Native rice close to the dinner table

Tim DorninAAP
Researchers in the NT are continuing to develop native rice as a commercially viable crop.
Camera IconResearchers in the NT are continuing to develop native rice as a commercially viable crop. Credit: AAP

Putting Australian native rice on the dinner table is a step closer after a successful harvest by researchers in the Northern Territory.

A team from Charles Darwin University has been collecting rice from Wulna-Limilngan country on the Adelaide River and cultivating it in trials in the university's Casuarina campus nurseries.

This year the team also grew rice in demonstration plantings at the NT government's Coastal Plains Research Farm.

With native rice not yet a viable crop, Charles Darwin's Penny Wurm said it was important for researchers to continue to develop agronomic knowledge.

To that end, she said the latest harvest was a major milestone.

Fellow researcher Sean Bellairs said many issues remained to be resolved to support commercial development of the crop.

"We have developed solutions to germinating the seeds, but are continuing to develop threshing equipment, determining biological control practices for pests, and investigating its basic agronomy, such as planting density, fertiliser application rates and harvesting techniques," he said.

NT Agribusiness and Fisheries Minister Paul Kirby said the latest research was encouraging news for Territory growers.

"Our plant industries are valued at over $445 million to the economy each year and we know the Territory is one of the best places in the world for the production of agricultural commodities, with native rice now showing some real potential," Mr Kirby said.

"We will continue to back our research and programs that aim to adopt new technologies to grow our agriculture sector."

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