According to the Rice Research Australia (RRA) Manager, it has been reported that they are studying different rice varieties to determine which will be most useful for farming in the Mackay region. The Mackay region’s first commercial rice crop was harvested last year and although the industry is still very small in the area as it appears set for rapid growth, mainly in rotation with sugar cane crops. Further, the RRA manager Mr Russell Ford was in Mackay this week and revealed that the region should ideally have several different varieties at its disposal and we are trying to get the mix right for the farmer.
In this regard, trying, to get something that works in this environment that we are working in, which is a tropical environment most of the time, or tropical to sub-tropical. The rice plant needs to work in rotation with cane quite often and then it needs to have a root and plant system that can grow out of water. By that, it means a system of alternate wetting and drying. It is a bit like you water cane downs the farrows and this is unique, believe it or not. It has also been stated that it is not used around the rest of the world too much.
Further, it was narrated that the rice variety currently used in the Mackay region is doongara, which has proven successful in the dry winter and the wet summer. Mr Ford informed that the rice industry would never take over from sugar cane as the biggest agricultural crop in the Mackay region, since sugar cane was still so well suited to the environment.
However, he expected production to grow significantly from its small beginnings last year.