The first person known to plant rice in the south east of Australia was a merchant named Jo Takasuka who had previously been a parliamentarian in Japan. In 1906 he sowed 35 acres worth of rice on land rented from a man in Nyah, on the Murray River. In the beginning he struggled to produce commercial crop, however in 1914 the government of Victoria gave him 200 acres of land to produce more crop and continue his enterprise.
In a way rice was both an economic decision and a political decision. It was started as an economic decision when Jo decided to begin his rice crops to start a business however it became more political when the government decided they could make money off the crops themselves and offered him more land to grow his rice plantation, as if in hopes that it will gain them a better market in the future.
The main majority of rice plantations are located in NSW or Northern Victoria, more commonly around the Murray River area. The reason behind this is because there is plenty of water needed to grow rice crops, as it helps keep weeds and other plants away from the growing seeds.
After research I found that the water specifically used to grow rice is not from one single place, however it does come from the Murray-Darling Basin in some part due to it have such a large volume of water and it being easy to access. It has recently been said that the amount of water taken from the river is unhealthy for the wildlife that lives within it, that is why in recent years more plantations have been finding other water sources for their future rice crops.
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The specific soil for growing rice needs to be a hard clay for at least three meters deep and a pH level of between 6 and 8. If this requirement is not established then more water could appear and possibly drown the crops if not accounted for or too much acidity could kill the plants.
The climate and landscape are indeed specifically chosen for rice growing in different areas. The best climate for growing rice is warm and dry, however as stated previously the crops roots need to be completely covered in water, if not based in a warm environment the plants will cease to grow. The landscape necessary for growing rice needs to be a completely flat plot of land, this will make sure that the water for the rice does not flow downhill or away from the rice
Compared to most other common crops grown in these regions, as of 2005 rice consumed 21000 liters of water to harvest 1kg of rice. Due to this rice is one of the main water consumers for the country, falling just behind lives stock and cotton plants. However, in more recent years rice has overcome cotton, and is now the second biggest water consumer after lives stock.
The biggest fret that rice farmers face is that droughts have become more and more common, whilst water and property prices are also beginning to increase. This is a bad thing for farmers because a single miscalculation when it comes to rice farming could kill every crop. Whether it be from not enough water or the grounds been sundried to rock, many things can go wrong, meaning there can be multiple expensive consequences for the farmer.
Overall, the rice industry in Australia has multiple ups and downs, so when all the information is in front of you it’s hard to see whether to support the industry in Australia or not. In my personal opinion I believe that Australia should remove the rice farms from Australia to help heal the Murray and make more room for natural wildlife to thrive instead of renovation multiple acres of land.