Extension for improved efficiency and sustainability in the Australian rice industry

  • 31 pages

  • Published: 4 Oct 2022

  • Author(s): Troy Mauger

  • ISBN: 978-1-76053-305-2

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To achieve widespread practice change on-farm resulting from research and development investments, effective extension to industry is critical. The project ‘Extension for improved efficiency and sustainability in the Australian rice industry’, delivered by Rice Extension through the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, aimed to coordinate on-ground extension providers and R&D activities, to improve adoption of best management practices and ensure incorporation of natural resource management on-farm.

The project aligned with Objective 4 of the AgriFutures Rice Program RD&E Plan 2016/17 – 2021/22 – Extension, sustainability and human capital – and provided effective extension for uptake of rice research outputs. Extension activities focused on water use efficiency, precision farming, business management, sustainability, working with SunRice to report industry data to growers, and building industry capacity.

Partnerships were further developed with industry bodies for effective cross-industry extension; use of SunRice industry data to investigate research and extension gaps across regions, varieties, soil types and grower types meant extension and research could be targeted for effectiveness. Additionally, Rice Extension collaboration with SunRice and the Ricegrowers’ Association (RGA) environment team helped raise awareness of and improve Australian growers’ sustainability credentials.

Over the life of the project, the objectives were achieved – growers increased adoption of management practices, such as drill sowing, and new technology/crop inputs, such as Agixa® herbicide for grass control in drill-sown rice. The Rice Extension team also ensured growers were informed and had the opportunity to share innovative ideas, which going forward will lead to a sustainable and productive rice industry.