Australia’s rice growing regions are geographically isolated from the rest of the world, which provides some protection from exotic pests and diseases. If an exotic pest or disease establishes in our region, the cost to the rice industry will not only be in eradication or containment but also in the loss of access to overseas markets.
This fact sheet has been compiled to provide some basic information about reporting bush fires, and accessing the NSW Rural Fire Service for details of active bushfires in your region and relevant fire protection measures.
The Bitterns in Rice Project was established in 2012 to raise awareness of this threatened species, learn about its’ use of rice fields and identify what rice growers do and can do to support bittern conservation.
Research at Yanco Agricultural Institute has shown that the practice of delayed permanent water in rice crops has the potential to reduce the global warming effect of a rice crop by up to 79% compared with a conventionally watered (permanently ponded) drill sown crop. Further, this benefit was measured without any impact on yield.
This is an unusual situation. Here we have one of Australia’s most threatened birds and it turns out that their stronghold explicitly comprises agriculture — in the form of rice crops. Nowhere else in the country can we find such large numbers of the globally endangered Australasian bittern.