SunRice update: Pool offered to rice growers

As our growers are thinking about their plans for the C21 crop, the SunRice Board is pleased to have announced the opening of a pool for the 2021 Riverina rice season, with an estimated range of $390 to $450 per metric tonne for medium grain Reiziq. We have all been watching the rainfall very closely over the past few weeks and the results have been mixed. There have been significant inflows into the Murrumbidgee storages, however the inflows into the Murray storages have been less significant and water prices in the Murray Valley have climbed back over $200. The BOM is very bullish about a wet finish over the next few months and we all hope they are right.
As growers are well aware, due to a combination of drought, low water availability and high water prices – which have been exacerbated by state and national water reforms – the past two Riverina rice seasons have been incredibly difficult for the SunRice Group and rice growers. However, with pricing for other annual crops under pressure, SunRice’s reputation for always paying, the demonstrated suitability of rice to our farming systems, and conditions turning in our favour – the SunRice Board believes the estimated range for Pool No.1 is a compelling proposition for growers. This has now been backed up by a strong response to the pool offering over recent days and we now know there will be a much larger rice crop being planted in CY21.  

Seed orders for the Pool No. 1 opened to Critical Year growers (who grew in CY19 and / or CY20) at 9.00 am on 7 September 2020, and to all other growers at 9.00 am on 9 September 2020. SunRice took the decision to provide an estimated pool range at this early stage of the season to provide our growers with some certainty, even though we are twenty two months away from processing and selling the C21 crop. 
The sales and operations team, led by CEO Rob Gordon, has done an enormous amount of work to plan for the return of Australian rice to our key markets and this continues as we try to get a fix on what varieties and what volumes we can sell at premium prices around the world.
Some growers have enquired as to the logic behind some of the new features but have generally been supportive of the need for growers and the company alike to have certainty. I always like to see my local storage open and it hasn’t been over the last two years, resulting in 240 km round trips to deliver, so I do understand the desire for receival sites to be open. However, SunRice is strongly focused on maximising the pool return for all growers and this is the key driver behind our decisions in relation to this pool. As the indicated crop size increases, we will look to pass on the resulting efficiencies directly to our growers.

To further support growers in increasing production in CY21, SunRice is also offering:
  • Our GrowRice facility, which provides input funding for approved growers of up to $1500 per hectare (or $2000 per hectare for Critical Year growers)
  • A new PaddyPay Harvest Payment option (previously known as PayRice), where growers can elect to now access up to 90 per cent of the estimated pool return (lower end of the range), paid within 5 days end of week of delivery.

Our industry has demonstrated resilience after two very tough years, and I am confident with the support of growers, we can get Riverina rice production back on track,with an opportunity for increased profitability to us as growers, SunRice and our communities.
Laurie Arthur 
SunRice Group 

Sowing at Peter Draper’s property at Leeton.