Rice crops on the boil
THE wet start to 2012 has Northern Rivers rice farmers predicting their crops will double this year.
Frank Boyle, who grows three varieties of rice at Goolmangar, has good reason to be excited about this year's crop.
"I think it is going to be a very good crop this year," Mr Boyle said.
"The weather has been fantastic. We had good rainfall.
"We had 600ml of rain since December when this crop was planted.
"That is half our annual average amount of rain for this area.
"The weeds have also enjoyed the weather, but I think our crop is looking very good this year."
Mr Boyle said he expanded his rice crop from four hectares last year to 12ha this year.
"Last year I only got about two tonnes per hectare, so this year I'm expecting to get three or four tonne per hectare," he said.
"I've done it all myself. It's taken me possibly 100 hours of mainly tractor work. Harvesting will probably take me another 20 hours, so in total it will take me about 120 hours of work.
"Also, since I am processing, packaging and marketing it all myself, I am getting more per kilo than if I just sold it off as a wholesale farm-gate price."
Mr Boyle said he sold about 70% of his crop through local farmers' markets under the brand Nimbin Valley Rice.
Another 20% went to local independent supermarkets, while the remaining 10% went to restaurants, including Newrybar's Harvest Cafe, the Bangalow Dining Rooms, and Lismore's Goanna Bakery and Cafe.
"It is very satisfying being able to take a product from the paddock and sell it straight to the customer."