Australian Rice Industry | Sustainable Environment | Sustainability | SunRice
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Did you know? Rice is better suited to the Australian climate than you might think


Rice is grown on every continent on earth, except Antarctica.

The Australian rice industry is a world leader in production efficiency, water use efficiency and environmental sustainability.

We have been growing rice here for over 100 years and have established a vibrant and efficient industry incorporating years of Australian expertise and know how. As a direct result of our R&D investment, Australian grown rice uses 50% less water than the global average and we achieve amongst the highest yields in the world.

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Investing in North Queensland to create new and successful communities and sources of supply


A reliable, sustainable supply chain is a foundation of SunRice’s five year strategy and our commitment to build a sustainable rice industry and sustainable supply chain in North Queensland, is a part of that. Improving the lives of the communities in which we operate. In 2013 when we began to pilot rice growing and processing in the region. Since then we have invested significantly in research and development and extension support to help local sugarcane farmers understand the value of integrating rice into existing cropping systems.

A tropical rice industry of scale would create significant additional economic activity and jobs, support farmers with additional cropping opportunities, and grow branded food exports from Queensland to the rest of Australia and key export markets.

Building a sustainable rice industry in North Queensland will create jobs and delivers numerous economic and social benefits to the community.

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Why grow rice in North Queensland


Local climatic conditions in North Queensland are particularly suited to growing specialty rices, including fragrant and long grain rice types. Tropical climates are generally better for growing Indica rice than temperate climates.

Secure water supply, including irrigation and summer rainfall, contributes to the attractiveness of rice growing in this region. These supplies include the Burdekin and Emerald distribution systems, as well as the rain-fed North Tropical Coast from Ingham to Gordonvale.

Rice is already being grown across North Queensland in irrigated as well as tropical rainfed areas. Areas with suitable growing conditions include Lakeland, Atherton Tablelands, Innisfail, Tully, Ingham, Burdekin, Proserpine and Mackay.

Rice is a natural fit for the existing cropping systems in North Queensland within a sugar/rice/pulse rotation. Farmers traditionally have a fallow (uncultivated) period between sugar plantings and rice can be introduced as an alternative into this crop rotation thereby generating additional income. Crop rotation also generally provides benefits to productivity of the soil and the yields of future crops.

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“Growers who have added rice to their farming system are seeing improved soil structure and conditions after the rice crop and we’d expect them to see gains in the cane crop immediately after planting,” said Russell Ford, Manager of Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd (RRAPL), a subsidiary of SunRice.

Ongoing research, development and extension effort in North Queensland is focusing in on how to best manage rotations along with irrigation systems, varieties, nutrition and disease control.

SunRice has an excellent track record in R&D investing substantially in research with the benefits being felt across its rice growing regions.

Rice Research Australian Pty Ltd (RRAPL) was established by SunRice as a fully owned subsidiary for the specific purpose of carrying out rice research and development and our multi-decade investment in research and innovation has helped increase yields throughout our global supply chain. Our Australian rice uses 50% less water than the global average; the outcome of our multi-decade commitment to research and development in new varieties.

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Leveraging our industry expertise and rice research and development


SunRice has an excellent track record in R&D investing substantially in research with the benefits being felt across all its rice growing regions. SunRice has an active rice research program in Australia’s Riverina, North Queensland, Papua New Guinea and Vietnam which seeks to:

  • Develop new rice varieties using traditional breeding techniques with a Northern Australian breeding program running since 2009.
  • Target tropically adapted varietals suited to the North Queensland climate and growing conditions.
  • Develop a sustainable farming system where rice is complementary to existing cropping operations to allow greater choice for producers.
  • Improve economic returns to growers by maximising the benefits of applied nutrients and crop protection measures.
  • Use extensive field-based trials in collaboration with tertiary institutions and local service providers.
  • Improve grain quality to ensure that Australian grown rice remains the product of choice.
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Efficient use of resources


We are committed to the efficient use of natural resources, including energy and water, the reduction in waste and the enhancement of biodiversity. Operating a sustainable business model across all our activities is part of ensuring SunRice has an ongoing social licence to operate into the future, and is necessary to support our long term success and growth. We will continue to collaborate with growers, industry, government, suppliers and customers to innovate and contribute to continuous improvement initiatives. We will find solutions to and prepare for the risks associated with climate change, including setting measures to improve management of water and energy.

The SunRice Group acknowledges the existence of physical and transitional risks and opportunities induced by climate change and is committed to work towards implementing the recommendations of the Task force on Climate-related Financial Disclosure (“TCFD”). Read more in our Annual Report.

The Australian rice industry is a world leader in production efficiency, water use efficiency and environmental management.

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