What are we going to plant in 2013?
One of the most frequently asked
questions this fall has been, “What
are we going to plant next year?” It is
also one of the most uncommon
questions I have been asked over the years in this position.
Most of the time, the variety selection process in rice is
fairly simple because, unlike soybeans, there are fewer recommended
varieties from which to choose. In recent years,
we have the introduction of Clearfield lines and hybrids,
but, even with those additions, the number is limited.
In the 2013 edition of Rice Varieties and Management
Tips, the LSU AgCenter lists four recommended long-grain
varieties, three medium grain varieties and six Clearfield
varieties. There are descriptions of six hybrid varieties, too.
It appears there are 19 varieties, but, in reality, there are
fewer. Medium grain acreage made up about six percent
of the total acreage in 2012 in Louisiana. Within the three
medium grain varieties, only two have been approved by Kellogg’s,
further restricting choices.
Within the conventional long-grain group is Cocodrie – a variety
widely grown at one time and on its way out based on acreage surveys.
Within the Clearfield group is a medium grain variety and two older
long-grain varieties currently grown on limited acreage. Because
the LSU AgCenter has not been able to test the hybrid varieties for the
past few years, I cannot provide much information about them.
The special purpose varieties such as Della, Della-2, Jazzman,
Jazzman-2, Milagro Filipino and Toro-2 should only be grown under
contract. There are a few others that fall into that same category,
mostly grown in other states.
So, what do we plant next year? Among the conventional long-grain
varieties, I like Cheniere, Catahoula and Mermentau. Last year was
a good year for Cheniere. In two verification fields, it showed better
tolerance to blast than many other varieties.
Catahoula has not gained much acceptance, but I think it is worth
looking at because it stands well, has excellent grain quality and has
a good disease package. It just has not yielded as well as had been
hoped. I have had no experience with the new variety Mermentau, but
would not hesitate to try it.
From the Clearfield list of pure line varieties, I like CL111 and
CL152 the best. A few years ago, most were about to abandon CL111.
However, even though it is rated moderately susceptible to blast, its
performance under the tremendous blast pressure of 2012 made it one
of the most successful varieties last summer.
What I saw of CL152 in our verification program was good. It
does not yield as well as CL151, but it performed well under intense
blast pressure, has very good grain quality and good second crop
potential. Despite the yield potential of CL151, its reputation for
chalkiness and susceptibility to blast may have rung its death knell.
I would not abandon it yet, but would limit my acreage planted to it.
I still like the grain quality of Cypress and CL161. However, I
would put them in the same class as special purpose varieties and grow
them under contract to compensate for their lower yield potential.
Because of the lower demand for medium grain varieties, I would
explore the market before planting them.
The hybrids have their place as well. Their yield potential and
disease package are well documented. In some instances, grain quality
has been in question.
3 Newest cultivars
With 2012 now in the books, plans for
the 2013 growing season are in front of us.
As with every crop, it begins with the seed.
Cultivar selection and placement is a critical
component for laying a good foundation for a good rice crop.
The best source for unbiased information on rice cultivar performance
is from your state’s Official Variety Trials. Mississippi’s
2012 Rice Variety Trial Booklet can be found on the Web at
http://msucares.com/pubs/infobulletins/ib0472.pdf, or you can
contact your county Extension office. This booklet contains the latest
yield information on particular cultivars and information on disease
ratings and nitrogen rates for selected cultivars.
Instead of talking about all of the cultivars that have been available
for several years, I want to focus on three of the newest cultivars
that are available (Rex, CL152 and XL753) in this article.
Rex is a conventional long-grain semi-dwarf variety release
from Mississippi State University. Rough rice yields with this
variety have been comparable to or above Cocodrie. Also, Rex has
shown to be a more stable variety in terms of yield across many
different environments, years and locations when compared to
Cocodrie. Whole grain milling yields with Rex have been slightly
lower than Cocodrie. Rex is an early maturating variety with a
maturity level comparable to Cocodrie. Rex has great standability
in the field, and we have seen no issues with lodging problems
in plots or in production fields. Rex is susceptible to sheath blight,
very susceptible to blast and moderately resistant to straighthead.
