Yesterday we both attended the 2018 Rice Industry Field Day at Yanco. It was an interesting day with research displays, trips to the field stations & guest speakers including Kellogg’s and Sunrice.
The morning was spent looking at research displays over morning tea, and then a presentation by Kellogg’s about the importance of grain quality for their business.
We then travelled to the Leeton Field Station where we heard from Brian Dunn, Research Agronomist NSW DPI, Rachael Wood, PhD Candidate CSU, NSW DPI, Mark Stevens, Entomologist NSW DPI & Peter Snell, Rice Breeder NSW DPI. The main topics of conversations were about pest management, grain quality, delayed permanent water & the trials the research team are implementing to determine ways to improve water efficiency & yield without impacting grain quality.
In the afternoon we heard from both Laurie Arthur, Chairman Sunrice and Rob Gordon, CEO Sunrice who expressed the 2017 base price was $365 (up $50 in 6 months). They were also very optimistic for the 2019 season although mentioned no price range, which implied it should be at least the same as this season, or more likely higher, but without a pricing range it will be hard for farmers to plan ahead especially with forward water prices currently selling for $200/ML for the 2018/2019 water season. Contracts were mentioned for 2019 but no mention of tonnage, variety or price.
It was also pleasing to hear that the GrowRice program helps smaller farmers or new growers with $1000 per hectare to assist with expenditures such as water prior to planting, at an interest rate of around 4.5%. Sunrice also stated there is multiple payment plans available including a 75%/25% payment or a monthly payment plan over 12 month period which now allows farmers more flexibility.
Rob Gordon advised that he is expecting a 600 paddy tonne harvest for this season and flagged an increased premium for low GI rice, and Koshi (sushi) rice over medium grain moving into the 2019 season. The US crop, US dollar, milling yields and crop size all were factors on pricing.