New rice variety YRM70 meets Middle East, Japan demand and yields grower support


A new cold tolerant, short season and water efficient medium grain rice variety is being hailed a game changer by Australian industry.

The variety YRM70 is being trialled by a selection of conventional and organic growers this season.

A rice breeder at Yanco Agricultural Institute, the NSW Department of Primary Industry's Centre of Excellence for Sustainable Rice and Horticulture, said the new variety will supersede or supplement medium grain variety Reiziq.

"Reiziq is the favoured medium grain variety, but it's a long season variety and is generally sown in October," said breeder Peter Snell of the variety popular with growers since 2011.

"YRM70 will provide growers with the option to sow as late as November and even into December."

The later sowing option has been welcomed as it saves on water costs for irrigation.

Mr Snell said the new variety also met export market demand for medium grain rice.

    "The market for a bigger medium grain in the Middle East and Japan is very lucrative and where we [Australian grown rice] need to be," he said.

"We need to be supplying rice that is of sizeable difference to Koshi, short grain rice, and this variety meets that need.

"We need to scale up medium grain production to meet that Middle East demand and with Reiziq currently we sometimes struggle with getting the quantity.

"The wider margin for sowing with YRM70 will make it that we can make meet that demand."

Barham rice grower David McConnell has been trialling YRM70 on his property this season.

    "Early indications for the crop are positive. It got away quickly at germination and establishment. It had a head start on the weeds which are normally an issue in organic crops," he said.

"The jury is still out until harvest when we see how it yields and mills out."

Mr McConnell said a new variety that reduces water use and can be sown later was welcomed by organic growers.

"We have our fingers crossed for it, I think this new variety could be a game changer," he said.

YRM70 has taken seven years to develop and could be released to growers as early as next season.


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