New kid on the block

First DynaGro rice variety shows high yield potential, good grain quality in trials.

• By Vicky Boyd,
Editor •

DG263L

Planting DG263L in the Missouri Bootheel — photos courtesy Nutrien

Since acquiring Bayer’s rice breeding program in 2015, Nutrien Ag Solutions and its parent company, Agrium, have mostly flown under the radar developing new rice cultivars.

That will change in 2021 with the launch of DG263L, a high-yielding, high-quality, long-grain inbred variety and the first commercial rice launched under the DynaGro brand umbrella, said Randy Ouzts, Nutrien U.S. rice manager.

“It looks really, really good,” he said. “We have five inbreds coming, this is the first one and this one is amazing.”

The breeding program, led by Dr. Qiming Shao at Nutrien’s research facility near El Campo, Texas, also has three-line hybrids in development. The company expects to release hybrid lines in the 2023-24 timeframe.

Zach Tanner, a Bernie, Missouri, seed producer, this season planted DG263L at 12-14 pounds per acre for seed increase with yields exceeding 200 bushels per acre.

Ouzts said Nutrien has already sold out of the variety for 2021 but expects to have significant quantities of seed available in 2022. If all goes according to plans, Ouzts said the company also could have two additional inbreds for the 2022-23 season.

The low-down on DG263L

DG263L, short for DynaGro long grain 263, reaches 50% heading in 82 days in University of Arkansas trials. Standing 36 inches tall, it has good straw strength, which was tested during three hurricanes in three successive years at the El Campo research station.

“When we were still getting 9,000-plus pounds at harvest, we knew we had something,” Ouzts said.

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. DG263L actually is part of a Nutrien breeding program used to develop hybrids.

Strong trial performances

DG263L has been in the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials for a number of years. When he first saw the variety’s yield potential, University of Arkansas Extension rice agronomist Jarrod Hardke said he was excited because it was similar to those of hybrids.

In the 2019 ARPT, for example, DG263L yielded an average of 239 bushels per acre across four locations. Milling yield across all four locations averaged 58/68.

DG263L

A seed-production field of DG263L nears maturity in the Missouri Bootheel.

In the university’s 2020 Commercial Rice Trials across 12 locations, DG263L averaged 229 bushels per acre, according to preliminary data.

In Louisiana State University AgCenter trials conducted at Crowley in 2019, DG263L yielded 9,116 pounds (202.5 bushels) per acre in the main crop and 1,724 pounds (38.3 bushels) per acre in the second crop for a total of 10,840 pounds (240.8 bushels) per acre. Milling yield was about 59/69.

Disease package

Based on what he’s seen, Hardke said the DynaGro variety appears to have a disease package similar to many other newer inbreds. As with many other varieties, DG263L may require a sheath blight fungicide under conducive conditions, Ouzts said.

Native blast tolerance from the germplasm used in breeding is present as well as Cercospora resistance, which has been confirmed through DNA testing at LSU. DG263L also has not shown smut problems in seed production, which is also a plus.

Good grain quality

In tests conducted on behalf of USA Rice’s Rice Marketability and Competitive Task Force, DG263L had amylose content of 26%, making it attractive for parboiling, Ouzts said. Amylose, a type of starch, influences rice stickiness. The higher the amylose content, the more apt the rice is to cook fluffy with separate kernels.

The high amylose content, along with the variety’s low chalk, also make it attractive for the packaged rice market, Ouzts said.

The task force initially screened 33 elite rice lines from universities and private breeding programs. Participating mills narrowed the candidates to 10 lines, on which additional cooking tests will be performed. Of the six DynaGro lines in the initial screening, five advanced, said Shao, who was involved in the task force meetings.