newsletter | December 2018

Rice Extension will be farewelling Leah Garnett on the 18th January 2019 as she will be joining her partner Joel who has taken a promotion in his job to manage the Agribusiness of the NAB in Darwin. Leah was first employed by Rice Extension as the inaugural Industry Graduate four and a half years ago and then progressed to the role of Extension Officer-Murrumbidgee.

Leah would like to say:

'Thank you to the growers and advisors I worked with for making this role so interesting and enjoyable. It has been a pleasure to work in an industry that has been so innovative, supportive and willing to share information for everyone’s benefit.'

Wishing all our readers a happy Christmas and all the very best for 2019!!

Stories this month:

  • Introducing our Rice Industry Awards partners

  • Temperatures this season- How is the season tracking?

  • PI Predictor now available in MapRice GIS

  • Red edge imagery for nitrogen topdressing decisions

  • Which imagery to use when making management decisions: the pros and cons  

  • Summary of water workshops in the Murray and Murrumbidgee

  • Women in rice at Wakool

  • November - December Rice Grower Key Practices Diary

AgriFutures™ Rice Program Advisory Panel 2 grower positions are open: applications close 19 December. Are you a grower with an interest in, and passion for research and development. If so you are encouraged to apply for this important role. Click here for more information

Rice Extension website – if you have missed any of our events, then the Past Event Resources section on our website has presentations, booklets and handouts.

Rice Field Walks coming soon: 

20th December 2018, Coleambally. Water Use Demonstration Field walk at Ian Payne’s, Farm 598, end of Veness Rd, Coleambally commencing at 3.00pm
23rd January 2019, Moulamein. Laurie Arthur’s followed by the Wakool Branch meeting in Moulamein. Further details to be provided early in 2019.

7th March 2019, Jerilderie. Rice Industry Field day at RRAPL commencing at 2.00pm. Further details to be provided

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We are excited to welcome on board the first of our Rice Industry Award partners – SunRice, Corteva Agriscience, The Rice Marketing Board for the State of New South Wales, Port of Melbourne and the NSW Department of Primary Industries. The awards will celebrate excellence across the rice industry throughout 2019 and this exciting new initiative, which was launched in November, focuses on showcasing the best growers, farming practices, sustainability and business management.
Stay tuned for the latest on the awards by going to the Rice Industry Awards web page https://riceextension.org.au/rice-industry-awards. We look forward to working with our award partners over the next 12 months and we encourage industry, where possible, to support these organisations.

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There are still opportunities for perspective partners to come on board and help us celebrate successful growers in the rice industry.

Check out the prospectus here: partnership opportunities

Angela Wakeman 0427 728 245 angela@saucecommunications.com.au
Troy Mauger 0417 375 168 tmauger@rga.org.au

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The Cumulative Day Degrees from 10 October till 10 December are shown below Griffith (1) and Deniliquin (2) with a hot 10 days for the start of December.  The average maximum for Deniliquin was the highest in my records.  The accumulated DD is tracking at below 2010 but is amongst the highest on record.  This was mainly due to a very hot October so may not contribute as much to average yields as in past years. (Data and comments from Laurie Lewin)

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SunRice have been working with Rice Extension and Agtrix to incorporate the PI Predictor into its enhanced MapRice Geographic Information System (GIS).

You can now get an up-to-date PI Prediction for each of your rice plantings and monitor them in MapRice GIS as the season progresses. 

Convert your submitted seed order to a COMPLETED planting to activate the PI Predictor: under RECOMMENDED AND PLANNED – select edit and change your planned to actual sowing date, sowing method, seeding rate and variety and remember to SAVE. The PI Predictions for each paddock will now be available in the PI PREDICTION TAB.

For more accurate predictions for drill sown crops, enter the flushes and permanent water date under IRRIGATIONS.

Through building more capability into MapRice GIS, both the SunRice Grower Services team and SunRice Growers will have access to a greater pool of information, enabling more advanced analysis and deeper insights into crop performance and trends, while assuring customers of the traceability and accountability of the quality and purity of Australian-grown rice.

To assist you in using MapRice GIS, the Grower Services team can provide extensive help and one-on-one demonstrations if desired.  Or go to the comprehensive user guide at this link.

Please contact Grower Services with any questions on 1800 654 557.


This red edge image of a rice farm from January 2018 shows clearly the crop nitrogen variability.

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Red edge imagery is now available to all rice growers at panicle initiation (PI) this season.  Red edge imagery is far superior to NDVI imagery for showing differences in rice crop growth at PI.

This year the image can be used to assess your nitrogen topdressing requirements combined with NIR tissue tests. In future years, the project aims to provide a nitrogen uptake map (similar to the photo above) from which a topdressing rate map can be generated without the need for NIR tissue testing.

Imagery will be collected aerially by Ceres Imaging and supplied directly to growers/agronomists http://www.ceresimaging.net/

Two flights are planned - currently 27th Dec and 7th Jan, but dates may move a few days if cloud is a problem.

Check your crops predicted PI date to determine your preferred flight date – PI predictor https://pipredictor.riceextension.org.au/

Cost is $12 /ha per flight - sub metre pixel size.

To book in your field and purchase imagery contact: 
Ben Mowat, Ceres Sales Manager, 0417 861 344, bmowat@ceresimaging.net

Fields must be booked for imaging prior to 20th  Dec 2018

Imagery will available for viewing and download from the Ceres imaging website within 48 hours of the flight. It is hoped that topdressing decisions will be easier with this new technology, as red edge imagery shows real crop differences in N uptake.

