Rice Extension Newsletter February 2019

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Rice Extension Newsletter | February 2018

Welcome to the February edition of the Rice Extension Newsletter. After a tough season, the run into harvest cannot come soon enough. We have included in this newsletter, information about the hot temperatures this season. The temperatures should produce good yields, if your crop was at the right stage during the hot weather.

Grower Services is encouraging growers to make sure the crop does not run out of water too early, which will impact whole grain yields. Mark Groat talks $$s in his article and about how much poor whole grain yield can cost.

We have held a number of successful Field Walks across the season and a great Introduction to Tier 1: Leadership program. Coming up is the Rice Industry Field Day – make sure you lock March 7th into your diary.

Enjoy the read and all the best for the fast approaching harvest.

Articles this month:

  • Don’t cut your crop short of water - the effects on your whole grain yield quality payment may be costly - get your drainage timing right

  • Temperature update for the 2018-19 season

  • Looking after our environment when draining the rice crop

  • Calling all rice growers - nominations will open in March for the SunRice Grower of the Year Award

  • A fun week of serious learning at the Introduction to Leadership Program

  • Key management practices February/March

Upcoming events: 
Friday 22 February 2019, Exies Sports Club - RGA Mirrool branch meeting
Refreshments available
Please RSVP, text Clinton Brill on 0429 634 323.

Friday 1 March 2019, John Hawkins "Springfield" on Springfield Rd, Finley.
This meeting will include an inspection of John's rice crop followed by the meeting.
As a BBQ and refreshments will be provided.
Please RSVP to Rob Massina ramassina@gmail.com or 0448 999 288.
Precision Agronomy - Do you want to know more about Precision Agronomy and how to apply it to your farm?
Workshop 1: 14-15 march 2019
Workshop 2: 8-9 April 2019


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What happens if I cut water off too early and how much will this cost?
Mark Groat, SunRice Grower Services

The perfect storm of very hot January temperatures, high evapotranspiration rates, and high temporary water prices has had some growers questioning buying that last megalitre to finish crops off.  This induced haying off has severe effects on whole grain yield and returns per hectare.

When a crop runs out of moisture prior to grain maturity (haying off) the starches that form the grain are not laid down in the correct structure, but rather ‘collapse’ onto one another. This weakens the grain causing the grain to shatter or break up during milling.

In addition those grains that are closer to maturity tend to form cracks that may not break up during milling, but have a greater chance of breaking up during cooking. 

Not only is your bottom line directly affected, crops of very poor WGY are virtually unmarketable and this limits access to end customers who are willing to pay for, but also demand top quality.

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In addition to lower WGY, a crop that runs out of moisture will suffer yield loss and is much more susceptible to severe lodging.

With potential above average yields this season, do the sums - what will the extra water to finish the crop cost you in terms of yield, whole grain yield and harvestability?

Understanding that Decision....when to cut off the water

The rice grain is at physiological maturity at around 26 - 28% moisture. At this stage the crop does not require any more moisture, and the grain will dry down regardless of whether the crop is standing in water or not.

(Note: Late dough stage is around 30% and this is where the grain is full and firm but can still be cut in half by the thumbnail.)

The aim therefore is to drain to ensure that there is enough soil moisture to reach maturity, to prevent haying off, but also to ensure the field surface dries sufficiently to support harvest gear. Watch the weather forecasts for predicted warm or cool spells and possible rain.

As the grain moisture drops from around 28% to 20% an increasing percentage of the crop reaches maturity and % WGY is at its peak.

Below 20% WGY the grain is more subject to ‘wetting and drying’ cycles where rain or even heavy dews cause stress fractures due to alternate swelling and shrinkage, or high temperatures cause too rapid a dry down creating stress fractures.


The Whole Grain Yield is the rice left after the removal of the hull, bran layer and those grains that break up (brokens) during a standardised milling process.

The potential maximum WGY for medium grain is around 70%, so achieving a WGY in the range of 62 - 67% is excellent.

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A ‘hot’ talking point this season has been the warm temperatures as shown by the above charts. Thanks to Laurie Lewin who is a Rice Researcher who conducts yield predictions based on temperature data each year. He believes that the yield potential is high this year but would have been affected by both heat and cold at different stages. It all depends on the stage of your crop development during the hot spells and there are wide variations around this year.


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Neil Bull, RGA External Projects Officer

This season has been so dry to date that it is unlikely that any water will be drained off-farm from rice crops. However if a rain event occurs close to draining of your crops it is essential you comply for your irrigation company’s drainage rules.

Murrumbidgee Irrigation, Coleambally Irrigation and Murray Irrigation operate under Environmental Protection Authority licences. This means that if compliance to licences is not adhered to, strict penalties can be applied.


The Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area the drainage rules can be found at; http://www.mirrigation.com.au/Customers/Contracts-Rules or call 02 6962 0200 for more information.

The Murray Irrigation Area of operation landholders need approval prior to releasing water into the drainage system or back into the supply system. Murray Irrigation requires this information to manage its system. Details can be found at; https://www.murrayirrigation.com.au/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/Land-Sustainability-Information-June-2018-final.pdf or call 1300 138 265 for more information.

