Two Coleambally brothers took the spotlight at the SunRice Grower of the Year Awards last week.
Shane and Damian Mannes were applauded for managing to maintain high yields despite some brutally tough conditions this season.
Their crop at Coleambally Reiziq yielded 12.6 per hectare, which was the highest medium grain yield in the entire Coleambally Irrigation Area.
"There's some pretty good growers around here; we were lucky this year," Shane said.
The brothers have been in the business for the last thirty years, and over the last ten years or so they say they've been continually improving their setup.
They have been ramping up the efficiency at their family farm, tightening their nitrogen management and planting schedules to get as much yield as possible from scarce resources.
"The whole industry is trying to produce more rice with less water," Damian said.
Murrumbidgee irrigators are currently on zero water allocations, and it's looking as though it will stay that way unless it rains up in the catchments.
It wasn't always that way; the Mannes brothers remember a time they were getting 100 per cent allocations nearly every year, back when their father still ran the farm.
"Water wasn't even a problem back then," Shane said.
"Everything was wall-to-wall green - it was an oasis."
And yet despite the dry conditions these days the brothers have managed to consistently keep up a yield that is 25 per cent above the Coleambally Irrigation Area industry five-year average.
Their accomplishments were recognised at the Grower of the Year Awards, which were presented at the Rice Growers' Association of Australia conference on August 1.
SunRice Chairman and rice grower Laurie Arthur said the rice growers had proved adaptable to even the toughest of conditions.
"The SunRice Grower of the Year Award recognises innovation, new technology and latest research outcomes adopted in the Australian rice industry," Mr Arthur said.
"We are proud to be associated with an award that also rewards excellence at the start of the supply chain, our growers."