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Research National Programs National Rice Production Research Program
National Rice Production Research Program




The Uruguayan rice sector has developed with focus on the international market and it has been characterized by the integration of production and industry, dynamism and strong technology demand. It represents approximately 13% of agricultural GNP (Gross National Product). At the same time, rice based cropping mixed systems, alternating the rice crop with improved forage species for grazing of cattle, have contributed to intensification of livestock production, especially in the Eastern region of the country. The rice sector has consistently exported 90% of the total production and in the past years Uruguay has been ranked in the seventh place among the grain world exporters. At the beginning of the 1990's, the country changed from producing almost exclusively Tropical Japonica long-grain rice (Southern US type) to the current situation, with 86% of production with Indica varieties, following the increased demand of Brazil, that became the main market for Uruguayan rice exports during that decade. In recent years, however, significant changes have occurred, with a reduction of sales to Brazil (from 85% of total rice exports, in 2002/03, to 35%, in 2004/05). At the same time, Iran became an important market and, more recently, the opening of the European market has had great importance. Both the milling industry and rice farmers have their own national associations, which have been interacting for more than 50 years. This integration is well reflected in a system that includes production contracts for most of the area, annual price fixation agreements, payment adjustment by product quality, and consortiums among main rice mills for some enterprises and exportation. The adoption of technology has allowed an increase in the average yield of the country at a rate of 88 kg/ha per year, during the last 38 years, achieving a record yield of approximately 8 t/ha in 2006/07. Among the above mentioned technologies it is worth to mention the adoption of high yielding varieties, and soil management practices that allow sowing of a higher percentage of area in optimum period, including gliphosate application and tillage reduction, early weed control and irrigation, as well as efficient management of fertilizers and chemicals. At the beginning of the 90's, the country turned from producing almost all of the area with one introduced variety into locally developed ones. Currently, most of the area is grown with three varieties: El Paso 144, INIA Tacuarí and INIA Olimar, developed by INIA and Ministry of Agriculture programs, accounting for 72%, 11% and 14% of the area respectively. Although 86% of the area is sown with Indica varieties, it is considered a priority to develop new Tropical Japonica varieties, in order to offer the rice sector more flexibility and competitiveness in the international trade.

Good livestock prices and a wide dissemination of the advantages of rice-livestock integration, in which INIA has had a major role, have promoted the sowing of improved forage species in rice fallow, which reached approximately 36% of the total rice area and 64% of the fallow area, in the last three years. This consolidated a particular production system, which has had great impact in livestock production, as well as in economic and natural resources sustainability




Contribute to the economic, social and environmental sustainability of the rice sector through cultivar development and integration of good management practices, in order to optimize yield potential, grain quality and conservation of natural resources in production systems.




1/ Develop varieties with the grain quality demanded by the rice sector, in order to improve competitiveness and insertion of our production in the international market, with emphasis in long grain varieties for conventional management, including also varieties for the Clearfield system and for emergent market niches, exploring hybrids potential in association with the private sector.

2/ Integrate management practices, climatic and spatial variability information, in order to optimize yield potential and grain quality, and making a more efficient and sustainable use of natural and economic resources.

3/ Study sustainability of rice  livestock production systems with different intensity of soil use, determining physical, economic and environmental indicators.

4/ Define good crop management practices and determine their environmental impact, in cooperation with other organizations, in order to establish the basis for a differentiation system that capitalizes the advantages of our production system.




Contact: rice@inia.org.uy