GROWING conditions may not be ideal for irrigators, but they are being enticed to return to a more traditional crop.
SunRice is offering growers up to $1500 a tonne this season to grow rice, instead of other crops such as cotton, corn or sorghum.
The limited hectare-based deals promise to pay $750 per tonne for medium grain variety, Reiziq; $950/t for long grain, Koshihakari, and $1500/t for organic rice.
Growers who planted rice last year get first choice of 2020 contracts.
Of course, with low water allocations and the ongoing drought playing a part, not all irrigators will have the option of planting rice this season.
However, it was an enticing offer for many, according to Ricegrowers' Association of Australia president Rob Massina.
"SunRice have definitely came out and offered a very great price as they look to not only supply the domestic, but international markets as well," he said.
"It is an enticing prospect for many growers.
"It has made it a real option for growers this season and a real crop of choice."
On Tuesday it was announced allocations for general security irrigators would remain unchanged at 6 per cent.
Inflows into the storages have been minimal since the last assessment as rainfall has been well below average.
More rainfall during spring is required to increase volumes of water that can be made available for distribution.
The southern valleys typically receive more rainfall and inflow in winter and spring. With well below average inflows through winter and forecast dry conditions for spring, the chances of improved inflows are now receding.
It has made it a real option for growers this season and a real crop of choice.Ricegrowers' Association of Australia president Rob Massina
Statistically there is now a low likelihood that allocations will improve significantly before summer.
Mr Massina said in reality many who opt to plant cotton this season will likely need to use ground and surface water to get through until harvest.
He said there was no denying the challenges growers were facing, but was pleased to see growers were returning to rice.
"Rice is what many of our communities were built on ... it has been a life blood for many over the years," he said.
"It's pleasing to see SunRice are backing our growers."
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