Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Dawn of a New Rice Age; RURAL WEEKLYRAINFED RICE COMP

Newspaper article Daily Examiner (Grafton, Australia)

Dawn of a New Rice Age; RURAL WEEKLYRAINFED RICE COMP

Article excerpt

IT'S EASY to purchase a bag of rice off the supermarket shelf but just one kilogram of Australian rice requires 1550 litres of waterA to bring it to your dining table.

Now the tables are set to turn with the arrival of a new variety of rain-fed rice.

The biodynamic brown rice has been grown using just rainfall in the lush Northern Rivers region of NSW, just west of sub-tropical Byron Bay, saving approximately 465 million litres of waterA Co the amount normally taken to produce a crop of rice using irrigation (flooded paddy fields) Co equivalent to 186 Olympic-size swimming pools.

Most Australian rice is grown in the Murray-Darling region using massive amounts of water via irrigation (flooded paddy fields), the standard method for rice farming.

This year almost 318 billion litres of water was used to produce 205,000 tonnes of Australian rice using this method.

"The average Australian adult consumes approximately 10 kilograms of rice per year. By switching to rain-fed rice, just one person can save approximately 15,500 litres of precious Australian water each year," said Ryan Hamilton, manager of Santos Trading, who is distributing the rice nationally.

The Northern Rivers of NSW is a region well suited to rain-fed rice growing because of its high rainfall and while it has been grown for two seasons, this is the first time it has been made available on such a scale.

Plentiful rainfall has resulted in a bumper crop, passing price benefits onto consumers who can now buy biodynamic rice at half the cost of last season's rice.

"You can save money and do your bit for the environment," said Mr Hamilton.

Mr Hamilton also pointed out that the rice is grown and milled on Slater Farms in Northern NSW and is distributed directly from there, so it doesn't travel as far to get to the kitchen table.

"Consumers, particularly those in NSW and Queensland, have the additional benefit of saving food miles because they are getting rice more directly. …

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