LSU AgCenter researchers showcase projects at annual field day

• By Vicky Boyd,
Editor •

adam famoso
LSU AgCenter long-grain breeder Adam Famoso updated attendees on some of his advanced lines at the annual Rice Field Day — photos by Vicky Boyd

The Louisiana State University AgCenter may have canceled its in-person rice field day in 2020 due to the COVID pandemic, but research on the station near Crowley continued with nary a disruption following proper safety protocols.

The annual event, now in its 112th year, returned to the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station with in-person tours June 30 as researchers showcased their latest fertility, pest control and breeding projects.

Varieties in the pipeline

Long-grain rice breeder Adam Famoso has three advanced conventional lines, all with strong yield potential. LA2207 and LA2212 have been tested since 2018 in multiple locations with yields as good and at times 5% to 10% better than Cheniere.

LA2207 has very strong blast resistance and also has performed well with good yield potential in Arkansas. Last year, it was one of the top yielding conventional lines in that state.

LA2212 is about five days earlier than CL111, making it a very early variety. Although it doesn’t have any blast-resistance genes, LA2212 nonetheless has a good disease package, Famoso said.

LA2126 has very high amylose and has received positive feedback from perspective Latin American customers as well as domestic customers such as Mars and Ben’s Original. The higher the amylose, a type of starch, the drier the rice cooks. LA2126 would fit more of the specialty market.

Famoso said he plans to make a decision on releasing one or more of the advanced lines after reviewing this year’s yield and milling data.

Also in the works is an advanced medium-grain variety with higher yield potential than both Jupiter and Titan, said medium-grain breeder Brijesh Angira. Tested during the past three years, LA1074 has yielded 10% more than Jupiter and 13% more than Titan.

“I have it in 12 locations this year, so we’ll see how the yield will be,” Angira said. He also is using marker-assisted breeding to bring blast resistance into the station’s germplasm.

In addition, he is working to develop a Provisia medium grain. “Our main focus has been long grain, but we’re beginning the process of getting Provisia into medium grain,” he said.

Developed using conventional breeding techniques, Provisia rice varieties are tolerant to Provisia herbicide, an ACCase from BASF. It contains the active ingredient quizalofop P-ethyl, which is active on grassy weeds.

Other presentations included:

• Beginning this year, the LSU AgCenter will collaborate with the University of Arkansas, Horizon Ag and Nutrien on a pre-commercial testing program in 30 locations.

“I think this is going to be a major improvement of our breeding and variety development process,” Famoso said.

The program is being underwritten by the four collaborators.

• Station resident director and agronomist Dustin Harrell conducts fertility trials each year examining varying nitrogen rates on newer cultivars. The goal is to determine optimum rates and timing to maximize yield potential.

With the newly released Clearfield variety, CLL17, Harrell recommended growers reduce overall nitrogen to 90-130 pounds per acre. That compares to the LSU recommendation for most other inbred varieties of 120-160 pounds of nitrogen, depending on the soil type.

CLL17 also has a lighter green leaf color than some of the station’s other releases, so Harrell advised not managing fertility based on leaf greenness.

james villegas
Entomology graduate student James Villegas shows why seed treatments are important to prevent rice water weevil damage. The plant on the left was untreated. The plant on the right had a seed treatment. Notice the difference in the root and plant size.

• Rice entomologist Blake Wilson and graduate student James Villegas continue work to determine grower return on investment for various rice water weevil and stem borer treatments. As part of their work, they’re also screening cultivars for natural tolerance to weevil and stem borers.

Jupiter had the most rice water weevil damage, which is consistent with previous studies. “Unfortunately, none of our commercial rice cultivars have natural resistance to rice water weevil,” Wilson said.

Based on three years of data from Louisiana as well as similar studies in Texas and Mississippi, hybrids generally have more tolerance to rice water weevil feeding than inbreds, he said.

The Mexican rice borer has taken over as the main stem borer pest of Louisiana rice. In trials, Jazzman and Cheniere had about 50% to 70% less stem borer injury or white heads than other lines.

Wilson said they also are testing insecticides for potential rice stink bug management since control by pyrethroids, the most popular chemistries, is waning.

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