Farm Table says:
This fact sheet has been produced by the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia Inc and looks at the importance of water to rice production.
The production of food and fibre is dependent on water and rice growers know better than most the real value of water. Without it, Australian rice growers can’t plant a crop, make a living or continue to grow the rice which feeds up to 20 million people around the world everyday.
What farmers do to improve water use:
- follow strict regulations for the growing of rice
- undergo whole farm planning techniques
- recycle all their water
- grow shorter season rice varieties – these require less water for growth
- use the moisture left in the soil after harvest to plant another grain crop – they grow more crop per drop
- adopt high tech precision agriculture technology which delivers advancements in water use efficiency
The Australian rice industry is one of the most efficient users of water in the world.
Australian rice growers use 50% less water to grow one kilo of rice than the world average and are recognised worldwide for growing high quality rice varieties suited to Australia’s climate known as temperate rice. Water use per hectare continues to decline because of our commitment to developing high yielding rice that uses less water, and the use of world’s best management practices.
In Australia, rice is grown from October until March and in rotation with other crops such as wheat, barley and maize. Many of these crops grown in rotation with rice utilise the existing soil moisture from the harvested rice crops, meaning they don’t require further irrigation. This allows for further water savings and more efficient water usage, and effectively provides growers with two crops from the one application of water.
In conclusion, a common perception is that rice is a tropical crop, but almost all of the rice produced in Australia is Japonica, a variety which is perfectly suited to the dry temperate micro-climate of the Australian rice growing region.