Deniliquin Pastoral Times
Two out of three ain’t bad
Moulamein ricegrowers dominate the field of finalists in this year’s Rice Industry Awards.
Of the three finalists, two are from Moulamein — Michael and Belinda Gorey, along with Sara and Daryl Hall. The other is Darrell Fiddler of Bilbul, near Griffith.
The awards are designed to highlight the stand-out performers in rice growing, and recognise growers who are adopting best farming practices, achieving sustainability outcomes, and improving business management despite unpredictable climate and water conditions.
Rice extension officer Harriet Brickhill said in what had been a much better year for the rice industry, the awards had attracted three strong finalists who had all demonstrated a commitment to excellence in all aspects of rice growing.
The 2021 finalists are as follows: ● Michael and Belinda Gorey, Moulamein who grow rice in rotation with winter cereals and opportunity lamb fattening. The Goreys have a forward-thinking approach to utilising water with sophisticated recycling and storage that positions them to take advantage of opportunity. The Goreys achieved an impressive 13.2t/ha of Reiziq in C21 across their farm business.
● Sara and Daryl Hall, Moulamein who grow rice as part of their mixed enterprise with sons Nathan and Daniel. Over the last two years they have undertaken significant re-lasering to transition to drill sowing, and in C21 they drill sowed over 50 per cent of their crop. The Halls have a smooth generation transition occurring, with all family members driven and focused on the same goal of investigating new and better ways to continue to grow rice.
● Darrell Fiddler, Bilbul (Operations Manager for DeBortoli Wines) who grows rice as part of a rotation with other irrigated summer crops and winter cereals. Darrell has a strong focus on improving his water productivity through management and successfully automated the irrigation for a Viand crop in C21.
The 2021 SunRice Grower of The Year Award is judged by a panel of three judges including two industry representatives and one independent judge.
The panel noted all finalists displayed passion for the industry, and each day their purpose is doing the best that they can for their business, family, community, and rice industry. They were impressed to see the longevity of all three families’ involvement in agriculture and the rice industry, and all had businesses that operate with strong family values.
The panel assessed applications based on eight key areas including: production and agronomy, water use efficiency, innovation and technology, business management, sustainability, work health and safety, and industry and community involvement.
“We would like to thank the finalists for their generosity and willingness to open up their business and operation for us,” Erin Draper, the 2021 Judge and C20 Grower of the Year, said.
She said all finalists typified the progressive Australian farmer, with all of them modest by nature and none of them believed they were doing anything but what they should be doing.
“Yet they each showed a justifiable sense of pride in what they were doing, and all are worthy contestants.”
Ms Draper also indicated that all finalists met the criteria, but the judges were looking for the one standout that could really showcase the innovative side of the industry, someone who was really pushing the boundaries in farming operations.
The SunRice Grower of the Year winner receives a $2500 support package to help them further expand their business such as through personal or business development, and a nomination for the Australian Farmer of the Year Award (Kondinin Group).
The winner will be announced at the Rice Industry Awards Dinner to be held at the Whitton Malt House, in Whitton, NSW on Thursday, August 12. A SunRice Grower of the Year Field Day will also be held to showcase the award recipients’ farming practices, which will be held Thursday, December 9.