The AgriFutures Rice Program invests in research, development and extension (RD&E) that improves the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the Australian rice industry.
The Australian rice industry is a global leader for improved water use efficiency, with water use averaging 0.85 t/ML between 2012-2020 across all growing regions (ABARES, 2021a; ABS, 2021). Rice production is, however, extremely variable, due to climate, water-sharing arrangements and competition for available resources. In recent years, this has been compounded by drought, resulting in two consecutive seasons with average General Security irrigation water allocations of less than 5% and some of the lowest recorded production levels. Increased yield, a higher average price per tonne and decreased water use will drive the continued success of the Australian rice industry.
To safeguard the Australian rice industry, RD&E will be focused on four priorities:
1. Optimised genetic improvement, to accelerate genetic improvements in rice varieties through investment in a best practice breeding program.
2. Agronomy and farming systems, to increase on-farm productivity through investment in agronomy and crop management R&D.
3. Coordinated industry extension, to drive the increased adoption of R&D outcomes through a well-coordinated and effective extension program.
4. Strengthened industry capacity, to strengthen the scale and scope of capacity of the Australian rice industry to ensure it meets the challenges of the future.
Identified in conjunction with rice industry stakeholders, the aforementioned priorities form the basis of the Rice Program Strategic RD&E Plan 2021-2026. Strategic RD&E Plans are a key part of implementing AgriFutures Australia’s RD&E strategies and are the base on which investments are made on behalf of our levied industries. These Strategic RD&E Plans identify productivity and sustainability RD&E priorities and the planned outcomes for each industry. Each has an appropriate balance of productivity and sustainability RD&E priorities.