2017 International Temperate Rice Conference hits home with Griffith growers and stakeholders

Griffith growers and industry stakeholders have continued learning from the world’s best of the best as the International Temperate Rice Conference hit its third day on Wednesday.

The opportunities locally haven’t stopped with growers and have extended to other industry stakeholders many of whom are also grasping the chance to learn what they can while Griffith enjoys a position as the centre of the rice world.

Griffith man and Sinochem chemical rep Kevin Sternberg said for him the conference was a chance to catch up on the significant leaps and bounds the rice industry has made in his absence.

“This is a culmination of everybody’s research from a high level shown this morning where they were discussing the aromatic constituents in fragrant rice – right down to local John Lacey’s Finley rice groups and how their extension is organised down there,” he said.

While some of the research being brought to the table was being developed by scientists miles away from life in the Riverina, it’s all important when it comes to moving the interconnected rice industry forward, according to Mr Sternberg.

“Our local breeders will use those characteristics when developing the rice varieities and and I think a lot of these other areas can take some of the things we do here and transpose them back into the rest of the world,” Mr Sternberg said.

“I think it is quite obvious that the Australian Rice industry is leading the world in a lot of our techniques and that has come out quite clearly in a lot of the presentations.”

Of particular interest to Mr Sternberg was some of the latest hybrid rice technologies discussed, which give farmers the ability to gain an extra 15 to 20 per cent in yields.

“If we can increase our 14 to 15 tonnes we are getting now per hectare by an extra tonne then that is a lot of money in the long run,” he said.

“And if you are growing more rice off the same area with the same amount of water you are getting better water efficiency.”

It was a point that would resonate with many in the region who, after battling with the issue of water for years now, are focused on innovation to help them do more with less.

It was an effort Benerembah farmer Drew Braithwaite was able to demonstrate to the 120 strong tour of his own farm on Monday.

Mr Braitwaite’s tour displayed weed management, nutrition and seeding techniques to the crowd as well as drone capabilities, breeding programs, Malcolm Taylor’s chemical use and the benefits of having an entire farm set up with wi-fi.

“Everyone that I spoke with got a different thing out of the tour,” he said.

“It was good to show not just what we are doing, but what the whole area is doing to move forward.”