This year's rice crop is expected to be 10 times as big as the tiny 2020 haul, with a return of general security water allocations and historically high SunRice prices enticing growers back to rice.
However, this year's crops have been challenged by cool weather, the Finley region recording one of its coldest December in 60 years, while establishment was impacted by early rain and wind.
Elders Finley agronomist Stacey Doolan said despite the testing start she was happy with how the crops were now progressing.
"We're probably running a week later than I would like, I don't think we've got any 13 to 15 tonne crops out there at the moment but we've definitely got 10 to 12 tonners," Ms Doolan said.
For the last two years a zero per cent general security allocation for the Murray meant most growers had to forgo planting rice.
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This year, the Murray allocation rose from 17 per cent to 26pc in mid-October, and to 36pc at the start of November, giving some growers enough confidence to take a last-minute punt on rice.
"I had no clients growing rice last year at all and this year they've got 1200 hectares in between them," Ms Doolan said.
Ms Doolan said of her rice-growing clients, 55 per cent had sowed conventionally, with the rest drill sowing.
"I thought there would have been a bigger swing towards drill sowing this season but the later allocation and double cropping meant growers went conventional to get the rice up and away," she said.
Water delayed for two months
Finley rice grower Les Gillespie got his crop in earlier than most, drill sowing 60 hectares of Reiziq on September 24.
Like many growers, Mr Gillespie had nearly all of his country down to winter crops at planting and only had space for 60 ha of rice.
"I had planted vetch on those 60 ha and was able to spray it out," Mr Gillespie explained.
"It was planted with the idea of putting rice in if the water turned up.
"We gradually crept up in allocation, little bits at a time which is pretty painful, and at one stage I had more rice in then I had water for, but the water's shown up to cater for that very nicely."
It was the first time Mr Gillespie has planted rice following vetch and because the legume crop left a good moisture profile he was able to delay flushing his rice crop for two months, until the end of November.
"Preferably you get rain through that period but we didn't get enough to actually germinate seed, so I was relying on the moisture in the ground, which was ample at planting," he said.
"You've got to have a bit of nerve, watch the crop nearly die, and stagger, not come up and all sorts of things, but you can see the results now, it does get there."
His main reason for delaying the water was weed control.
"I haven't let the weeds grow and if you don't let them grow you don't have to pay to take them out," Mr Gillespie said.
"Yes, I might have to accept a lower yield than some but it's about your bottom line not the size of the crop you grow."