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Speciality Markets

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Although conventional long-grain rice varieties are grown on over 75 percent of the rice acreage in the United States, there is interest in developing varieties that possess specific qualities that are required for certain value-added markets.

USDA-ARS researchers at Beaumont, Texas, and Stuttgart, Ark., in various collaborations with Texas A&M University, University of Arkansas, University of Florida, Clemson University and the International Rice Research Institute, have developed four new varieties that will help U.S. rice farmers capture these markets.

The following four varieties offer new options for U.S. growers and expanded market opportunities for the U.S. rice industry.

JES – aromatic long-grain
The variety “JES” is an aromatic, soft cooking long-grain (jasmine-style) rice that is suited for the market that is predominantly filled by imports from Thailand.

JES has improved yield, is five inches shorter in height and a week earlier in maturity compared to Jasmine 85, which is currently grown for this market. JES may provide another opportunity for U.S. growers to compete with imports.

Heirloom variety derivation
The variety “Charleston Gold” is another jasmine-style rice that was derived from “Carolina Gold” (an heirloom variety that was the basis for establishing the U.S. rice industry) and genetic material from the Philippines and India. It has excellent yield, disease resistance and cooking quality. It will likely be grown under organic conditions and will be used by the “historically authentic cuisine market” in the Carolinas.

Deltabelle and Rondo
The variety “Deltabelle” was developed in partnership with the processing industry and is suited for the “quick cooking brown rice” market. As compared to “Hidalgo” rice, which is currently grown for this market, Deltabelle has significantly reduced lodging susceptibility (6 percent versus 20 percent) and will therefore reduce production risks.

The variety “Rondo” was developed from a high-yielding variety from China. It has excellent yield and disease resistance and can be used in the white milled rice market, although its milling quality is reduced. However, like Sabine and Dixiebelle varieties, Rondo has relatively high grain amylose content, making it well suited for use by the parboiling and canning industries where milling yield is less important.

This research was conducted by Anna McClung, Ming-Hsuan Chen, Wengui Yan and J. Neil Rutger. For more information, contact Anna McClung at (870) 672-9300 ext. 275 or anna.mcclung@ars.usda.gov.

“Highlights in Research 2009” – Texas A&M AgriLIFE Research Center at Beaumont.

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