Friday, July 25, 2014

Temperate rice on the global stage

Photo by Russell Reinke. Seed increase of temperate rice near Yanco, NSW, Australia.

Calling all temperate rice researchers!

Temperate rice—or rice that grows in cold climates—will figure prominently at the 4th International Rice Congress (IRC2014) in two events—the 5th Temperate Rice Conference, or TRC5, and the annual meeting of the Temperate Rice Research Consortium (TRRC). IRC2014 will be held in Bangkok, Thailand, on 27 October 27-1 November 2014.

“This year’s conference will mark the 20th year since the series began, the first of which was held in Australia in 1994 with 200 attendees from around the world” said Russell Reinke, TRRC Coordinator and co-organizer of the TRC.

Temperate rice is grown in higher latitudes, where temperatures are generally lower. In these regions, the days are longer during the summer growing season, improving the chances of better crop growth and yield.

Because of more sunlight hours, temperate rice yields about 10 tons of paddy per hectare—almost double the tropical average. Thus, despite a far smaller total temperate rice area compared to its tropical counterpart—and the fact that only one crop a year is possible—temperate rice accounts for about 20% of global rice production.

Rice-growing in temperate regions comes with its own set of concerns. One of these is blast, a fungal disease that thrives better in the cold and, thus, causes more damage. Blast damage is compounded by the effect of extreme temperatures at critical points in the growth of the rice plant. In response to these specific problems, research on temperate rice has been growing and is expected to gain more traction during the Bangkok congress, bringing together scientists and research networks to focus the spotlight on temperate rice.

“Problems specific to temperate rice can be overcome more effectively with the free flow of information, seeds, and technology among researchers, and the annual consortium meetings and temperate rice conferences are ideal for aligning research initiatives” said Russell Ford, manager of Rice Research Australia and current Chairman of the TRRC Steering Committee.

Such networks include the Fund for Rice in Latin America, or FLAR, that links public- and private-sector stakeholders throughout South America; and the Rice Technical Working Group (RTWG), a forum that gathers rice researchers every two years in the United States. TRC5 and the annual meeting of the TRRC aim to place in sharp relief the most recent advances in rice research from various temperate locations all over the world.

Temperate rice is grown in geographically diverse areas, such as Australia, Chile, northwest China, Egypt, North Korea, Russia, Uruguay, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and some parts of the United States.

Register via to attend this year’s International Rice Congress in Bangkok.

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