Photo by Adam H. Sparks at SunRice Brandon, Qld rice mill

PRJ-010814 Northern rice Australia - Developing rice growing packages for tropical climates

Photo by Adam H. Sparks at SunRice Brandon, Qld rice mill

PRJ-010814 Northern rice Australia - Developing rice growing packages for tropical climates

Dates active: April, 2018 - March 30, 2020

RIRDC Project: PRJ-010814

Total USQ Funding: $2,074,773

I lead this project for USQ. This project brings together SunRice, Rice Research Australia Limited (RRAPL), the University of Queensland and New South Wales DPI along with USQ. USQ’s responsibility for this project is evaluating the potential environmental impact of rice production in North Queensland along with fertiliser practices that optimise yield while minimising environmental losses through advancements in:

  • Addressing key barriers to successful large scale rice production in Northern Australia in terms of pests, diseases and farming system management;

  • Identifying improved farming systems and rice varieties to lift northern rice yields;

  • Improving the skills of rice growers and research, development & extension staff in northern Australia through the development of agronomy packages and decision support tools.

In particular, USQ through this project will address program priorities in the areas of pests and diseases and agronomy and farming systems. These specific priorities are as follows.

Pests and diseases

Dr. Nirodha Weeraratne conducts the pathology research at USQ for this project:

  • Understanding the nature of rice pests and diseases in northern Australia, with a focus on identifying disease races of bacterial blight and rice blast.

  • Screening for disease resistance at pre-breeding stage and rating varietal trial sites for resistance.

  • Identifying management solutions at a paddock level, including ensuring access to treatment options through required data gathering for chemical registration.

  • Building capacity in rice plant pathology in Australia.

Agronomy and farming systems

Dr Keith Pembleton at USQ conducts the agronomic research for this project:

  • Mapping of the paddock scale losses of nutrients and pesticides from rice crops across potential rice growing areas in northern Australia.

  • Development of nutrient management plans that optimise rice yields across locations, varieties and plant populations while minimising environmental impacts.

  • Understanding the impact of irrigation practices on rice yield.

  • Understanding the farming system fit (including economics and profitability) for rice in northern Australia and the interactions between rice crop and the other systems components.

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Adam H. Sparks
Associate Professor of Field Crops Pathology