Double your harvests and cut water use with new rice variety

SUBSCRIBE to our fortnightly email newsletter to receive more stories like this. Field of rice: A new rice variety, Viand, launched by NSW DPI in mid-March 2018, is up to 10 percent more water-efficient than comparable medium-grain varieties thanks to its shorter growing season.

A new, high-yielding, fast-maturing medium-grain rice variety has been launched onto the Australian market.

Developed by NSW Department of Primary Industries scientists in collaboration with SunRice and AgriFutures Australia, the new variety was released for commercial use on 14 March 2018 at a rice-industry field day hosted by NSW’s Yanco Agricultural Institute.

Compared with existing varieties, the new rice variety, known as Viand, has a short growing season that results in water-efficiency gains of up to 10 percent and enables growers to harvest two rice crops a year.

On launching the new variety, NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) Director General, Scott Hansen applauded its winning combination of water-saving attributes and suitability for high-value markets.

“In late-sown on-farm trials, Viand outperformed medium-grain Reiziq rice by 107 percent per megalitre of water,” Hansen said. “Shorter-season varieties add flexibility to farming systems, giving growers options to manage risk and extend the sowing window for rice.”

Local rice growers Chris and Sue Hardy, who participated in commercial trials of Viand – or YRM70, as it was then known – were able to ‘double crop’ with irrigated winter crops and extend the usual sowing window for rice, enabling them to utilise late irrigation-water allocations.

“We grew five Viand crops in two-and-a-half years in a 25-hectare paddock,” Chris recalled, “alternating Viand with winter cereals on an irrigation layout of beds in bays.

“Double-cropping improved our returns, allowing us to take advantage of available water to deliver a system which, arguably, gives us the best return on our available asset base.”

AgriFutures’ GM for research and innovation Michael Beer noted that the new variety addresses a key industry challenge: that of growing more rice with less water. 

“Rice growers can look forward to the benefits of Viand, backed with a sound agronomic package, and ... bred with more tolerance to cold damage,” Beer said. “This new rice variety allows for better yields across seasons.”

Developed to minimise water use while maximising grower returns, Viand meets the requirements of high-value domestic and export markets.

Its commercial Australian release marks 90 years of rice breeding by NSW DPI and the 110-year anniversary of its research station at Yanco.

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