Rice Extension Newsletter May 2018


Rice Extension Newsletter May 2018

Well, harvest is very close to done and dusted for another year with well over 600 000t delivered already and only a few late planted crops still to come in. Growers have generally been pleased with their yields. Doongara and Langi yielded very well up north and Opus, Reiziq and Sherpa performed very well in the south. We like to celebrate your success!!  

Final yield averages across regions from SunRice are yet to be confirmed. However, SunRice has reported some outstanding yields. In the Murray Valley, some Opus crops and a number of Reiziq crops hit the 13 t/ha mark this year. In the Murrumbidgee Valley, one Reiziq crop of 14.8 t/ha used just 9.6 ML of water achieving 1.54 t/ML.

Stories this month:

  • Drill sowing success
  • Wheat straight after rice
  • Using drones to identify crop variability
  • Stubble burning in Autumn

Save the date for upcoming events:

  • Business and Technology Forums: Deniliquin June 13, Barham June 14, Griffith June 28
  • Food and Fibre with Flair – A networking and knowledge-building event brought to you by WinCott and Rice Extension’s Women in Rice – June 19, Griffith Pioneer Park Museum
  • Last chance to get in to one of the fully funded Agskilled Advanced spray workshops
  • 2018 Irrigation Australia International Conference and Exhibition 13-15 June Sydney
  • 2019 Nuffield Scholarship applications are now open


Nancy Lashbrook and her son, Matthew, celebrate a promising harvest at their rice farm Lionola, near Coleambally. Picture: Yuri Kouzmin, Weekly Times (Vic), Melbourne 14 Mar 2018.

Drill sowing saves 30%

In an article in the Weekly times in March, David and Nancy Lashbrook discussed trialling drill sowing for the first time on their farm in Coleambally to save water. With harvest now complete David reported his water usage and crop yields were spectacular.

The drill sown crop used 30% less water than the aerial sown crop up till permanent water was applied. The three flushes on the drill sown crop used 2.9ML /ha, while the evapotranspiration over the same amount of time was 4.2ML/ha which is an estimate of the amount used in the aerial sown crop.  

His drill sown Langi yield of 12.0 t/ha was well above the 5-year average yield for Langi crops in Coleambally. David said drill sowing had other benefits with windy weather not an issue and there were no ducks or snails.

David applied 140 kg/ha Energizer upfront and 250 kg/ha of urea. At PI David took the time to send in a sample to the NIR tissue testing service, and followed the recommendation of 100kg/ha Urea topdressing rate. He also credits his success with having a great agronomist.


Wheat straight after rice

Wheat grown immediately following a rice crop utilises the residual moisture and increases the productive use of every megalitre of water applied.

Sow early into paddocks with good drainage and use a higher sowing rate. Remember there is no nitrogen left in the soil after rice so apply nitrogen early for establishment and tillering.

For more information about growing wheat, after rice from Sam North at NSW DPI : https://riceextension.org.au/crop-rotations/

The GRDC Winter crop Sowing Guide is available here:  https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/agriculture/broadacre-crops/guides/publications/winter-crop-variety-sowing-guide

Using drones to identify crop variability

A standard (RGB) camera, the type that comes with most popular drone models, provides useful images and much of the crop variability can be identified. Many users report that RGB imagery is more than enough to identify variability and gain actionable insights about their crops, such as weedy areas or patchy areas.

Drone programs, such as Drone Deploy can be used to set the drone to automatically grid survey a paddock. The images produced can then be uploaded to stitch the images together to produce one larger image of the whole paddock, like below:


Crop striping shown with a drone’s standard RGB camera. This paddock was grid surveyed and images were stitched together with Drone Deploy. Note the striping or racetrack effect showing that a spreader calibration is required here!

This standard image can then be converted to a VARI image, which shows how green the image is and makes it possible to detect areas of crop stress in a field. Find more information on Drone Deploy and VARI vs NDVI images here.

In order to measure NDVI, a near infrared camera is required, which is more expensive than a standard camera. NDVI can be used for identifying differences in rice and wheat growth at tillering.

For measuring crop variability in rice at PI, a camera that measures the red edge waveband is most useful (and more expensive again for the camera and software).

Brian Dunn, NSW DPI presented information about the costs and the limitations of drones, cameras and computing requirements at the 2018 mid-season field walks. Read the handout here.

Make sure you look after the ability to use your drone. Rules for flying drones include flying them only within line of sight, below 120 m, and 30 m away from other people. On your own land you can fly a drone up to 25 kg in weight without a Remotely Piloted Aircraft Operator’s Certificate or remote pilot licence. Find more information on flying over your own land in this CASA brochure. 

Stubble burning responsibly

Stubble burning is an important tool for farmers but poor practice can affect your local community.

Responsible stubble management is the key to maintain a farmers right to burn.

For more information click here

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Business and Technology forums: 

Will promote good on-farm decision making through improving understanding of irrigation, farm business and new technology with presentations from leaders in their field. More information coming soon.

Save the dates:

9.00am to 3.30pm Wednesday June 13, Deniliquin Golf Club, Memorial Drive, Deniliquin

9.00am to 3.30pm Thursday June 14, Club Barham, Neimur Rd, Barham

8.30am to 5.30pm Thursday June 28, Griffith           


2018 Irrigation Australia International Conference and Exhibition

Registrations are now open for this biennial event – which will be held from Wednesday 13th to Friday 15th June, 2018, at the new International Convention Centre in Sydney.

Under the theme ‘Addressing the Big Issues’, the program will feature an outstanding line-up of global leaders in their fields, stretching from research to commerce across several topics: agriculture, turf and landscape, key national areas, future planning and international matters, rainwater harvesting and energy-efficient irrigation will be key interest points.

Alongside the conference, the free-to-attend exhibition will showcase solutions covering the entire irrigation value chain including the latest in irrigation technology, products and services. 

Registrations for both the conference and the free exhibition are now open. To register or for more information, please visit: http://iaice.com.au.

Still places left in Finley -

Fully funded Agskilled Advanced spray workshop including certification and individual work site visits. Get in quick RSVPs are essential:

FINLEY - Tues 29 May – RSVP before April 29

To register your interest, contact Cath on 02 6345 5818 or 0437 455818 or email craig.day@bigpond.com

More information can be found here.

2019 Nuffield Scholarship applications are now open


Applications open from 4 April to 15 June. Click here for more information.