Living up to the billing

New DG263L Dyna-Gro long grain impresses with strong yields and milling.

• By Vicky Boyd,
Editor •

Several seed producers ramped up production of DG263L last season in anticipation of strong demand for 2022. This field was in northeast Arkansas — photo by Vicky Boyd

Jeff Reidhar, who farms rice near Des Arc, Arkansas, likes to explore his options as new varieties or technologies come out. When Dyna-Gro offered him a chance to plant 220 acres of its new DG263L long-grain variety in 2021, Reidhar didn’t hesitate. He was so impressed with the results that he plans to grow more this season.

“It cut good. It threshed good using a stripper-header,” Reidhar said, adding it yielded 189 bushels per acre dry with milling of 59-71. “I was very pleased with the milling. My milling was the worst I’ve seen in 23 years of farming, and the Dyna-Gro was the best milling I had. That’s why it stood out in my mind.”

He wasn’t the only grower pleased by the newcomer‘s performance.

LG Raun, who farms near El Campo, Texas, said he planted a 109-acre field of DG263L to see whether it would help him diversify his varietal mix.

“I’m locked into one variety, which I swore a long time ago I wouldn’t do,” he said. “I got down to one, and I’m searching for another variety. I want what the buyers want and will yield well and whether it’s economically feasible for my farming operation.”

This past season, Raun’s DG263L field yielded 88 hundredweight per acre dry (194 bushels per acre) with a milling yield of 59/69 during the first harvest. His ratoon yield was 18 cwt per acre (about 40 bushels), and he’s waiting for his grade sheet.

Put to the test

Reidhar and Raun were two of hundreds of farmers who tried DG263L on about 80,000 acres’ worth of demonstration fields in 2021, said Randy Ouzts, Nutrien Ag Solution’s U.S. rice manager. Based on 2021 yield and milling results as well as grower interest, he said he should have plenty of seed to meet market demand this season.

Developed by Dr. Qiming “Doc” Shao, Nutrien’s senior U.S. rice breeder, DG263L is a high-yielding conventional long grain with a strong disease package and good milling yields.
Yields harvested during 2021 ranged from about 185 to 190 bushels per acre dry to as high as 250 bushels per acre dry, Ouzts said.

In University of Arkansas 2021 Commercial Rice Trials across 11 locations, DG263L averaged 223 bushels per acre, according to preliminary results. That compares to 202 bushels per acre for the Diamond variety and 236 bushels per acre for the hybrid RT 7301.

Milling yields for DG263L across the farm-scale demonstrations averaged 56-69, which Ouzts considered good for what was a challenging year for grain quality in many areas.

In the Arkansas commercial trials, the Dyna-Gro variety averaged 56-68 across 11 locations, while Diamond averaged 57-70 and RT 7301 averaged 54-71.

Ratoon challenges

Lower-than-expected ratoon, or second-crop, yields were one of the few disappointments for Raun with the new variety. This past season, he shredded all his fields after the first harvest before flooding for the ratoon crop. What Raun noticed was the practice delayed DG263L maturity by three to four weeks. Areas on the levees that weren’t shredded matured significantly earlier. As a result, Raun said he doesn’t plan to shred after his first crop this season.

Despite his experience with the second crop, Raun said he plans to increase DG263L plantings to 200 to 300 acres this season to keep testing it.

“I’m very pleased with the first crop, not so pleased with the second crop, but you’re still not that far off on the second crop,” he said. “Just for the sake of diversity, if it’s pretty close like this is, I’m going to have more seed for this year.”

Still learning

Shao acknowledged that Nutrien is still learning about the new variety, especially its ratoon potential.

“I think there are ways to manage it differently,” he said. “We need to get more information. Maybe we can get some better ideas of what’s going on.”

qiming shao randy ouzts
Nutrien’s Randy Ouzts (right) and senior breeder Dr. Qiming “Doc” Shao check out some of their varieties in a trial at the LSU AgCenter’s H. Rouse Caffey Rice Experiment Station near Crowley, Louisiana — photo by Vicky Boyd

He plans to talk to growers of second crops to collect information about their practices to try to correlate to ratoon yields.

Based on 2021 observations, Ouzts said they also plan to reduce recommended seeding rates by about 10% for 2022 due to the variety’s heavy tillering. Nutrien should have a better idea after it conducts additional seeding rate studies this season.

Raun also plans to back off his seeding rate for 2022. As with any new variety, he said he plants on the high end of the recommended rate. With Nutrien’s new variety, Raun drill-seeded 60 pounds per acre in 2021 and found it produced what he considered an overly dense canopy.

Strong agronomic package

DG263L, short for Dyna-Gro 263 long grain, reaches 50% heading in 82 days in University of Arkansas trials. With a height of 36 inches, it has good straw strength, which was tested during three hurricanes in three successive years at Nutrien’s El Campo, Texas, research station.

Raun said he was impressed with the variety’s stoutness from the time it emerged until harvest.

“The plant type was just amazing,” he said. “It looked like a grain sorghum plant coming up. It looked stout as can be.”

The variety has a diverse genetic background, with germplasm from China, India and Brazil as well as from two older U.S. public varieties, Cypress and Alan, Shao said. DG-263L actually is part of a system used to develop hybrids in Nutrien’s current breeding program.

While DG263L doesn’t have the Pi-ta or Pi-ks blast-resistance genes, it does have native tolerance to the fungal disease, Ouzts said.

“The science hasn’t caught up to whatever blast package this variety has because it’s naturally occurring,” he said.

It also has a gene imparting resistance to Cercospora, based on Louisiana State University AgCenter analysis.

Cooking show and tell

qiming shao cooking demonstration
Nutrien Ag Solution’s senior rice breeder Dr. Qiming “Doc” Shao (right) discusses the quality traits of DG263L with potential buyers. The meeting was part of the U.S. Rice Quality Symposium II, held in conjunction with the USA Rice Outlook Conference recently in New Orleans — photo by Vicky Boyd

Shao showed off the new variety as well as two experimental lines during the Rice Quality Symposium II, held during the recent USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans.

Supported by USA Rice and the Rice Foundation, it is part of an industry effort to develop rice varieties with end users in mind. Select buyers, including from Latin America, were invited to meet with U.S. rice breeders and taste cooked samples of their releases.

Shao said DG263L was well received by tasters and buyers who liked the firmer texture.
DG263L also has an amylose content of 26%, putting it in the high-amylose category. A type of rice starch, amylose affects the stickiness of cooked rice — the higher the amylose, the drier the rice cooks. Kernels from high-amylose varieties also separate after cooking.

These cooking characteristics are sought by processors, parboilers and many Latin American rice buyers.

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