Good Crop Conditions, Strong Variety Performance Fuel Optimism at Horizon Ag Field Day

Although there are still a few weeks to go in the season, it was hard to deny the optimistic mood of the speakers and over 125 attendees at the recent Horizon Ag Louisiana Field Day held at Richard Farms in Kaplan.

The overall condition of the region’s crop has been good to excellent to this point, with the impressive performance of varieties like PVL03 and new CLL19 from Horizon Ag, leading to high expectations at harvest. In addition, the adoption of stewardship and management practices in Provisia rice is limiting the threat of weedy rice outcrossing, despite the increasing acreage of Provisia varieties like PVL03 and PVL04.

And, finally, the rice breeding pipeline is full of promising Provisia and Clearfield rice candidates, and a recently announced cooperative program between the LSU AgCenter and Horizon Ag has the potential to eventually result in the development of new, top-performing varieties for the South.

“It was exciting to experience the upbeat attitudes at this year’s field day,” said Horizon Ag CEO Dr. Tim Walker. “We had a lot of great things to talk about, in terms of what is happening in the field with our varieties, as well as our ongoing efforts in support of growers and the U.S. rice industry. It’s been a big year for rice here, and you could feel it at this event in the heart of rice country.”

Demand for rice seed was extremely strong last winter and, for various reasons, some seed suppliers didn’t have as much to sell as usual. The shortage forced many growers to turn to alternative suppliers.

Dr. Walker said Horizon Ag rose to the challenge, supplying more rice growers with varieties offering excellent yield and milling quality potential.

“We had a good seed production year and had about 25% more seed to sell than last year, which we were able to get to growers for planting,” he said. “Some growers haven’t planted our newer varieties before and are happy with what they’ve experienced so far. We’re looking forward to seeing their results at the end of the season.”

Dr. Ronnie Levy, Louisiana rice specialist, told field day attendees that the rice acreage planted in the state should be in the range of 460,000 to 475,000 acres this year. “A lot of our rice got planted early, with probably 40% to 50% planted in late February and early March,” said Dr. Levy. “Overall, we have one of the best crops that I’ve seen. Hopefully, the weather will stay favorable for rice production, and we’ll have a bountiful harvest.”

Leading the way are varieties PVL03 and CLL19, both of which were planted on a big acreage in the state this season. Corey Conner, Horizon Ag district field representative for South Louisiana, said PVL03 has been the number one planted rice seed in Louisiana for the past three years, and CLL19 is a leader in its first year of commercial availability.

Many growers are test-driving PVL04, the latest Provisia line from the University of Arkansas breeding program. In addition, CLL16 and CLL18 were popular choices in single-crop and crawfish production areas.

Growers can expect a new Clearfield long grain line in 2025, CLHA03, a high-amylose variety from the LSU AgCenter breeding program. CLHA03 will meet the unique cooking quality desired by Latin American customers while still providing good yield potential. A new, higher-yielding medium grain variety, CLM05, also will be released commercially,

The Horizon Ag and LSU AgCenter cooperative breeding effort sets the stage for the eventual release of new seed lines. Horizon Ag has hired rice breeder Dr. María Guadalupe Montiel for its independent lab located at the LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station at Crowley.

Dr. Connor Webster, LSU AgCenter weed specialist, provided an update on the latest Provisia rice developments. He credited the efforts of the Provisia Working Group and growers with turning the tide against weedy rice outcrossing.

Over the past two years, LSU, BASF, and Horizon Ag have worked with ag retailers and growers to address the issue and have “hit the challenge head-on,” he said.

“We came together as the Provisia Working Group and discussed the reasons this was happening and what we could do about it,” said Dr. Webster. “As a result, we have seen a plateau in confirmed outcrossing instances. Through stewardship efforts and good management practices, we put a stop to it. The threat is probably never going to go away, but the longer we can steward the Provisia technology, the longer we have to make it to some new technology, whatever that may be.”

This information is provided by Horizon Ag.

Related Articles

Quick Links

E-News Sign Up

Connect With Rice Farming