NORTH Queensland’s potential as a future rice growing center has been named as part of Australian company SunRice’s strategic five year plan.
SunRice executives travelled to the Burdekin last month, where they hosted a field day to discuss progress of the Northern Australian rice research program.
They also provided updates about local variety and agronomic trials being undertaken in the North.
SunRice General Manager AGS, Grower Services and Agronomic Development, Tom Howard, also outlined opportunities for North Queensland’s rice industry within the company’s five-year strategic plan.
“The provenance of Australian rice and the global food trend towards healthy eating are core elements of our five-year strategy that have particular relevance for the North Queensland rice industry,” Mr Howard said.
“North Queensland’s pristine environment is highly regarded around the world and we are aiming to build on that with our research into developing Low GI and soft cooking long grain rice varieties specific for this region.
“North Queensland has strong synergies with SunRice’s strategy to position Australia as the supply source of choice for premium branded rice markets and to help us continue to meet solid domestic and international demand for clean, green Australian rice.”
Attendees also heard how the $4 million federally funded Northern Australia rice research program was advancing the development of optimal rice varieties for the region’s unique tropical environment and the best farming systems to support these varieties.
Mr Howard said the new research aimed to build on the work SunRice was doing to improve productivity and profitability for North Queensland rice growers.
“SunRice is currently managing a series of rice trials across the Burdekin, Tully and Gordonvale regions looking at district varieties, breeding programs, nutrition management and disease management and we look forward to the outcomes.
“This project will support the strong appetite among North Queensland growers to integrate rice as a complementary crop into their existing farming systems.
“North Queensland has the ideal environment for growing rice as a rotational high value crop - it can assist growers to improve their cash flow by utilising fallow land and generating significant profits for their farm business, along with potentially improving soil condition and breaking disease cycles through crop rotation.”