The 2023 Australian Rice Growers' Conference has highlighted the latest and greatest in technologies and innovation aiming at future-proofing the rice industry.
Growers, technology developers and researchers met at Griffith Regional Theatre on August 10 and 11 to discuss what could be done to ensure the industry is protected and thrives into the years to come.
Keynote speaker Tim Jarvis is an environmental scientist, adventurer and author who spoke on the lessons he'd learnt during his 13 trips to Antarctica, and elaborated that Australia needed to take a leadership role in addressing the environmental impacts of rice.
"Rice as an industry has a big carbon footprint ... methane is just part of the process," he said.
"We've got a role to play in terms of leadership. Things like using less water, making sure that fertilisers are embedded deep ... it's about thinking through what that future looks like, the mission changes."
Researchers at the University of Queensland showed off their latest work in identifying and fostering heat-resistant, cold-resistant and disease-resistant rice breeds, while Deakin University professor John Hornbuckle ran a demonstration of wifi-enabled monitors and irrigation gates enabling aerobic rice growth.
Limiting the amount of water needed to grow rice was a key element, with the University of Queensland researchers and Mr Jarvis both commenting that with climate change reducing available water, water-saving measures would be key to the rice industry's progression.
Mr Jarvis added that still water attracted bacterias that produced methane, so being able to grow aerobic rice would limit that impact as well as save water.
Member for Albury Justin Clancy also came along, and said that it was good to be able to share insight and lessons with each other.
"We've got an exciting industry that's really about being productive in a sustainable way. Sustainable for the environment and sustainable for communities - there's a really strong positive message that we need to hear," he said.