News

Perfect timing for rice grower

Rice-harvesting operator Allan Anderson at the 75-hectare OzRice farm at Woodburn.
Rice-harvesting operator Allan Anderson at the 75-hectare OzRice farm at Woodburn.

RICE is finally thriving as a rotational crop in local sugar cane fields, but for the grower driving the experiment, Tony Carusi, the rain stopped just in time.

"We had to harvest this year," Mr Carusi said.

"Just when the crop was ready the rain stopped and the weather became perfect for the harvest."

Mr Carusi's family has grown cane on the Richmond River at Kilgin, near Woodburn, for three generations.

With soy beans struggling in the wet in lower paddocks, he decided four years ago to try dry land rice in the fallow rotation.

Dry land rice doesn't require irrigation like the major rice-producing areas of the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area in southern NSW.

Mr Carusi has made a considerable investment, including the construction of his own mill, but it hasn't all been plain sailing.

He spent five days in China in 2009 looking at different types and sizes of mills.

"They've been growing rice for 4000 years so they know what they're doing," he said.

"We had started growing rice commercially in 2008 but floods decimated the crops and what we did harvest cost $125 a tonne to transport to Leeton to the mill.

"Initially the quality was poor and we were getting only $50 a tonne for the rice as stock feed."

The problems threatened to cripple the venture, but now the sun is shining on the fields, the crop is being harvested and milled locally and there is a growing market.

"We learnt as we went along," Mr Carusi said.

"Now we have 75 hectares of rice and are getting it into local shops and markets within five days of harvest.

"The brown rice we produce is well accepted in the health food market.

"It's pesticide-free and with no irrigation it's environmentally friendly.

"We're now starting to develop packaging, distributing and marketing under our own OzRice brand."

Topics:  lismore, rice




Forget fast food and pub grub - try Casino's new restaurant

Brian Conderan is opening a new restaurant at the Oxford Hotel in Casino called Top Deck.

"This town has never done this kind of menu before."

Body of missing man recovered by police divers

The man went missing on Wednesday after his car was swept off a bridge on Martins Road into floodwaters at Larnook.

Days of searching after car swept into floodwaters

Ballina sports space sold to developer for hefty sum

FOR SALE: The State Government is selling a large block of land at Quays Dr, West Ballina.Photo Graham Broadhead / Ballina Shire Advocate

Rare open green space sold to property developer

Latest deals and offers

Deborah Conway: A String of Pearls, after 25 years

PARTNERS IN MUSIC: Deborah Conway and Willy Zygier are releasing their latest album, Everybody is Begging (2016).

Deborah Conway celebrates 25th anniversary of release

GANGgajang brings new and old hits

STREETWISE: The band at the opening of GANGgajang Way in Bundaberg, Queensland, last year.

Iconic Aussie band returns to Lismore

What's on the small screen this week

Bella Frizza in a scene from the TV series Married At First Sight.

THE Block's $65,000 bathroom is revealed and strangers marry.

MOVIE REVIEW: Life on the Road

Ricky Gervais, Ben Bailey Smith and Foregone Conclusion (Steve Clarke, Andy Burrows, Stuart Baxter Wilkinson, Michael Clarke) in a scene from David Brent: Life on the Road.

Ricky Gervais has brought David Brent back to life on the big screen

Jessica Alba wants tequila shots served at her funeral

Businesswoman and actor Jessica Alba

There won't be mourning at this funeral

Tom Hiddleston's Instagram account hacked

Actor Tom Hiddleston

Thor star the latest celebrity targetted by hackers

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

Investors eye Gladstone's $4m island with resort approval

UP FOR SALE: Turtle Island is on the market.

CHINESE and Sydney investors flag interest in Gladstone island.

Take a sneak peek at this $19m Whitsunday mansion

Mandalay House features a private helipad.

Mandalay is currently on the market with an asking price of $19m