Output 2 % yoy $256m

Production down

22 % yoy

Average yield


tonnes per hectare


High yields

Rice production declined by 22% year-on-year. Lower water allocations ahead of the season contributed to reductions in the area planted to rice, however favourable growing conditions resulted in high yields.

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Coding the rice crack

NSW DPI developed an innovative image analysis system allowing accurate identification of grain suitable for sushi and puffed rice products. The automated system detects the potential for rice to crack during cooking. Heavily cracked rice turns mushy during cooking so it’s important the industry identifies the potential for rice to crack before grain goes to market. Now in use at SunRice, the technology has sped up the process to deliver high quality grain protecting premiums for growers.

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New water-saving premium rice

NSW DPI, with SunRice and AgriFutures Australia, has bred a new rice variety, Viand, which is a short season, water saving, high-yielding, fast maturing medium grain rice that fits high value markets. Viand has up to 10 % water-use efficiency gains on existing varieties, addressing the challenge of growing more rice with less water. With its shorter growing season, it gives growers options to manage risk and extend the sowing window for rice.

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Production decreased 22% to 630,000 tonnes despite favourable seasonal conditions after planting.

Water allocations were lower for the 2018 season, with general security allocations in the Murrumbidgee Valley estimated at 33% of total availability (Sep to Dec 2017). With water allocations nearly half that of the previous year, the area planted was down 27% year-on-year1, 42, 43.

With favourable conditions, yields were higher year-on-year, reaching an average of 10.5 tonnes per hectare, and as high as 14.8 tonnes per hectare in the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area for a Reiziq crop90. By comparison, the global average yield was 4.5 tonnes per hectare97.


Prices paid to growers were up significantly year-on-year as a result of reduced plantings and overall production. Indicative prices for the 2018 harvest ranged from $355 per tonne to $400 per tonne91. However, fixed price contracts for the 2018 harvest were offered at $520/tonne (Koshihikari), $450/tonne (Doongara) and $360 per (Reiziq)111. The net result is that prices were expected to increase 30% to an average of $407/tonne2.

Global prices increased in 2018, with the FAO All Rice Price Index 12.2% higher than last year. The Japonica Index, had increased 15.2% over the previous year. Almost all rice grown in Australia is from the Japonica variety.

Macroeconomic Conditions

Global production is forecast to increase 1% to 491 million tonnes in 2017–18, while global consumption is expected to rise by the same level. Like production and consumption, global ending stocks of rice are estimated to reach a historic high of 146 million tonnes in 2017–1896.


Tonnes per Hectare

Source: FAO (2018)