New South Wales rice farmers avoid aerial sowing in new planting method
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.
FAMILY AFFAIR: Nancy Lashbrook and her son Matthew, at their rice farm Lionola, Colleambally.
TEAMWORK: Nancy Lashbrook and her son Matthew on their rice farm Lionola, Colleambally.