Coleambally Irrigation requires that farmers have on-farm re-use system storage capacity that is sufficient to contain any water from chemically treated fields until at least the expiry of the applied chemicals withholding periods. The rules prohibit the release of contaminated water into the drainage system, and landowners in any doubt about releasing water should contact Coleambally Irrigation prior to releasing water into the drains.  Coleambally Irrigation drainage rules can be found at; https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5af3b1ae70e8023a6ac7a10b/t/5bfb2a0d1ae6cf43c2b628db/1543186960297/CICL+Rules+-+registered+19+November+2018.pdf or call 02 6954 4003 for more information

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If you are a current rice grower who is achieving good results you are invited to apply - or if you know one please ‘tap them on the shoulder’ and suggest they apply.

The SunRice Grower of the Year Award is the ultimate award which recognises innovation, new technology and latest research outcomes adopted in the rice industry. The recipient of this award will showcase high yields and high water use efficiency with successful adoption of new technology and innovation.
The SunRice Grower of the Year Winner prize:

  • An individual award and recognition on industry honour roll

  • $2500 to be spent on personal or business development

  • One position within the RGA Emerging Leaders Program in 2020 (this can be a member of the family or an employee of the business)

  • Two complimentary tickets to the 2019 RGA Conference dinner and Awards event

  • Member of the 2020 judging panel

  • Nomination for the Australian Farmer of the Year Award (Kondinin Group)

The two runners up will each receive two complimentary tickets to the RGA Conference Dinner and Awards event.

The Rice Extension Highest Yields Awards celebrate the highest yielding crops for each of the four rice growing areas. There is no need to nominate for these awards as they will be decided by SunRice records.
The awards are a new initiative aimed at bringing growers and industry together to celebrate the current and future success of the rice industry.

For more information visit: riceextension.org.au/rice-industry-awards


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15 of the rice industry’s future young leaders have completed the first Introduction to Leadership workshop in Deniliquin.
The workshop focussed on industry leadership development, including learning about the opportunities the rice industry offers, personality types, governance, advocacy, lobbying, communicating effectively and presenting the best story to the media.

A small number of the participants from this course will be selected to tour Canberra and learn from leaders in government, lobbying and farmer organisations.

A second Introduction to Leadership course will be held next year, so if you are interested in taking part let us know.

The workshop was made available through a collaboration with Rice Extension, RGA, AgriFuturesTM Australia, SunRice and the Rice Marketing Board, with funding from the Australian government.

The guest judges and taste testers had a tough job selecting their favourite rice dish. Here they are pictured with the winning team.

The guest judges and taste testers had a tough job selecting their favourite rice dish. Here they are pictured with the winning team.

Steve, Harriet, Alex and Annabel cooking up a storm in the cooking challenge.

Steve, Harriet, Alex and Annabel cooking up a storm in the cooking challenge.

“What is leadership?” Participants worked together to explain this question using their artistic skills.

“What is leadership?” Participants worked together to explain this question using their artistic skills.

The rice cooking challenge tested the participants teamwork.

The rice cooking challenge tested the participants teamwork.

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Farm Operations

  • Check your drainage channels are clean to ensure drainage occurs quickly and evenly over the whole paddock.

  • Planning for winter crop sowing including of preparation winter crop paddocks, seed cleaning, seed chemical and fertiliser procurement.

  • Clean down and maintenance of harvesting equipment such as chaser bins, storage bins, trucks and augers.


  • Maintenance of harvesting equipment such as chaser bins, storage bins and augers.

  • Maintenance of winter crop sowing machinery and spreaders.


  • Update water and financial budgets.

  • RSVP by registering at https://2019rifd.eventbrite.com.au by Monday 4th March to attend the Rice Industry Field Day at RRAPL on 7th March.

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Workshop 1: 14-15 March 2019
Workshop 2: 8-9 April 2019

Farmers, farm staff and agronomists will all benefit from training in precision agronomy with real case studies and interactive content. Tocal College's approach is to provide purposeful and practical training that can be implemented in the day to day running of farming businesses at every level.

Don't miss out, register now as places are limited. Call for more information and to register.
Contact Matt Notley 0434 273 888 or Charlie Bell 02 4939 8875.
Or go to: https://www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/content/agriculture/tocal-skills-training/courses/precision-agronomy

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2019 Rice Industry Field day – Connecting rice growers with the future

You are all invited to Rice Research Australia, Old Coree on Thursday 7th March 2:00pm to 7:30pm.
To encourage the family to attend, this year’s Field Day will start in the afternoon and finish off with a social dinner in the lovely surrounds of the Old Coree homestead. There will be field walks to the trial sites on the farm and presentations from SunRice Marketing and Grower Services. Afternoon tea and dinner will be provided.
More details are provided in the program below.

To assist with catering and buses, and to save the date in your calendar, registrations are now open here: https://2019rifd.eventbrite.com.au

Please indicate if you will be staying for dinner – a yummy BBQ with rice salads and desserts.