DPI Southern Cropping director, Deb Slinger said the one-day event, Research now for tomorrow’s rice, is a collaboration between the department, Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia, SunRice, AgriFutures Australia and Rice Extension.
“Cutting edge research underpins the future of rice production and growers will be able to see how new rice varieties are evaluated to ensure they meet consumer demand,” Ms Slinger said.
“The DPI Quality Evaluation Program (QEP) processes about 7000 samples every year in the quest to deliver varieties which match consumer and market demand.
“Rice is generally consumed as an intact, whole grain and consumers expect each grain to be translucent and uniform in shape and size.
“DPI scientists use image analysis to measure the size and shape of the grains. Rice breeders take those results to inform their selection of lines with the potential to develop new varieties.
“Rice has to also pass the palate test and the QEP wet chemistry phase assesses approximately 3000 lines for compositional, cooking and textural qualities.”
Field day participants will see how researchers run laboratory tests to analyse cooking and textural qualities.
Amylose, one of the two components of starch, is measured to help determine rice quality – the higher the amylose content, the firmer the cooked rice.
Varieties such as Doongara, have a high amylose content and a low glycaemic index, qualities which meet the needs of consumers seeking the potential health benefits of low GI food, including reducing blood sugar levels, aiding weight loss and lowering risks of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
QEP measure protein using near infrared (NIR), as protein is another significant factor affecting rice cooking properties.
A positive correlation between nitrogen fertiliser use and protein levels in rice grains, depends on the rice variety. Low protein is preferred in the premium quality sushi rice.
The 2020 field day will kick off at 9.30am and wrap up at approximately 4pm. feature field tours, an overview updating the AgriFutures Australia Rice Program and the latest marketing insights from SunRice.