THE good news might be thin on the ground for the region's ricegrowers at the moment, but this week there has been small reason to smile.
SunRice has announced an additional payment of $25 per tonne for all varieties delivered into the 2018 crop year (C18) rice pool, providing a $12 million injection for Riverina rice growers.
The payment was made on top of SunRice’s scheduled February 1 C18 paddy pool payment.
It is believed the timing of the payment will assist those growers who have planted a crop this year (C19) amidst tough drought conditions and high water prices.
SunRice chairman Laurie Arthur explained the payment was made possible due to a number of factors.
“Despite whole grain yields for the C18 crop and difficult milling conditions due to heat and low humidity affecting operational efficiencies, the rice pool continues to benefit from the geographical sales mix of Australian rice exports,” he said.
“Following positive trading conditions in December and ongoing cost saving measures, SunRice is in a position to adjust upwards the C18 paddy pool price range for medium grain Reiziq to between $385 and $410 per tonne.”
The previous low end of the range was $360 per tonne.
Mr. Arthur, a rice grower with a crop in this year, added the business was acutely aware of the tough ongoing drought conditions across the Riverina, and hoped the additional payment would assist this year’s growers.
“We have been closely monitoring the drought situation throughout the Riverina and the implications this is having on water allocations and prices,” he said.
“SunRice is sharing in this experience with our growers and has had to make tough decisions regarding the reconfiguration of operations and staffing levels in the Riverina in anticipation of the greatly reduced size of the C19 rice crop.
“It is an extremely challenging time to be a rice grower and I would like to sincerely thank those growers who have persevered and committed to planting a crop this year despite the tough seasonal conditions.”
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