CL152 is a long-grain semi-dwarf Clearfield variety released
from LSU AgCenter and marketed by Horizon Ag. Rough rice
yields with this variety have been slightly lower than CL111 and
CL151. Whole grain milling yields with CL152 have been
slightly better than CL111 and CL151. CL152 is similar in height
to CL111 and CL151, but is moderately resistant to lodging.
CL152 is rated susceptible to sheath blight, moderately susceptible
to blast and moderately resistant to straighthead.
XL753 is a conventional long-grain hybrid released from
RiceTec. This hybrid has shown three to 10 percent yield advantage
over XL723. Whole grain milling yields have been lower
with XL753 than other commercial cultivars. To achieve the
highest quality rice with any of the commercially available hybrids,
try to begin harvesting at 18 to 20 percent.
XL753 is moderately susceptible to sheath blight, moderately
resistant to blast and straighthead. Height, maturity and harvestability
are similar to XL723.
In order to select the rice cultivar that will
provide the best chance for success in your particular
growing environment, it is important to look at as much information
as possible. Do not rely on information from a single year to
dictate your cultivar selection, especially a year like 2012. It was a
good year. It was a bad year. A new state record yield of 163 bu/A was
achieved in 2012, which certainly saw some cultivars exceed expectations.
Complaints on milling quality arose after late thunderstorms
battered the state. It would be unwise to expect similar results in
2013, but then again, stranger things have happened.
Diversity in your rice cultivar selection could have the greatest
impact on ensuring continued success year after year. It is wise to
rotate and balance Clearfield and non-Clearfield varieties for the
sake of preserving both conventional herbicide technology and
Clearfield technology. Planting continuous Clearfield rice is not
good stewardship of the technology and will eventually lead to problems
with this technology, sooner rather than later.
CL151 and CL152 are similar varieties that both have good yield
potential and similar disease packages, but CL152 has improved
stalk strength and chalk compared to CL151. CL XL729 is an older
technology that continues to perform very well, while CL XL745
has begun to dominate the Clearfield hybrid market.
RiceTec will market two hybrids in their identity preservation
program for 2013 – CL XP4534 and XP4523. These hybrids performed
very well in the 2012 variety performance trials, where they
consistently produced high yields across multiple locations.
The most consistent conventional varieties over the past few years
have been RoyJ, Taggart and Francis. In 2012, RoyJ produced grain
yields with the consistency most commonly seen from hybrids. In
addition, this variety has very good stalk strength and typically will
not lodge even under extreme conditions. Taggart has been another
consistent performer that has the added benefit of straighthead resistance.
XL753 has been outstanding in the variety performance trials
over the past two years, performing more consistently than other
Diversity is also extremely important as it relates to the maturity of
the cultivars you select to grow in 2013. Some of the problems with
rice quality in recent years can, in many instances, be explained not
only by high nighttime air temperatures during critical growth stages,
but also by harvest moisture content. Growers, weather permitting,
have a large degree of control over harvest moisture content by
choosing when to harvest. It is unwise to plant your entire farm to similar
cultivars of similar maturity.
If all of your rice is planted inside of a week, then it will mature at
the same time. When this happens, you need to harvest your entire
acreage at once, but since this is not feasible, rice continues to dry and
lose quality, which is further reduced if rainfall and heavy dew cause
repeated rewetting and drying. If you desire to plant all of your rice
at once, plant a balance of early maturing cultivars such as CL111 or
CL XL745 followed by later maturing cultivars such as RoyJ or
Taggart, which will spread your harvest window out by 10 days.
In summary, it would be best to either deliberately spread your
planting window across several weeks or select cultivars that have considerable
differences in maturity. Each of these options will provide
you with the ability to harvest your rice crop in a timely manner and
at the best harvest moisture content to preserve quality.
Remember the keys to selecting success in 2013: Diversify your
cultivar selection, rotate crops and technologies and diversify crop
planting and harvest times.
For detailed information on university testing of rice cultivars,
please visit http://www.arkansasvarietytesting.com/.
