Mehreen Enterprises

How Rice is Grown

Australia produces temperate varieties of rice that prefer warm wet conditions, which makes the NSW Riverina an ideal climate for rice production. Rice grows as an irrigated summer crop in Australia from September to March. Rice is a semi-aquatic plant that requires constant moist conditions for survival.

Farm Planning:

Prior to planting rice, our growers must ensure their farm meets the strict guidelines for rice production. Once approved, many farmers design a whole farm plan to assist in managing the efficient use of natural resources and to determine the most suitable rotations. Many rice growers have already invested in designing whole farm plans.

Most farms use laser-guided land leveling techniques to prepare the ground for production. Land leveling is one of the most effective and widely adopted techniques to improve management. Farmers have precise control over the flow of water on and off the land. Such measurement strategies have contributed to a 60% improvement in water use efficiency.

Sowing The Seed:

Planting begins in September

Most rice is sown by aircraft in Australia. Experienced agricultural pilots use satellite guidance technology to broadcast seed accurately over the fields.
Prior to sowing, the seed is soaked for 24 hours and drained for 24 hours, leaving a tiny shoot visible on the seed. Once sown it slowly settles in the soft mud and within three to four days develops quite a substantial root system and leaf shoot. Within 10 days, the small shoots emerge through the water surface.
About 120kg of seed is sown per hectare. This results in around 300 plants per square metre.

Our Australian rice is the cleanest in the world and this is because of minimal chemical use.

The rice bays are treated with a chemical application; this prevents damage by pests and weeds. Without this treatment, crop losses would be extensive. In the last 100 days, the rice plant has no chemical applications so when harvested it is virtually chemical free.

After Planting

Fresh water is released from irrigation supply channels to flow across each paddy field until the rice plants are well established. Water levels are maintained at 5-25cm depending on growing conditions.

Growing Phase

January – February: Depending on the variety, the plants flower and begin to bear their harvest of rice grains in their husks. The rice plant has a main stem and a number of 'tillers' which each bear a terminal flowering head or 'panicle'. Normally each plant will produce four or five tillers. Rice plants are self-pollinated.

The roots of established plants are fibrous, freely branched and hairy, growing in the top 10cm of soil. High temperatures and the addition of nitrogen and phosphate fertilisers improve growth.

Rice contains a very high percentage of carbohydrates (ranging from 23.3 to 25.5 grams per 100 grams of cooked rice). As a matter of fact, 90% of the calories in rice come from carbohydrates. Rice, a complex carbohydrate food, provides more vitamins, minerals, and fiber than simple carbohydrate foods.

March – April: Large grain harvesters mechanically harvest rice in autumn. As the grain begins to mature, the farmers 'lock up' the water on the bays. This means no water leaves the paddock, it is fully utilised by the rice plant. The soil then dries out in time for harvest to commence.

Once harvested, the rice is commonly named paddy rice. This is the name given to unmilled rice with its protective husk in place.