Improving rice water use efficiency - Direct Drilling of rice and Precision Farming (June 2014)
Water use efficiency is a driving factor for the Australian rice industry. Australian rice farmers grow rice in one of the driest continents in the world, achieving some of the world’s highest yields per hectare and water use efficiency per kilogram produced (Dunn & Pal Singh, 2013). In recent years, the availability of water for agricultural production has been reduced significantly as a result of government policy. Australian rice farmers are also under constant scrutiny to justify their water usage, so need to develop new technologies and practices. Historically Australia is one of the few countries to establish a rice crop by flying rice seed into a flooded bay. The majority of the countries visited establish their crops by drilling seed into the soil and establish by flushing. In Australia, this technique could be more broadly adopted with significant savings in water use and input costs.