Rice Farming

Medium Grain Varieties

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions


Editor’s note: Louisiana rice specialist Johnny Saichuk, along with input from various knowledgeable medium grain rice sources, has put together the following information regarding medium grain rice production.

Because there has been so little medium grain culture in the recent past and because of the favorable price offered for medium grain rice, quite a few farmers have requested information about growing medium grain rice varieties. Specifically, the questions have been about Jupiter and Neptune.

There is nothing magic about growing medium grain varieties, but like any new variety, each may have its own peculiarities. Descriptions of Bengal, Jupiter and Neptune can be found in the publication Rice Varieties and Management Tips 2009 (RVMT 2009). This rice production publication can be
downloaded from our Web site at: www.lsuagcenter.com/en/crops_livestock/rice/publications. You may have to scroll to the second or third page of publications to find it, but it is there.

Second-crop potential/fertilization
Bengal has displayed good, but variable, secondcrop yield potential. Neptune has a good second-crop yield potential. The second-crop potential is also very consistent, which is atypical in most medium grain varieties. In general, medium grain varieties have lower second-crop potential than long-grain varieties and hybrids. However, second-crop potential is acceptable, especially in Neptune.

Fertilization practices are much like those of any other variety. Phosphorus and potassium rates should be based on soil tests. Nitrogen (N) rates are based on variety by N-response research. The most recent numbers provided by Dr. Dustin Harrell recommend between 120 and 180 pounds of actual N (260 and 390 pounds of urea) per acre for Jupiter and between 120 and 160 pounds of actual N (260 and 350 pounds of urea) per acre for Bengal and Neptune.

Because Bengal and Jupiter are more likely to lodge, I would stay on the low side for at least the first year of production, or until I learned how that medium grain variety performs in an individual field situation.

Last year, Dr. Steve Linscombe says he saw more lodging on the experiment station than he had ever seen in his career. Of all the varieties in all trials, Neptune was one of the few that did not lodge. If that holds true, you should be able to apply N to fields of Neptune without much concern about lodging.

Weeds, insects and disease observations
Based on field experiences and Dr. Eric Webster’s research, the Bengal medium grain variety has shown greater sensitivity to Command herbicide than the long-grain varieties. In spite of the symptoms observed, Bengal often, if not always, out yielded the long-grain varieties in the same tests.

According to Dr. Webster, the same can be said of Jupiter and Neptune. Dr. Webster also mentioned that most translocated herbicides are more likely to affect medium grain varieties than long-grain varieties.

According to Bayer CropScience representatives, Ricestar HT herbicide should not be used on medium grain varieties.

We also have observed greater sensitivity to rice water weevils in the medium grain varieties. I have not seen any particular association with other insects, such as stem borers or stink bugs.

I do know that stem borers were especially attracted to the Maybelle variety. Whether they will show any preference for these varieties, I do not know.

Disease reactions can be found in Table 5 of RVMT 2009. Bengal has problems with blast, panicle blight and straighthead. Some blast has been observed on Jupiter; otherwise, it and Neptune have excellent disease packages. This does not preclude the necessity of fungicides. I recommend scouting these varieties like you would long- grain varieties and using fungicides in the same manner.

One characteristic of medium grain varieties that separates them from long-grain varieties is the longer time required from 50 percent heading to harvest. In general, it takes about 35 days from 50 percent heading to harvest in long-grain varieties and about 40 to 42 days from 50 percent heading to harvest in medium grain varieties. I would not drain medium grains earlier, but just expect them to take a little longer to reach harvest moisture.