Researchers deliver results at Wagga rice symposium

Chris Blanchard

Chris Blanchard

BOOSTING profits by enhancing rice quality was at the centre of a rice industry symposium in Wagga this week. 

It was a chance for those at the coalface of the industry to learn about the latest developments in scientific research.

Rice cracking – or breaking down of the grain – is one of the banes of the industry and can reduce returns to the grower.

New work outlined by NSW Department of Primary Industries researcher Dr Mark Talbot of Yanco promises to help growers identify a percentage of “cracked” rice. 

He said the automation of this was needed specifically for rice destined for “puffing” which is used in breakfast cereals or sushi rice. 

“If you have a cracked grain of rice it doesn’t puff properly … this is potentially a problem that affects the whole supply chain.” 

The event was hosted by the Functional Grains Centre and the centre’s director, Professor Chris Blanchard said it was an opportunity to bring members of the industry together to learn about new research. 

“This is the first time we have got all of the industry players together in a grain-quality space, we quite often bring people together in the production space,” Professor Blanchard said. 

He said there was a surprising amount of research related to the rice industry being conducted in the southern NSW region. The symposium highlighted a number of rice industry inroads including research into coloured rice and also the health benefits of the grain. 

“The aim was to bring together stakeholders including growers, processors and scientists to highlight current projects to improve rice quality and to develop a plan for future investment in research and development,” he said. 

The symposium also heard from the Australian Farm Institute’s general manager research Richard Heath and NSW Trade and Investment senior export adviser Mr Wayne Murphy.