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In This Issue
Desire To Succeed Describes The Rookie
EPA Addresses Oil Spill Rule
First Line Of Defense
A New Trio Hits The Field
Variable Rate Fertility
From the Editor
Rice Producers Forum
USA Rice Federation
Specialists Speaking
Industry News
Specialist Speaking print email

Presidio has excellent ratoon potential.

Let’s revisit the 2010 season to gain perspective on the 2011 season. First, I want to correct a statement I made in last month’s Specialist Speaking article. Dr. Larry Falconer, Texas AgriLife Extension Service Agricultural Economist, puts Texas rice acreage in 2010 at about 200,000, which is about 20,000 more than I reported. So, thank you, Larry, for this update. Second, according to the Beaumont Center’s Texas Rice Crop Survey, which does not encompass all Texas rice acreage but does represent a robust data set, the following varieties with associated percentages of total rice acreage planted in Texas in 2010 are Presidio, 12 percent; CL111 and CL151, each 11 percent; Cheniere and Cocodrie, each 9 percent; Clearfield XL745 and XL723, each eight percent; and Catahoula, seven percent. Other varieties make up the remainder of Texas’ planted rice acreage in 2010.

Third, the survey shows about 54 percent of main crop rice was ratoon cropped in Texas in 2010. In some counties, this percentage was much higher, so the ratoon crop is becoming increasingly important to Texas rice producers. This is why Presidio led the survey – because of decent, stable main crop yields, good milling quality and excellent ratoon potential. The ratoon crop serves as a hedge against low main crop yields, and, in this fashion, can spread producer risk. This is why many Texas rice farmers are managing their ratoon crops like their main crops, putting in the time, resources and decision-making to maximize yield.

The survey also shows the importance of Clearfield technology to our Texas rice producers. However, in 2010, which was not a “normal” weather year, CL111 and CL151, as well as other varieties, experienced panicle blight problems. The hybrids continue to be strong in Texas (high main and ratoon crop yields), and I foresee continued expansion of hybrid acreage in Texas.

Rice scientists in Texas are revising the Texas Rice Production Guidelines, so the 2011 edition will be available in January. The 2010 edition was published as hard copies and online (Beaumont Center Web site, but the 2011 version will only be available online. At any rate, the revised bulletin will list varieties available for 2011, along with descriptions of these varieties.

I have heard it said many times that genetics make up about 60 percent of the yield potential of a given variety, while production management makes up the remainder. Make an informed choice by accounting for your own experience and data collected by public and private rice scientists and visit with your neighbors. Spread your risk by planting more than one variety, which also can help you with harvest operations.

As a rule of thumb, select early maturing varieties to take advantage of producing a successful ratoon crop and plant these varieties early. In general, early planting can help you avoid high temperatures during flowering and pest problems – particularly insects and diseases. It also allows you to ratoon crop. The Texas Rice Belt has a very challenging environment, which is conducive to the build-up of damaging pest populations. You Texas rice farmers need to bring your “A-game” to the season. Next to the last comment: It has been extremely dry in the Texas Rice Belt this fall and early winter. Our farmers need rain now to help fill reservoirs and underground aquifers before the field season begins anew.

Last comment: By the time this article is published, we will know the outcome of the Aggie-Tiger Cotton Bowl game. In the meantime – Gig ‘em Ags!!! No matter the outcome, Bevo was dehorned (and maybe worse!!!).

Study before buying

For many years, most farmers looked at the recommended variety list and chose the variety or varieties that were most likely to produce the highest yields on their farm. Now the choices include traditional pure line varieties, Clearfield pure line varieties, hybrid varieties and Clearfield hybrid varieties.

Within each of these categories are several varieties from which the grower has to choose. If we throw in the choice between long-grain and medium grain, it gets more complicated. Special purpose varieties such as Jazzman and Della do not affect many growers although more attention is being given to these and other varieties with unique properties. When I started working with rice, we chose either long- or medium grain and then from a short list in either category. All varieties were pure lines, and none were resistant to Newpath or Beyond herbicides.

