Posts in Nuffield Scholarships
Rice Straw Utilisation - Value adding and alternative uses for the Australian Rice Industry (2015)

The Australian Rice industry produces some of the highest crop yields in the world. As a result, the by-product of this is a significant stubble load, which is difficult to manage.  Additionally, the silica content of Australian rice straw is significantly higher than most around the world. The current practices of burning stubble to allow a double cropping rotation are not likely to continue too much further into the foreseeable future due to environmental constraints and changes in policy. Few alternatives of stubble management are practised within the Australian Rice Growing industry, therefore, a ban on stubble burning could severely jeopardise the viability of the industry. Throughout the world, rice growers are addressing the problem of stubble load with methods that eliminate the stubble load problem as well as value add and create additional revenue streams from a ‘waste’ product. These methods include:  Biomass plants, Biogas plants, Strawlage as a stockfeed source, Erosion control, Composting, Mulching for high value crops such as mushrooms, Building products and High value raw materials.

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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.

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Growing rice with less water (2006)

The Australian rice industry is a world leader in yields, quality and marketing. Water supply is fast becoming its greatest limitation. Can we find a rice growing system that will grow more rice per megalitre?  This Nuffield study overviewed work in several countries that is attempting to adopt aerobic and alternate-wet-and-dry (AWD) rice systems to increase water use efficiency.  The application of such systems in Australian rice growing has potential to lead to a 15–30% increase in water use efficiency, from evaporation savings.  Success of aerobic or AWD systems in Australia would require the rice industry to assess and adopt aerobic germplasm, refine AWD nitrogen management, consider Clearfield™ technology for broadleaf weed control and redefine rice soil suitability for AWD systems

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Cool season pulse crops suitable for rotation with rice. (2003)

Following the completion of six weeks overseas joint Nuffield study of general agriculture issues, I visited a number of countries to study cool season pulse options which may be suitable for rotation with rice. Rice is our most profitable broad acre crop on the heavy clay soils of southern NSW but for environmental and quality reasons is grown in rotation with other crops.

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