A new rice variety YRM70 is being tested by a selection of conventional and organic Australian rice growers this season. A new cold tolerant, short season and water efficient medium grain rice variety is being hailed a game changer by Australian industry. Peter Snell, a rice breeder at Yanco Agricultural Institute, the NSW Department of Primary Industry’s Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rice and Horticulture, said the new variety will supersede or supplement medium grain variety Reiziq which is popular with the growers since 2011. “YRM70 will provide growers with the option to sow as late as November and even into December,” he said. The later sowing option has been welcomed as it saves on water costs for irrigation.
Mr Snell informed that the new variety also met export market demand for medium grain rice. “The market for a bigger medium grain in the Middle East and Japan is very lucrative and where we (Australian grown rice) need to be. We need to be supplying rice that is of sizeable difference to Koshi, short grain rice, and this variety meets that need. We need to scale up medium grain production to meet that Middle East demand and with Reiziq currently we sometimes struggle with getting the quantity. The wider margin for sowing with YRM70 will make it that we can make meet that demand,” he explained.
Barham rice grower David McConnell has also been conducting trials of YRM70 on his property this season. “Early indications for the crop are positive. It got away quickly at germination and establishment. It had a head start on the weeds which are normally an issue in organic crops,” he said. “The jury is still out until harvest when we see how it yields and mills out and we have our fingers crossed for it, I think this new variety could be a game changer,” he expressed. YRM70 has taken seven years to develop and could be released to growers as early as next season. A new variety that reduces water use and can be sown later was welcomed by organic rice growers.