Select for main and ratoon crop yield
As you well know, choosing a variety for
your operation is probably the most important
management decision you make. I have often
heard my scientific colleagues say rice yield and quality are 50 percent
determined by genetics and 50 percent determined by management
practices (this is why the rice breeders get a large chunk of farmers’ check-off funds, which is only appropriate!). Rice breeders
are the quarterbacks and running backs while entomologists are the
pulling guards and nose tackles of our scientific teams. Speaking of
quarterbacks, how about the Ags’ “Johnny Football?” Not too shabby
for a freshman!
Anyway, for Texas, rice farmers want a variety with both excellent
main and ratoon crop yield and quality potential. Recently, I participated
in a meeting with selected Texas rice farmers and crop consultants
who emphasized the importance of developing varieties with
early season cold-hardiness because our Texas rice farmers are planting
earlier to increase the chance of producing two crops with outstanding
yields. Early planting can also avoid extremely hot weather
during main crop flowering, which reduces the likelihood of panicle
In general, the longer your crop is in the field, the more bad things
can happen to it. For instance, late plantings are often associated
with more rice stink bug, blackbird and stalk borer pressure. Late
main crop harvests are more likely to coincide with the hurricane
season leading to potentially more lodging. Some of our Texas rice
farmers are now planting in late February and early March with main
crop harvesting around the 4th of July and ratoon crop harvesting
in September and October. In 2012, at least one Texas rice farmer produced
100 barrels per acre on two crops – planting was in late February/
early March. Also, I don’t
know about you, but I do
believe our climate is changing,
which may favor earlier
plantings in the future.
Another important consideration
is seed cost. We know the
hybrids have excellent yield
potential, but does the seed cost
justify the high yields? Farmers
must make this decision based
on their own experiences.
Hybrid seeding rates are very
low, so if you plan on planting
a hybrid early, be aware that
stand problems may ensue. To
me, this means you definitely
want to apply an insecticidal
Both CruiserMaxx Rice and
NipsIt INSIDE control seedling
pests with piercing-sucking
mouthparts like chinch bug,
aphids and thrips. In addition,
CruiserMaxx Rice has three
fungicides for seedling disease
control. Dermacor X-100 seed
treatment controls fall armyworm,
stalk borers and flies
such as South American rice miner. All three of these seed treatments
control rice water weevil. At the above meeting, all of the
crop consultants had an insecticidal treatment applied to all their
farmers’ planted rice seed.
I talked with our rice breeder, Dr. Dante Tabien, recently. Dante reported that seed from his two new varieties, Antonio and Colorado,
will be planted to produce certified seed in 2013. Thus, these varieties
will be available for commercial planting in 2014. For newly released
varieties, do not “put all your eggs in one basket.” In other words, don’t
plant all your acreage to a variety you have never grown before – plant
most of your acreage to varieties in which you have confidence
I recently attended the 24th Annual Texas Plant Protection Conference,
which is a great meeting to find out about the latest research
and Extension programs/results for many crops produced in Texas.
I encourage you to attend this conference, which is usually held near
Texas A&M University during the first week of December. If you
want more info on this meeting, contact me at (409) 658-2186 or
While at the meeting, I met a fine young man, Brett Helms, who
currently works for a fertilizer company near Houston. Brett is an
imposing figure, but is very friendly, smart, courteous and engaging.
It so happens that Brett played starting center on one of LSU’s national
championship football teams a few years ago. Brett also got a
degree in Business from LSU. So student and athlete do not have to
be mutually exclusive! I think Nick Saban was coaching at the time.
Also, Brett played a few seasons with the Houston Texans.
Brett’s last name may be familiar to some of you because his Dad is Dr. Ronnie Helms, who is a rice crop consultant in Arkansas. All
I can say is that although Ronnie done good, maybe I should give the
credit to Brett’s mom! I sometimes complain about the younger generation,
but we old timers are in good hands if Brett is any indication
of today’s youth.
Newer varieties, lower HMC
The successful production and marketing
of rice requires knowledge of plant and grain
characteristics. Since a rice grower’s first concern
is usually yield performance, it is the most important criterion for
variety selection, although for certain varieties market quality outweighs
Variety selection should also consider the maturity class that best
fits a particular farming operation or climatic zone. For example,
late-maturing varieties fit early planting schedules; cold-tolerant varieties
are needed for cooler areas. Agronomic characteristics, such
as lodging and nitrogen response, may also be considered in addition
to straw quantity and quality.
