BIG DIV­I­DENDS

New South Wales rice farm­ers avoid aerial sow­ing in new plant­ing method

The Northern Star - Northern New South Wales Rural Weekly - - Front Page -

NANCY and David Lash­brook are hop­ing a dif­fer­ent ap­proach to sow­ing rice will pay div­i­dends when har­vest be­gins in a few weeks.

The cou­ple near Coleam­bally, NSW, di­rectly drilled their crop this sea­son, in­stead of us­ing aerial sow­ing.

Nancy said the process helped to save wa­ter in a year when al­lo­ca­tions on the Mur­rumbidgee reached only 34 per cent.

They moved to the farm, which was owned by David’s par­ents, five years ago, and grow rice, wheat, bar­ley and oats.

David said they had had 100 per cent al­lo­ca­tion for only two of the five years.

De­spite the dry sum­mer, Nancy said the 23ha of reziq and 48ha of langi were look­ing good.

“We’ve had a few is­sues with snails and a few mice around,” Nancy said.

David said they had “a pretty or­di­nary start but a good fin­ish to the sea­son”.

“It would be great if the reziq went 12 and a half to 13 tonnes to the hectare and the langi looks good. It might go 10 to 10 and a half tonnes,” he said.

NSW Depart­ment of Pri­mary In­dus­tries south­ern crop­ping di­rec­tor Deb Slinger said re­searchers were help­ing to fine-tune agro­nomic prac­tices, which de­liv­ered wa­ter sav­ings and could in­crease gross mar­gins by up to 59 per cent.

“A com­bi­na­tion of direct-drill sow­ing and de­layed per­ma­nent wa­ter can save grow­ers up to 4.5ML a hectare com­pared with aerial sow­ing and tra­di­tional rice ir­ri­ga­tion, and that ex­tra wa­ter is avail­able to grow more rice and in­crease gross mar­gins,” Ms Slinger said.

The lat­est re­sults from a pro­ject be­tween the NSW DPI and Charles Sturt Univer­sity will fo­cus on fac­tors af­fect­ing whole rice grain yield.

The pro­ject looks at how ir­ri­ga­tion man­age­ment, plant den­si­ties, ni­tro­gen rates and tim­ing can af­fect grain qual­ity.

PHOTO: YURI KOUZMIN

FAM­ILY AF­FAIR: Nancy Lash­brook and her son Matthew, at their rice farm Lionola, Col­leam­bally.

PHOTO: YURI KOUZMIN

TEAM­WORK: Nancy Lash­brook and her son Matthew on their rice farm Lionola, Col­leam­bally.

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