Traits of importance for aerobic 'DryRice' varieties for the Riverina region


The Australian rice production system in southern NSW has been reliant on flooded conditions and hence consumes large amounts of water. With increasing irrigation costs and water limitations to rice crops, varieties adapted to aerobic growing conditions are required. This project aims to develop screening methods to evaluate genetic variation in key traits (eg root morphology and transpiration) that contribute to aerobic adaptation and identify key donor varieties for the breeding program. The project aims to link phenotype to genotype and identified traits to genomic regions for the direct incorporation into the breeding program to maximize productivity of rice adapted to a new reduced water input system. In addition to aerobic adaptation traits, varieties will need to be cold tolerant. Thus, the proposed aerobic project will build on the outputs of the RIRDCUQ ‘Cold tolerant traits and QTLs for improved efficiency of rice breeding program’ (PRJ007580) project, which will end in May 2018. The aerobic project will utilise the highly successful UQ cold screen to evaluate new populations and novel genetic material supplied by NSWDPI, in addition the new project would harness the established capability, knowledge, and skills and cold tolerant germplasm outputs. This new prebreeding project will combine physiology with genomics to gain an understanding of the genetic basis for traits contributing to adaptation to aerobic conditions. Assuming an underlying cold tolerance and in combination with appropriate agronomy this will lead to opportunities for commercial aerobic production and improvement in water productivity at the farm level in southern Australia.



Research Organisation

The University of Queensland

Objective Summary

It is proposed that with optimal genotypes and best management practices, the yield level of aerobic rice can approach that of flooded systems, with the advantage of reduced irrigation water and hence higher water productivity. The main aim of this project is to identify donor varieties and traits/QTL that are associated with wellwatered aerobic conditions under drill seeding, which leads to development of sound screening methods for selecting rice genotypes adapted to such conditions. This prebreeding project will take a multidisciplinary approach to identify genetic variation in key traits (eg. root morphology and transpiration)/QTL that contribute to aerobic adaptation for the southern Australian production environment. The NSWDPI rice breeding program would then exploit identified donor varieties/traits/QTL for cold tolerance and aerobic adaptation by introgression into elite Australian germplasm. Furthermore, there is scope for the UQ Gatton research field site to be considered as a managed environment facility targeting Aerobic ‘DryRice’ production. The specific objectives are to identify: 1. genotypic variation and donor varieties for adaptation to aerobic conditions 2. the physiological mechanisms/traits related to adaptation of rice to aerobic conditions under drill seeding; 3. genomic regions and molecular markers that link genotype to phenotype; 4. evaluate agronomic performance of selected genotypes for aerobic rice systems for southern Australia; 5. UQ Gatton research field site as a ‘DryRice’ site for physiology research and variety selection for aerobic adaptation. These objectives would be achieved via activities conducted across 4 years in Gatton and Southern NSW field sites and UQ controlled temperature glasshouse facilities.

Project Code


Project Stage


Project Start Date

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Project Completion Date

Friday, June 10, 2022

Journal Articles From Project

Not Available

National Priority

An environmentally sustainable Australia

National Priority

Adoption of R&D

National Priority

RIC-Rice breeding - varieties and quality improvement