Maturity of California rice varieties is classified by the number
of days from planting to maturity in the warmer areas of the state. The
length of the vegetative stage (i.e. days from planting to panicle differentiation)
is similar among the California public varieties. Maturity
classes differ in the time required to heading.
Beyond the 50 percent heading point, California short and medium
grain varieties normally require another 40 to 55 days for grain maturity
in warm areas, and five to 15 days more in cool areas. Longgrain
varieties usually ripen five to 10 days faster after 50 percent heading
than medium grain varieties. Maturity is relative and can be
advanced or delayed by planting date, nutritional status, temperature
and other environmental factors.
Three categories are used: Very early (e.g. M-105), early (e.g. M-
205) and late maturing (e.g. M-401). Very early varieties are commonly
grown in cooler areas and for late plantings. Cool areas include
the zone south of Highway 20, east of Highway 99.
They reach 50 percent heading in less than 90 days. It is increasingly
common to plant very early varieties in warm areas to advance harvest
and allow more time for straw management.
The principle public varieties in this category are M-104 and the
newly released variety M-105. M-105 is earlier maturing than M-
206, but not as early as M-104. It exhibits very high, stable milling
yields. Its yield potential is greater than M-104, but less than M-206.
It is less cold tolerate than M-104. 2012 was the first year that M-105
was grown on a commercial scale. Preliminary tallies show that M-
105 frequently yielded over 9,000 lb/A dry with head/total values
around 67 and 72 percent, respectively.
Another newly released variety, Calhikari-202 (CH-202), moved
into commercial seed production in 2012. CH-202, a second generation
California premium quality short grain, is a little earlier and
out performs the yield, milling and cooking quality of Calhikari-201
(CH-201). Its yield, averaged over five years from the statewide variety
trials, was 8,600 lb/A.
In contrast, CH-201 averaged 8,060 lb/A. CH-202 exhibits grain
size and quality characteristics comparable to the premium quality
Japanese varieties. See page 22 of the report at http://www.plant-sciences.ucdavis.edu/ricestation/linked/2011annualreport.pdf for
more grain quality information. CH-202 certified seed will be available
Early varieties, principally M-205 and M-206, occupy roughly 70
to 75 percent of the acreage. They are Calrose-type medium grains and
are generally higher yielding than other varieties. These varieties are
suited to a wide range of planting dates. They reach 50 percent heading
in 86 to 92 days after planting depending on planting date and temperature.
At harvest time, M-206 grain moisture content (MC) will
sometimes “hang.” In other words, it will stop drying down.
In 2012, the dry down of M-206 stalled at around 25 percent MC
for 10 to 14 days in some instances. This characteristic is exaggerated
by cool temperatures. If you are in an area prone to blast disease,
M-208 is the variety of choice. Its yield and milling potential is comparable
to that of M-206.
Interestingly, the newer varieties can be safely harvested at lower
grain MC that the last generation of varieties (e.g. M-202, Table 1).
Keep in mind that
safe harvesting at 18
percent MC refers to
the first time the
grain reaches that
from dew or rain will
fissure the kernels of
the newer varieties.
head and total yields
may not be achieved
at this lower MC if
there has been repeated
as was sometimes the case during the latter part of the 2012
All California public rice varieties are sensitive to low temperatures
during pollen development. This physiological stage coincides with
the time when the collar of the flag leaf is adjacent to the next to the
last leaf, and when the panicle is still entirely inside the boot.
While many combinations of time and temperature can cause
blanking, an overnight low of 55 degrees or lower can cause pollen
sterility. Deep water (six to eight inches) to insulate the pollen is
advisable for all varieties.
More about agronomic characteristics and planting dates of California
public varieties can be found at http://www.plant-sciences.ucdavis.edu/uccerice/agronomy_fact_sheets/agronomy_fact_sheets.htm.
Suggested planting dates assume average weather conditions.
Within the preferred planting date range, California varieties have high
yield potential, other limiting factors notwithstanding. Planting outside
the recommended ranges increases the risk of weather-related
damage, particularly should the harvest season be cool and wet.
Planting dates are not rigid, and many growers accept the risk and successfully
plant outside these ranges.