Sometimes there are quiet achievers who come up with a new way of doing things. Andrew Barfield, a cane-grower from Mackay started experimenting with growing rice about 12 years ago. Now working with Rice Research (a Sunrice subsidiary), the Mackay region is now showing the world new ways of growing rice with great yields.
To put this in context, this could open up new land or countries to rice growing that weren't suitable to date - given the right soils, rainfall and other conditions. The global population is forecast to reach 9 billion by 2050, and this may contribute, in some way, to helping feed those extra people.
Thanks to Andrew Barfield and others who are all collaborating on this. Here at QLDStartupShowcase we are pleased to see this happening here.
Featured on the ABC program LandLine on Feb 13, 2016 - let them tell it in their own words.
JOHN TAYLOR: In other parts of Australia, rice is grown in flooded fields, with water permanently in rice crops for all or most of the growing season. Concrete stops between the rice bays allow water flow to be controlled. Water sits like a blanket to help control variations in temperatures. What they're doing is far more cutting-edge than it appears. They're growing rice aerobically - out of water, above ground, alternately watering it and then letting it dry out.
RUSSELL FORD: So what's happening here in Mackay and North Queensland is unique around the world. There's not much rice grown under these aerobic alternate wetting and drying conditions.
JOHN TAYLOR: Water's supplied either through rainfall or irrigation.
RUSSELL FORD: We're getting yields that are nearly mimicking full-irrigated crops, which is amazing to us, and many researchers around the world, it's amazing for. So, it's just showing that the plant can adapt and so can the farmer adapt to those techniques.
JOHN TAYLOR: And to think it all began with such a simple thing as trying to please your wife.
ANDREW BARFIELD: Yes, amazing, isn't it? Happy wife, happy life. (Laughs)