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Insects, amphibians and birdlife
Matt Herring and our growers talk about how our Australian rice farms support a thriving ecosystem of insects, amphibians and birdlife.
Supporting biodiversity in rice
The rice industry was the first agricultural industry in Australia to develop a Biodiversity Strategy and Plan in partnership with the CSIRO. This plan strives to ensure that plants and animals can live productively within the rice growing environment.
Rice farms provide habitat for over one hundred bird species such as brolgas, spoonbills, honeyeaters, parrots and the endangered Australasian Bittern.
Findings from The University of Canberra have shown that around 500 million native frogs are found on rice farms throughout the rice growing region and the endangered Southern Bell Frog relies on the rice industry for its survival.
Our rice growers are implementing measures on and around their farms that strive to ensure that native plants and animals can live in harmony with the rice-growing environment.
Some of these activities include planting and maintaining areas of native vegetation and ensuring Black Box and Red Gum woodlands are flooded occasionally to rejuvenate wetland species.See More
A home for endangered Bitterns
The Bitterns in Rice Project began in 2010 when a Riverina rice grower photographed a pair of Australasian Bitterns in his rice crop. Knowing little about these elusive birds he sent the photo to Birdlife Australia, who contacted the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia to investigate how they could work together to learn more about this endangered bird.
Through continued study the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia found that Australasian Bitterns nest and raise their chicks in rice crops.
Initial findings highlight the birds’ preference for aerially planted crops. We believe this is due to the practice of flooding rice crops with water earlier in the season giving the birds enough time to nest and raise chicks.
Providing habitat in natural wetlands, farm dams, drains and other areas are ways in which rice farmers help to conserve this endangered bird.
Learn more about the Bitterns in Rice Project here www.bitternsinrice.com.au/See More