Production

In 2015/16, Australia's rice crop is expected to be 550,000 tons on a milled basis, about 10 percent above the previous season. The industry has the capacity to produce one million tons of rice but limits on irrigated water supply and below average rainfall have constrained production. While the harvest area will be stable at 70,000 hectares, yields are expected to improve to 11 tons per hectare. Exports for 2015/16 are forecast at 350,000 tons. Rice stocks are expected to continue to fall in 2015/16.

SunRice is the sole rice processor in Australia and also packages and exports rice products. The company has unsuccessfully called for a 20 per cent increase in water for rice growers to allow them to increase production by an estimated 100,000 tons a year. Low water allocations led SunRice to close its Coleambally rice mill for the harvest in 2015, after it had re-opened the site in 2013. The company has sought to diversify its domestic supply sources and in 2014 acquired rice milling assets in the Burdekin River region of North Queensland. This region holds Queensland's largest dam and irrigation network and could support a significant expansion of rice production over the longer term. The industry has estimated that a further 10,000 tons of rice could be produced annually in northern Australia over the next few years.

There are around 1500 rice farming concerns in Australia and the average size of a rice farm is 400-500 hectares. There is only one rice crop harvested per season, with planting from September, harvest from March and commercial availability from May. Most of the rice produced in Australia is medium and short grain japonica varieties, while long grain varieties are imported.

Trade

In 2015/16, Australian rice exports are expected to fall to 350,000 tons. Country details of exports are not available because of confidentiality provisions. Details of imports of rice into Australia are given in the table below. Imports of long grain rice form South Asia and Southeast Asia are long grain varieties. These include fragrant rice varieties such as basmati rice.

Australian Milled Rice Imports by country, 2010-2014 ('000 metric tons)

2010

2011

2012

2013

2014

World

193

160

134

142

156

Thailand

121

95

68

69

81

India

13

16

23

27

30

Pakistan

22

21

18

19

18

United States

21

11

12

13

11

Vietnam

7

8

6

6

8

Export market share (%)

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

100.0

Thailand

62.7

59.4

50.7

48.6

51.9

India

6.7

10.0

17.2

19.0

19.2

Pakistan

11.4

13.1

13.4

13.3

11.5

United States

10.9

6.9

9.0

9.2

7.1

Vietnam

3.6

5.0

4.4

4.2

5.1

Source: Global Trade Atlas

Rice, Milled

2013/2014

2014/2015

2015/2016

Market Begin Year

Mar 2013

Mar 2014

Mar 2015

Australia

USDA Official

New post

USDA Official

New post

USDA Official

New post

Area Harvested

76

75

70

70

0

70

Beginning Stocks

238

238

206

185

0

36

Milled Production

600

600

504

487

0

550

Rough Production

833

833

700

676

0

764

Milling Rate (.9999)

7,200

7,200

7,200

7,200

0

7,200

MY Imports

165

150

150

150

0

150

TY Imports

190

150

150

150

0

150

TY Imp. from U.S.

11

0

0

0

0

0

Total Supply

1,003

988

860

822

0

736

MY Exports

440

446

400

426

0

350

TY Exports

404

466

400

410

0

340

Consumption and Residual

357

357

360

360

0

360

Ending Stocks

206

185

100

36

0

26

Total Distribution

1,003

988

860

822

0

736

1000 HA, 1000 MT, MT/HA