Our recently revised Rice Varieties and Management Tips for 2011 lists 11 recommended varieties, 14 other long-grain varieties, one other medium grain variety and four special purpose varieties for a total of 30 varieties. The publication is available in hard copy from your county agent or online at: One glaring error is the absence of a description of CL111 in the hard copy. In spite of repeated reviews, yours truly did not catch the error in time. It is included in the online version. Again, none of the hybrids are listed as recommended varieties because of the lack of three years of testing rather than anything negative about them.

Based on comments from growers and millers, I would consider growing a variety with high grain quality like Cypress or CL161. Despite their lower yield, the grain quality is so good that buyers looking for package rice seek out these growers. As with Jazzman or Della, a market should be negotiated prior to planting to compensate for the lower yield potential. I know a few growers who did that last year and were able to sell at decent prices when others had to settle for lower prices.

Another consideration in variety selection is resistance to lodging. I mention this because of the problems experienced last year especially in northeast Louisiana. One consultant told me he could ride around and identify every field of Catahoula because it was the only variety standing at the end of the season. This variety has not performed as well in south Louisiana as it has from the middle of the state northward. Dr. Mike Salassi did an economic analysis of the effects of lodging on return that demonstrated surprising economic losses that will be published soon. In it, the effects of lodging on milling alone were surprising in addition to the expected losses in yield.

Where second crop is important, the hybrids stand out because of their excellent second crop potential. This year, prices at harvest were so low that some growers did not fertilize and in some cases did not even flood fields they had intended to second crop. When prices climbed, they regretted that decision. Those who managed fields for the ratoon crop witnessed better prices and one of the best second crop yields we have had in a long time.
Because variety selection is so important, it’s worth the effort to check available publications before ordering seed.

No room for failure

With 2010 growing season behind us, many producers are beginning to make production decisions for the upcoming year. Variety selection is the first and foremost decision a rice producer makes when growing rice. A producer’s prior experience with varieties helps him ultimately decide what and what not to grow in the upcoming year. Also, rice producers need to try new varieties that they feel potentially can fit into their production system.

As we have learned in the past, making wholesale changes in varieties can be quite costly, especially when there is little field production knowledge of a newly released variety. With high production costs and increased market volatility, a rice crop has to be produced. There is no room for failure.

Cocodrie and Cheniere are conventional varieties that have been around for a while. These varieties have a good history in Mississippi and have performed under various crop production conditions. Even though these may be old varieties, they are still the most consistent, high-yielding conventional varieties that are currently available. In the absence of red rice, these varieties need strong consideration.

In Clearfield varieties, there has been more development in newly released varieties. This has been primarily because of the lack of high-yielding varieties on the market and the rapid adoption of the Clearfield technology by rice producers.

CL151 has been a very productive variety in terms of yield. However, lodging has been a problem with rice producers. With the lodging issue, the market share of this variety will be somewhat limited. CL131 has very desirable plant characteristics, such as plant height and earliness, but yields with this variety have been significantly lower than the other commercially available lines. CL131 yields have averaged 20 percent lower than CL151.

CL111 is a newly released variety. It matures about three to seven days ahead of CL151 and is approximately three inches taller than CL111. The yields for CL111 have been approximately five to 10 percent lower than CL151. CL111 has better resistance to lodging. However, if harvesting is delayed and CL111 is allowed to get dryer than around 15 percent moisture, lodging will start to become more of an issue.

CL142-AR is another newly released variety. In the yield trials, CL142-AR resulted in yields comparable to CL111 and CL151. This is a taller variety, but it does have exceptional straw strength. Milling yields with this variety (in one year’s worth of testing) were lower than the other commercially available lines.

Please feel free to look over our Mississippi On-Farm Variety Trial Information. It can be found at

Match variety to field

For some of us, the New Year marks the beginning of a new cropping season. The first stage of the process is variety selection. Many have already begun that process, and some have finished. Albeit, here are some considerations as you make decisions about which varieties should be planted in specific fields. The disappointments of 2010 should have some bearing on our decisions for 2011, but it should not be the one and only factor considered. The tendency is to give up on a variety because it was a disaster in 2010. We need to look at the problems in 2010, but growers need to consider as much variety testing information as possible.

