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Australia - Rice yields high
Rice production has bounced back for the southern Riverina, with tonnages expected to resume to more normal volumes this year. With the harvest about 70 per cent complete, the Rice Growers Co-operative has reported the intake so far has doubled last season's record low production total.

Drought and bad weather conditions hit rice croppers hard from 2003 to 2005.

Prior to the drought, rice farmers were reaping about 1.25 million tonnes annually.

Dry conditions saw the level fall back to about 390 000 tonnes in 2003, 529 000 tonnes in 2004 and 305 000 tonnes last year.

Rice Growers Co-operative grower services manager Mike Hedditch said payments totalling $75 million were being distributed to growers this week, for the fourth payment for the 2005 crop and the payment for the first two weeks' delivery of the 2006 season.

Mr Hedditch said the recovery was good news for the wider community as the company was lifting employment levels.

"We have put on an extra 90 fulltime positions as well as a number of casual places," Mr Hedditch said.

The crop quality has been affected by hot conditions later in the season when the heads were filling, leading to some cracked grain.

"However, the quality in terms of what is produced for the customer will be excellent," Mr Hedditch said.

Asked about the effect of the low water storage levels on the outlook for next season, Mr Hedditch said the major inflow period in winter and spring was still ahead.

"There is a reasonable prospect of average rain in winter and spring which should see a reasonable amount available at rice planting time in October."

The rice harvest was about seven to 10 days earlier this year.

A total of 790 000 tonnes had been delivered to last week.

Rice Growers Co-operative, trading as SunRice, is Australia's largest exporter of processed branded-food products and the fifth largest rice food company in the world.

Mayrung (between Finley, Deniliquin and Conargo) rice farmer Keith McAllister said the season was the best his family had experienced.

"It's extraordinary - we've (the McAllister family) been growing rice since 1976 and it's the best season we've seen," Mr McAllister said.

He said about 400 ha of Langi and Quest rice planted late October and early November yielded about 11.5 tonne/ha, an increase of more than 30 per cent from last year's crop.

"The yields have been exceptional because of the solar radiation energy," Mr McAllister said.

"It was a long, hot summer with plenty of sunlight and heat."

He said the family used water efficient rice varieties and had a target of 1 tonne of rice production/Ml of water.
MGR Archive 26.4.2006
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Russia Rapan $ 700
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USA Calrose #1 $830
USA Calrose #1 Paddy $480
EU Prices Baldo €660
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