Growers will receive a fact sheet on NIR tissues testing schedules directly from SunRice Grower Services.

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There is a wide variety of imagery and devices/programs available for growers to collect images.

RE has been asked by growers to provide a summary of what is available; it is not intended to be a complete list but a summary of the common tools and programs. There are many service providers that operate in this space and you are encouraged to talk to them to match your individual needs with the appropriate tools and information.

Satellite – until recently, monitoring crop changes has been difficult with satellite imagery in Australia due to the narrow swath width of images and long revisit time of at least 10 days – meaning a cloudy day could result in long delays before an image is available of your crop. Large pixel sizes over 20m did not allow close investigation within bays.

Sentinel II – consists of 2 satellites launched May 2017, monitoring changes to vegetation, wide swath width and high revisit time (5 days under cloud-free conditions) and covers the Riverina regularly. A range of imagery is collected and available for a price – multi spectral images across the rice industry may cost as much as $5000/km2. The free imagery available from these satellites is utilised in a range of apps available to farmers, such as DataFarming and IrriSAT.

Data Farming – easy to use, free imagery, 10m pixel size, satellite photo and NDVI image (crop biomass) updated every 5 days, cloud-based platform, no software to download, uses Sentinel II satellite images.

IrriSAT – easy to use, free imagery using data from both NASA and ESA satellites and on-ground weather stations, IrriSAT can be a very useful tool to calculate crop coefficients and forecast crop water use, as well as irrigation scheduling and benchmarking.  The data can also be used for crop productivity benchmarking, tracking soil-moisture deficit levels and identifying water use differences within and between paddocks.

Aircraft – Some aerial operators have cameras mounted on their planes to capture NDVI and NDRE images. They can survey a large area in a short time and collect images at less than 10m pixel size regularly.

UAV and drones – are useful for individual fields or farms and have the advantage of taking an image when it suits you, but large areas are impossible to survey at one time. They are limited by battery life, wind and cloud conditions, and camera overlap requirements. They have a short daily data collection period of 6 hours. UAVs and drones are small aircraft piloted by remote control with cameras mounted for collecting images.

Up to now NDVI images have been utilised by many rice growers to assess crop variability, prior to PI, for variable rate topdressing. However, crops with high nitrogen status show little variability with NDVI as the image is saturated by the very high amount of green leaf matter

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In November Rice Extension and the RGA held four Water Allocation and Trade Forums in the MIA, CIA and MV with over 180 people attending.

There were a number of presenters relevant to each valley including the NSW Department of Industry-Water that gave a presentation on interpreting the fortnightly resource update, the MDBA, who focussed on water sharing and allocations in the Murray Valley, Snowy Hydro, How and when snow water contributes to allocations within the Murrumbidgee system and H2OX who presented at all meetings and sponsored the events discussing overview of water market products and how people are using these products.

For further information and a copy of the presentations click on the appropriate link below

Murrumbidgee presentations

Murray Valley presentations


Rose Mannik, NSW DOI Water presenting at the Finley Water Allocation and Trade Forum

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Women in Rice at Wakool last month focussed on the variety and complexity of the roles of women in the agriculture sector and of the importance of surrounding yourself with valuable connections.

Belinda Allitt from AgriFutures shared her experiences in communicating positive stories in the ag sector. She explained that understanding your own personal brand values when communicating either on social media, supporting a cause and in advocacy is a must: “Every like, share, follow, ask, reaction, donation, comment demonstrates and reflects on your personal brand”. Each attendee went home with an understanding of their own brand values.

The day also included workshopping Rice$cenario to build confidence to use the tool to prepare water budgets, gross margins and compare different scenarios in their farming enterprises.
Lauren Mathers from Bunderra Berkshires gave us real insight into managing and growing a family farm business. Belinda Allit from AgriFutures shared her experiences in communicating positive stories in the ag sector.

The women were very positive in their feedback ranking the day on average 9.4 out of 10.

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Farm Operations

Apply permanent water to drill sown rice crops at least 10 days prior to PI

Are you going to get an NDRE Image of your rice crop? If yes, contact your preferred supplier to book them in prior to Christmas.Monitor the crops for PI

  • to take samples for a NIR tissue test

  • commence filling bays to above 25cm

  • to apply nitrogen topdressing in the window

Keep an eye out for Armyworms; they seem to appear earlier each year.


Do the supply channels and drains clean need spraying before peak demand of water is needed post PI?

Clean winter crop harvesting equipment down thoroughly to avoid any contamination at rice harvest time. Foreign grains, fertiliser residues and weed seeds cost you and the industry money.

Get the header check over for any repairs needed post winter crop harvest as March comes around soon enough.


Upload the PI Predictor App. Go to the PI Predictor  https://pipredictor.riceextension.org.au/ and save it to your Home Page.

Update your water budget to ensure you have enough water to finish your crops. You can use the Evapotranspiration tables published by NSW DPI to assist in predicting your water use to finish your crops.

Post Xmas, complete your October to December BAS and update your financial budgets

Are you in need of some assistance to deal with the drought, go to the NSW drought hub https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/climate-and-emergencies/droughthub/drought-assistance 

This is a comprehensive list of assistance available or contact your local Rural Financial Assistance Counsellor http://www.agriculture.gov.au/ag-farm-food/drought/assistance/rural-financial-counselling-service

Enjoy Christmas with your family and friends.