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Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs

White RICE

Other Common Names Include:

Latin Name: Oryza sativa

Plant Family: Poaceae

Close Relatives: Distantly related to other small grains in the Poaceae family.

Uses and Markets: Culinary (used cooked as a whole grain, processed into flour or used in beverages, traditionally in Asian cuisine).

Maturing rice in lowland production system (Photo credit: luckypic,
AgronomicsProduction Life Cycle in Ontario


Hardiness Zone


Special Notes

Upland (dryland) and lowland (paddy) cultivation has been explored in Ontario research projects.  Restrictions on importing rice seed currently exist (i.e. import of rice seed for field production is not permitted by the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA) until a Pest Risk Assessment (PRA) is complete).  Commercial rice production in Ontario may be limited to areas with more than 3150 heat units (i.e. southcentral to southwestern Ontario). Lowland (paddy) rice production would be most suited to areas with level land and a clay, loam or silt soils because of the water retention properties which would be required during flooding.

Propagation method


Greenhouse Seeding/Propagation Dates


Field Seeding Date:


Field Transplanting Dates


In-row spacing

5 cm

Between row spacing

18-30 cm.  Seed at a rate of 75-100 kg/ha, using the lower range for seed drill and the higher range for broadcast seeding.

Optimal Soil temperature at planting



No current Ontario fertility recommendations exist. Research and recommendations from outside Ontario do not necessarily apply to Ontario growing conditions. Experience from other jurisdictions suggests a range of 118-134 kg N/ha is sufficient for plant growth and optimal yield for both upland and lowland (pre-flood application) production.   Click here for phosphorus and potassium application guidelines and for more information on specialty crop fertility.

Soil type

Upland (dryland) production - all soil types; Lowland (paddy) production - clay, silt or loam.

Soil pH


Special requirements for growth habit

For lowland production, saturate field with water and allow seed to germinate and grow approximately 8-10cm under non-flooded conditions.  Flood the paddy for remainder of growing season with 8-15cm of water.  Drain the paddy approximately 2-3 weeks prior to harvest.  

Optimal Temperature Range

Prefers a temperate (warm) to tropical climate.

Temperature sensitivity

Cold sensitive.

Irrigation requirements

For lowland production see special requirements for growth habit.

Days to harvest

90-200 days depending on cultivar.

Specialized equipment:


Harvest Scheduling

Single harvest

Hand harvest or machine harvest

Machine harvest

Quality parameters/grades

No established grades in Ontario, however, as a guide, refer to grading standards from other jurisdictions.

Additional Harvest Notes


Post harvest
Special handling/curing

 Dehulling, milling, and/or parboiling is required for certain markets.

Storage Conditions

Relative humidity (RH): 65%

Temperature: 5°C

Air Exchange: N/A

Duration: >6 months

Specific pests observed on this crop in Ontario (observations based on limited experience with this crop)

Insects and Invertebrates:

Diseases: Brown leaf sheath (Xanthomonas spp. bacteria)


Other Potential Pests: The following pests have not been observed on this crop in Ontario. However, they are either significant concerns for closely related plants in Ontario, or are reported on this crop in other production areas. This is not a comprehensive list of all potential pests. Not all of these pests will necessarily survive Ontario’s climate, but could potentially survive in a protected environment (e.g. greenhouse, storage facility).

Insects and Invertebrates: Armyworms (Mythimna unipuncta, Spodoptera spp.), aster leafhopper (Macrosteles fascifrons), rice stink bug (Oebalus pugnax) , rice seed midge (Chironomus spp.), chinch bug (Blissus leucopterus), crayfish (Procambarus clarki, Orconectes virilis ), rice leafminer (Hydrellia griseola), rice seed midges (Cricotopus sylvestris, Paralauterborniella subcincta, Paratanytarsus spp.), rice water weevil (Lissorhoptrus oryzophilus)*, tadpole shrimp (Triops longicaudatus), rice stem borers (Scirpophaga spp., Chilo spp., Sesamia spp.)

Diseases: Rice blast (Pyricularia grisea)*, sheath blight (Rhizoctonia solani)*,  aggregate sheath spot (Rhizoctonia oryzae-sativae), brown spot (Bipolaris oryzae), leaf scald (Microdochium oryzae), Narrow brown leaf spot (Cercospora janseana),stem rot (Sclerotium oryzae), sheath rot (Saracladium oryzae), kernel smut (Tilletia barclayana), leaf smut (Entyloma oryzae),water-mold/seed rot (Achyla klebsiana and Pythium spp.), false smut (Ustilaginoidea virens), stackburn (Alternaria padwickii),  grain spotting (numerous fungi), root knot nematodes

Other: Birds

*Indicates pests commonly mentioned as causing significant damage or economic loss to this crop in other regions. 


To date the following pests have been the most significant in Ontario: unknown – limited experience in Ontario to date, however white rice has numerous pests in main production areas.  In studies in Ontario in the late 1990’s, weeds were not an issue in the first year of production, but in subsequent production years, barnyard grass, spikerush and cattails became problematic.

CAUTION - Regulations may limit or preclude the application of pest control products to aquatic areas – check with the Ontario Ministry of the Environment and the Pest Management Regulatory Agency before applying any product to crops grown in water.  This crop is in Crop Group 15:  Cereal Grains.  For more information on Crop Groups, refer to the Pest section. Pest control products registered on white rice, Oryza sativa, are not necessarily registered on wild rice, Zizania aquatica, and vice versa. Always refer to product labels, and follow all directions specified on the label, before applying any pest control product.  For more information, consult an OMAFRA specialist.   

Additional Notes


Ontario Research Projects Used to Create This Profile
  1. Jenkinson, R.C.  1974. Rice Production in Ontario. Ridgetown, Unpublished
  2. Ontario Research Foundation. 1967. Rice Production in Ontario. Dunnville, Unpublished.
  3. Park, S.J. 1999. Evaluation Trial of Rice varieties Introduced to Essex County in 1998 & 1999. Agriculture and Agri-food Canada (AAFC) and Ducks Unlimited. Unpublished.
  1. Darrington, J. and B. A. Nummer. 2008.  Food Storage – White Rice.  Utah State University Cooperative Extension. 
  2. International Rice Reacher Insititute. 2009.  Best Management Practices for Lowland Irrigated & Rainfed Rice
  3. Shipp, M. 2000. Crop Profile for Rice in Louisiana.  North Central IPM Center Crop Profiles.
  4. University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service. Rice Production Handbook, MP192.
  5. University of California Agriculture and Natural Resources Statewide IPM Program.  UC IPM Online – Rice