New rice variety takes the chill out of rice growing 02 Mar 2011

A new rice variety to be released today with increased cold tolerance is expected to result in higher returns for rice growers in south-eastern NSW by “buffering” rice plants against the cold.

YRM69 is a medium-grain rice cultivar, bred in NSW in a collaborative project between the Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation (RIRDC), Industry and Investment NSW and SunRice.

A “cold snap” at the time of pollination can severely affect crop yields and is one of the challenges facing rice growers in temperate areas of Australia. 

Cold snaps can cause yield reductions of 40% or more by impacting on pollination, reducing the amount of grain produced. 

“This new rice variety is one of the best and most looked forward to in a number of years,” said John de Majnik, RIRDC Senior Research Manager.

“There are high expectations for this variety to do well. In dry years when water is scarce and a premium commodity, irrigation farmers need a variety that is able to produce reliable yields despite fluctuations in temperatures. 

“YRM69 has 2 degrees Celsius better cold tolerance than existing varieties and greater water use efficiency. In all other quality aspects such as percentage whole grain after milling, colour and cooking quality, YRM69 matches those of existing mid-season medium grain cultivars.

“YRM69 has commonly been producing between two and four more tonnes of rice per hectare than the current commercial varieties when temperature extremes have been present. 

“We are very excited about this new variety because it is not only another tool for rice growers, but it also fits in with one of the key objectives of the RIRDC Rice Program which is varietal and rice quality improvement.”

In testing at 27 sites over seven years, YRM69 has demonstrated a 13% higher average yield than the leading medium grain variety ‘Amaroo’.

The new variety will be released and officially named at a field day today at Yanco Agricultural Institute. 

A new partnership agreement has been agreed upon by Industry and Investment New South Wales, SunRice and RIRDC that will enable variety development work to continue. 

The field day is a joint initiative of Industry & Investment NSW, Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, SunRice, Rice Research Australia Pty Ltd and RIRDC.

For more information on the field day contact John Lacy (NSW I&I) on 02 6951 2738 or 0427 311 821, or Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia   02 6953 0433