CDU project leads
Australian native rice has potential as a high-value, low-volume, Indigenous culturally-identified, nutritious food, but currently it is not commercially available. There is strong interest among Australian Indigenous communities in enterprises based on native plant species and growing interest in native plant foods among consumers.
We are supporting commercialisation of Australian native rice by developing knowledge about native rice agronomy, nutrition, value addition, supply chains and markets. Agronomic studies are developing protocols for cultivation of high-value native grain. This grain is ethically-sourced and the work is being done in collaboration with Indigenous enterprises and communities. Nutritional and economical effects of varying those protocols will be evaluated. Value addition includes modification of milling and processing techniques to develop whole grain and other food products.
Our Australian native rice project aims to commercialise native rice in a ten-year time frame.
Research Institute for Environment and Livelihoods (RIEL); Plant Industries, NT Department of Industry Tourism and Trade (NT DITT, formerly NT DPIR); Pudakul Aboriginal Cultural Tours (Pudakul); Centre for Agriculture and the Bioeconomy, Queensland University of Technology (CAB); Olive Vale Pastoral Pty Ltd (Olive Vale); Myera Group (Myera)
Contact details for CDU team
Australian native rice commercialisation project firstname.lastname@example.org
Sean Bellairs 08 8946 6070 email@example.com
Penny Wurm 08 8946 6355 firstname.lastname@example.org
Sonam Adhikari Rana – Native Rice Research Officer email@example.com
Gehan Tarek Eltaher Abdelghany – Native rice agronomy PhD student firstname.lastname@example.org
Native rice projects
CRC FFS Commercialisation of native rice for Indigenous enterprise development: Agronomy and value-adding (2020—2024). https://www.futurefoodsystems.com.au/project/commercialisation-of-native-rice-for-indigenous-enterprise-development
Please sign up for our newsletters and see our student project list for details of current research activities. Email email@example.com
CRC NA Northern Australia rice industry situational analysis study https://crcna.com.au/research/projects/northern-australia-rice-industry-situational-analysis-study
RIRDC (Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation) Research grant entitled Market evaluation of native rice enterprise. In collaboration with Aboriginal Bush Traders, Northern Land Council and Adelaide River Traditional Owners. Report available at https://www.agrifutures.com.au/product/north-australian-native-rice-market-evaluation-of-a-potential-new-wild-food-enterprise/
RIRDC Australian wild rice: A new sustainable wild food enterprise. Report available at https://www.agrifutures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/publications/10-175.pdf
CDU student research projects
Available PhD scholarships
Agronomic investigations of Australian native rice species to support Indigenous enterprise development in the Northern Territory, Australia.
Research projects within coursework degrees
Assessing nutrient requirements and media volume for native rice in Beatrice Hill Site 2 soil, with a nutrient omission trial (MEM final thesis)
Assessing soil properties at sites where native Australian rice may be cultivated (MEM final thesis)
Satake rice mill modifications for Australian native rice (M Eng final thesis)
Development of a hand held native rice harvester (M Eng final thesis)
Review: native plant food supply chain and Indigenous participation (professional placement)
Potential project areas
- Native rice seed biology and establishment ecology
- Native rice agronomic studies
- Native rice seed quality
- Native rice markets and supply chains
For potential student projects please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Design of an awn removal thresher for Australian native rice (M Eng final thesis)
Australian policy, law and agreements relevant to Indigenous benefit sharing and intellectual property rights of Australian native rice (professional placement)
Resources and publications
Abdelghany G. (2022). Effects of dense cultivation on the yield performance of cultigen rice: Meta-analysis. Poster presentation #468, TropAg International Agricultural Conference: incorporating Harlan IV and Ag Futures, 31 October – 2 November 2022, Brisbane, Australia.
Bellairs S. (2022). Agronomic research supporting cultivation of Australian native rice. Poster presentation #475, TropAg International Agricultural Conference: incorporating Harlan IV and Ag Futures, 31 October – 2 November 2022, Brisbane, Australia.
Rana S.A., Bellairs S. and Wurm P. (2022). Biological Control of Aphids in Australian Native Rice (PDF, 556.88 KB). Poster presentation #585, TropAg International Agricultural Conference: incorporating Harlan IV and Ag Futures, 31 October – 2 November 2022, Brisbane, Australia.
Wurm P. and Ford P.L (2022). Traditional use of Australian native rice by Aboriginal people, Northern Territory, Australia (PDF, 2.33 MB). Poster presentation #688, TropAg International Agricultural Conference: incorporating Harlan IV and Ag Futures, 31 October – 2 November 2022, Brisbane, Australia.
Bellairs S., Wurm P., Rana S., Patel T., Abdelghany G. (CDU), Kenyon G., Kenyon L. (Pudakul ACT), Asis T., Niscioli A. (NT DITT), Hoang L.T.M., Williams B., Mundree S. (QUT) (2021). Australian native rice: a high-value low-volume specialty food (PDF, 679.1 KB).
Bellairs S., Wurm P., Williams L., Kenyon L., Kenyon G. and Sunk S. (2017). Grain quality and preliminary cooking assessment of wild harvested native Oryza species from the Northern Territory (PDF, 763.12 KB).
