Deniliquin Pastoral Times

Solid season predicted

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The uptake of fixed price rice contracts for the 2021/2022 rice season (crop year 2022) points to a solid season, according to world renowned food company SunRice.

Fixed price contracts were offered in August, ahead of the planting window opening this month.

SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur said the contracts were very strongly supported, with a significan­t volume contracted before the offer was closed.

‘‘SunRice has offered initial fixed price contracts and announced the opening of a pool, both of which have been very strongly supported by our growers,’’ he said.

“And as we look forward to planting for the 2022 crop, we are pleased that with the improved water availabili­ty and lower water prices there is a strong desire from growers across the Riverina to plant rice.’’

SunRice has also confirmed it is operating a pool for the coming season; seed orders for which opened in midSeptemb­er.

It has also recorded a very strong response from growers for both the initial fixed price contracts and pool for the 2022 crop that will be harvested from about March next year.

At this early stage, SunRice expects the 2022 crop to yield more than the 417,000 paddy tonnes harvested earlier this year.

Mr Arthur said there was ‘‘particular­ly strong demand’’ for the new rice variety V071, which is in its final year of commercial trial.

The cold-tolerant, high yield potential medium grain variety has so far proven popular with farmers, but SunRice’s official verdict is yet to be given.

‘‘While V071 performed well as part of trials in the 2021 season, it will take a large-scale commercial trial to fully assess its ongoing suitabilit­y, which will occur in the 2022 season,’’ Mr Arthur said.

Crop year 2021 is the best result for SunRice in a number of years.

The 2020 season suffered due to drought, the effect of COVID19 on the economy, high water prices and low water availabili­ty — partially due to water reform.

The 417,000 tonne crop followed near-record low crops of 45,000 paddy tonnes in 2020, and 54,000 paddy tonnes in 2019.

‘‘SunRice is now in the midst of processing and marketing the 2021 Riverina rice crop which we harvested earlier this year, and was close to 10 times larger than the extremely small production of 2020,’’ Mr Arthur said.

The company expected up to 450,000 tonnes would be processed this year, according to its December 2020 report.

‘‘This has allowed us to ramp up production on our Riverina facilities, and enabled the company to be in the process of returning Australian branded rice products to our most premium markets around the world.’’

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 ?? ?? Laurie Arthur.
RIGHT: V071 rice samples taken for tissue testing.
Laurie Arthur. RIGHT: V071 rice samples taken for tissue testing.

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