We learned that some varieties (Wells, CL151, CL131, etc.) are very susceptible to bacterial panicle blight, while Jupiter and the hybrids are fairly resistant. However, bacterial panicle blight alone did not cause low yields. Warmer than normal temperatures, particularly nighttime lows, coupled with drought in many areas caused a significant strain on irrigation capacity and subsequent water management. In many cases, water management was the difference in good yields and not-so-good yields.

There are some new varieties available this year that growers might want to consider. Roy J is a new long-grain that has excellent straw strength, manageable disease risk and good yield potential. Over the last three years, Roy J has been the highest yielding conventional long-grain in our variety trials. It is similar to Wells in blast susceptibility and is moderately susceptible to sheath blight. It is one of the few standard-statured varieties that is moderately resistant to lodging. Taggart is another conventional variety that has performed well in our trials. It has good yield potential and is moderately susceptible to blast, which is slightly better than Wells. It is also one of the better choices if straighthead is a problem.

New Clearfields will be available in 2011, including CL142-AR, CL181-AR, CL111 and CL261. CL142-AR has good yield potential, manageable disease risk (comparable to Wells), is less susceptible to bacterial panicle blight than CL151 and seems to be fairly consistent. CL111 has performed well in some areas but has a high disease risk. It is very susceptible to blast, sheath blight, bacterial panicle blight, narrow brown leaf spot and stem rot. CL261 is a medium grain variety with excellent yield potential but has high disease risk.

Variety selection is one of the most important decisions you make all year. Putting the right variety or hybrid in the right field can mean success or failure for that variety and for the farm. I encourage you to look at as much variety trial information as you can. Varieties that have high disease risk should be planted on the best soils and at optimum planting dates. Varieties that have more manageable disease risk can be planted on more marginal ground. However, each field should be assessed independently. Our rice variety trials are posted at If you have any questions regarding variety selection, please feel free to contact your local county Extension agent or give me a call.

California Medium Grain Rice Project

In 2010, Dr. K.S. McKenzie assumed leadership for the Medium Grain Rice Project. Medium grain varieties are the foundation and bulk of California rice production. Dr. V.C. Andaya, along with RES project leaders and staff, has begun working with the Medium Grain Project, focusing on the early generation stages and the work on disease resistance germplasm developed in the RES pathology project. Materials that were put in the pipeline by Dr. Carl Johnson (retired) continue to move forward, being evaluated in yield tests. Newer materials, ideas and approaches instituted by Dr. Lage are just beginning to be evaluated.

Herbicide Tolerance
Varieties show difference in tolerance to rice herbicides, which is often reflected in stand and line performance in the breeding nursery. The RES Breeding Program is working with the UC weed scientists to try to characterize these differences in varieties and breeding materials. Induced mutation was used very successfully in the southern United States to recover ALS herbicide-resistant rice (Clearfield). A limited effort has been made to recover plants with increased tolerance to the ALS herbicide Granite GR at RES. In 2009-2010, approximately 250,000 mutagenized M-206 seedlings were screened in the greenhouse, and 250 putative mutants selected for advancement and further testing. These selections will be tested to determine if any enhanced levels of herbicide tolerance have been found. Screening using some other rice herbicides is also underway.

Very Early Medium Grain Increase
A very early experimental line, 05-Y-471, is in foundation seed increase at RES, continued evaluation in UCCE Statewide Yield Tests and three strip trials at locations in commercial fields. It is a selection from a cross of the widely grown M-206 and very early cold tolerant M-104. Yield tests to date show good yield potential that is comparable to the parents. The data collected indicates that the high, stable milling yield found in M-206 has been recombined with much of the cold tolerance (blanking resistance) and early maturity of M-104. The improved milling yield, blanking resistance and earlier maturity would provide a varietal option to California growers to aid their planting or harvest management.

Source: Rice Experiment Station, Biggs, Calif.

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