A new rice variety has been released in the Riverina today

Alison Bowman

Alison Bowman

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) plant systems group director, Alison Bowman, today launched a new rice variety, Viand, which combines water-saving attributes with the ability to fit high-value markets. Speaking at the rice industry field day at the Yanco Agricultural Institute, Dr Bowman said Viand offers growers up to 10 per cent water-use efficiency gains on existing varieties.

“NSW DPI, in partnership with SunRice and AgriFutures Australia, has bred a high-yielding, fast maturing, medium grain rice, which delivers water saving advantages through its shorter growing season,” Dr Bowman said. “In late sown on-farm trials Viand outperformed medium grain Reiziq rice by 107 per cent per megalitre of water.” “Shorter season varieties add flexibility to farming systems, giving growers options to manage risk and extend the sowing window for rice.”

Local rice growers, Chris and Sue Hardy, grew Viand in commercial trials when it was known as YRM70 and were able to double crop with irrigated winter crops and extend the rice sowing window to utilise late irrigation water allocations.

“We grew five Viand crops in two and a half years in a 25-hectare paddock, alternating Viand with winter cereals on an irrigation layout of beds in bays,” Mr Hardy said. “Double cropping improved our returns, allowing us to take advantage of available water to deliver a system which arguably gives us the best return on our available asset base.” AgriFutures Australia General Manager Research and Innovation, Michael Beer, said the new variety addresses the key industry challenge of growing more rice with less water.

“Rice growers can look forward to the benefits of Viand, backed with a sound agronomic package and a variety bred with more tolerance to cold damage, this new rice variety allows for better yields across seasons,” Mr Beer said.

Aimed at maximising grower returns, Viand meets the requirements of high value domestic and export markets and should prove popular with growers and consumers. The release of Viand marks 90 years of rice breeding by NSW DPI and the 110-year anniversary of the research station at Yanco.