Australian native rice as food
Wurm P. and Bellairs B. (2018). North Australian native rice: market evaluation of a potential new wild food enterprise. Publication No. 18/032, AgriFutures Australia. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.35076.58246 Available at https://www.agrifutures.com.au/product/north-australian-native-rice-market-evaluation-of-a-potential-new-wild-food-enterprise/
Wurm P.A.S., Campbell L., Batten G.D. and Bellairs S.M. (2012). Australian native rice: A new sustainable wild food enterprise. Research Project No PRJ000347/Publication No 10/175, Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation, Canberra. Report available at https://agrifutures.com.au/wp-content/uploads/publications/10-175.pdf
Campbell L.C., Batten G.,Wurm P., Bellairs S.M.and Campbell C. E. (2009). Australian native rice species: Grain minerals and starch properties. In C. Blanchard, D. Pleming, H. Taylor Cereals, pp.69-72. Downunder Section, American Society of Cereal Chemists.
Australian native rice as a crop
Abdelghany G., Wurm P.A.S., Linh Thi My Hoang and Bellairs S. (2022). Commercial Cultivation of Australian wild Oryza spp.: A Review and Conceptual Framework for Future Research Needs. Agronomy, 12(1), 42. Available at https://www.mdpi.com/2073-4395/12/1/42
Chapman, B., Henry,R., Wurm,P., Bellairs, S., Crayn, D., Smyth, H., Furtado, A., Sivapalan, S., Ford, R. & Matchett, T. (2020). A situational analysis for developing a rice industry in Northern Australia - Final report. CRC Northern Australia. ISBN 978-1-922437-07-5. Available at https://crcna.com.au/resources/publications/situational-analysis-developing-rice-industry-northern-australia-final-report
Global significance of Australian native rice
Hoang, T. M. L., Tran, T. N., Nguyen, T. K. T., Williams, B., Wurm, P., Bellairs, S., and Mundree, S. (2016). Improvement of Salinity Stress Tolerance in Rice: Challenges and Opportunities. Agronomy 6(4): 54. https://doi.org/10.3390/agronomy6040054
Ecology of Australian native rice
Bellairs S. Wurm. P and Kernich B (2015) Temperature affects the dormancy and germination of sympatric annual (Oryza meridionalis) and perennial (O. rufipogon) native Australian rices (Poaceae) and influences their emergence in introduced para grass (Urochloa mutica) swards. Australian Journal of Botany 63: 687-695.https://doi.org/10.1071/BT15092
Wurm P.A.S., Bellairs S.M. & Kernich B. (2006) Suppression of native wild rice germination by exotic para grass. In C. Preston, J.H. Watts & N.D. Crossman, 'Managing Weeds in A Changing Climate': Proceedings of the 15th Australian Weeds Conference, Adelaide, SA, 24-28 September 2006, pp 823-826. Available at https://caws.org.nz/old-site/awc/2006/awc200618231.pdf
Wurm P.A.S. (1998). A surplus of seeds: high rates of post-dispersal seed predation in flooded grassland in monsoonal Australia. Australian Journal of Ecology 23, 385-392. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1442-9993.1998.tb00743.x
Wurm P.A.S. (1998). The population ecology of Oryza meridionalis Ng on the South Alligator River floodplain, Kakadu National Park, monsoonal Australia. PhD thesis, Charles Darwin University, Darwin. Accessible at http://espace.cdu.edu.au/view/cdu:6283
Wurm P. (1994). Physical and biological factors determining the distribution and abundance of the wild rice Oryza meridionalis Ng in the Northern Territory. Research project report prepared forAustralian Flora Foundation, Dulwich Hill, NSW. Available at http://www.aff.org.au/Wurm_wild_rice_final.pdf
Threats to Australian native rice
Boyden J., Wurm P., Joyce K.E. and Boggs G. (2019) The spatial dynamics of invasive para grass on a monsoonal floodplain, Kakadu National Park. Remote Sensing, 11, 2090; doi:10.3390/rs11182090 Available at https://www.mdpi.com/2072-4292/11/18/2090
Boyden J., Wurm P., Joyce K.E. & Boggs G. (2018). A spatial vulnerability assessment of monsoonal wetland habitats to para grass invasion in Kakadu National Park, northern Australia. International Journal of Applied Earth Observation and Geoinformation 71: 43-55. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jag.2018.05.004
Boyden J., Joyce K., Boggs G. and Wurm P. (2013) Mapping of native vegetation and para grass (Urochloa mutica) on a monsoonal wetland of Kakadu NP using a Landsat 5 TM Dry-season time series. Journal of Spatial Science 58 (1): 53-77. https://doi.org/10.1080/14498596.2012.759086
Wurm P.A.S. (2007) Suppression of germination and establishment of native annual rice by an exotic grass on an Australian monsoonal floodplain. Plant Protection Quarterly 22(3):106-112.Abstract available at http://www.weedinfo.com.au/ppq_toc22-3.html
Stefanija Klaric S, Bellairs S., Wurm P., Yafei G., Zhenyang H., Sutherland F. (2020). Designs for a Small-Scale Grain Thresher for Australian Native Rice: Technical Report (PDF, 1.39 MB). Charles Darwin University, Darwin, Australia.
In the media
- Northern Territory researchers successfully harvest native rice, opening opportunities for First Nations enterprise (1 Oct 2022)
- Rice farming returns to Humpty Doo using Australia's own native grains (2 Apr 2019)
- Researchers go wild for native rice (15 May 2014)
- Country Breakfast features (4 Jun 2022)
- Australian native rice trial underway near Humpty Doo (25 May 2022)
- Native rice trials begin in the Northern Territory (11 Nov 2020)
- Researchers go wild for native rice (audio) (15 May 2014)
- Researchers explore potential of native rice (19 Oct 2012)
Future Food Systems Cooperative Research Centre
- Australian native rice is one step closer to appearing on restaurant menus (11 Jul 2022)
- Northern Australia’s native rice: ripe for commercialisation (30 June 2021)