Rice Extension Agronomist Newsletter | November 2018

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“We are looking for a new Rice Extension Coordinator. I am moving on but I have very much enjoyed the role working with you all promoting innovation and technology to improve rice growing profitability” Gae.

Go to this link to view the job ad and please share if you know of a suitable candidate.

Stories this month:

  • Degree days till 20 November

  • Evapotranspiration

  • Scheduling irrigations on delayed permanent water crops

  • Sowing Viand

  • Grower access to NDRE imagery for nitrogen topdressing rates at PI

  • Sulphur trial

  • Canopea App

  • Spray drift mitigation resource website

AgriFutures™ Rice Program Advisory Panel 2 positions open: applications close 19 December. Do you know a grower with an interest in, and passion for, RD&E? Please encourage them to apply for this important role.

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

We’re looking for the industry’s best and brightest young people –For information on how to apply for the Introduction to Leadership program Click here or contact Ainsley Massina 0428 859 214 amassina@rga.org.au

Rice Industry Awards – become a partner to help us celebrate successful growers in the rice industry partnership opportunities
Contact Angela Wakeman - 0427 728 245 - angela@saucecommunications.com.au
Troy Mauger - 0417 375 168 - tmauger@rga.org.au

Agropraisals day with Malcolm Taylor -this very informative day will be held again in early January. Keep an eye out for the flyer for this informative event held at Malcolm’s trial sites at Koonoomoo. New products, best herbicide programs when the 3-way mix is missed and for extending weed control when delaying permanent water.


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Cumulative Day Degrees base 10 till 20 November Griffith (1) and Deniliquin (2) (Data from Laurie Lewin) and Evapotranspiration (3)

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When the application of permanent water is delayed until Christmas, making the decision on the best time to flush is difficult.

Often growers apply more flushes than are necessary. Minimising water use and maintaining crop growth is the aim. Rice will withstand quite dry conditions and can recover very quickly when flooded, but stressing the crop will delay maturity and limit biomass production for best yields.

Scheduling irrigations using forecast daily evapotranspiration (ETo):

  • Irrigate at a cumulative ETo of 80mm for lighter soil types up to 100mm for heavy soil types.

  • Use crop coefficients of 0.6 and 0.8 for early and late November respectively and 1.0 for December.

  • Use the daily ETref_t (mm) for Griffith, Hay, Finley and Tullakool. They can be found here: http://weather.csiro.au/ 

  • Take off any rainfall amounts from the cumulated amount and disregard any rain above 25mm as this will likely runoff.

  • Using forecast ETo and rainfall to manage irrigation timing also allows for ordering water when planning the next irrigation according to forecast weather.

  • You can find forecast ETo if you set up your fields on the IrriSAT weather based irrigation scheduling tool. Unfortunately the small rice crop does not allow use of the growth and crop water use functions.

  • Remember to manage the second flush around herbicide and crop emergence needs.

Alex Schultz NSW DPI is working alongside Rice Extension to assess best practice irrigation scheduling for drill sown crops - setting up soil moisture monitoring equipment including capacitance probe (10cm, 20cm, 30cm and 40cm) and water potential sensors/gypsum blocks (10cm, 15cm, 20cm and 40 cm) and comparing these readouts to evapotranspiration.

We are measuring the water volume on and off drill sown crops in Coleambally with the use of Mace meters at the inlets and outlets. We will continue to do this throughout the season to calculate total water use for the crops to compare different irrigation management.

The second flush will be applied to align with best herbicide management factors. The third flush timing and fourth (if there is time for a fourth flush before flooding) will be an important decision as the grower does not want to delay the maturity, but he is very keen to save water. We will be utilising all the tools we have as well as grower intuition and forecast conditions to make the decisions.


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Late plantings of the short season rice variety Viand(PBR) are OK until December 5.

Click here for the growing guide from NSW DPI.

Applying more nitrogen than is needed by the crop, either prior to permanent water or at panicle initiation, will increase lodging and delay harvest. It is recommended to reduce urea rate to between 150 and 250 kg/ha prior to flood.

Split nitrogen applications 70% pre-permanent water and 30% at PI to reduce lodging risk. Below is a chart of the yield and lodging score for Viand(PBR) at different upfront nitrogen rates from 149 trial plots over 3 years and various paddocks.

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Rice Extension is keen to support growers to trial Red Edge imagery of their rice fields this season at PI for assessing crop nitrogen requirements. 

Red Edge imagery has been found to be far superior to NDVI for this purpose and all growers will have the opportunity to purchase Red Edge imagery this season. 

Brian Dunn is planning 2 flights around PI at the end of December and early January to capture images across Murray, Coleambally and Murrumbidgee to provide Red Edge imagery.

A pilot study of six fields will be run where the imagery is converted into PI nitrogen uptake maps without the physical sampling of the crop. This is being run to assess the validity and soundness of the process and show agronomists and growers the service that will be available in future years. 

If you have growers who would be interested in checking out this new technology, then call Troy Mauger 0417 375168 or Leah Garnett 0455 558035. We would like all agronomists to have a chance to view the technology and utilise Red Edge imagery this season.


Aerial image with red edge camera, 60 cm pixels, 9 Jan 18

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There has been some interest among rice growers about the response to applying Sulphur. Brian Dunn NSW DPI has set up a trial near Yenda to assess rate response to growth and yield. He applied a range of pre-permanent water urea rates and Gran-Am rates. He will be applying a mid-tillering top up to some plots.

Red Edge imagery will be taken at PI in late December/early January to assess the nitrogen uptake response to these rates. Rice Extension will keep you up to date on the results throughout the season.

Figure 1. Average rice yield from each different herbicide treatment at the Widgelli and Coleambally trial sites (located in commercial crops). Note the herbicide treatments labelled with the same letter are not statistically different.

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Want to measure crop canopy from your phone? Check out the ‘Canopeo’ app recommended to us from Brian NSW DPI and Iva at IREC.

Take a picture of your crop canopy – the app gives a % green canopy figure. Use it to compare the canopy development of different varieties, nutrition, cut/fill areas and anything else you can think of: http://canopeoapp.com/#/login

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The National Farmers Federation and its members have partnered with the broader agricultural and crop protection industries to launch a webpage designed to be a one-stop shop on stewardship materials as this year’s spraying season commences. 

The webpage can be found here.

The key messages to producers are:

  • Plan for your application – keep records, notify neighbours, use decision-making tools

  • Spray in the right conditions – during the day, check for inversions

  • Check your equipment – use the right nozzles, correct boom height, adjuvants to reduce drift”

Rice Extension are very supportive of this message and as part of a concerted effort to minimize drift incidents we request that you take the opportunity to remind customers/clients of the importance of looking after their neighbours and communities and taking care when they spray this season.

Cristy Houghton