New varieties look promising

Rice breeders continue to bring outstanding options to the marketplace.

By Carroll Smith

Carroll Smith, Editor

Carroll Smith, Editor

One facet of production of which the U.S. rice industry is most proud is the work done by its rice breeders. They are always looking for the “next big thing” to help provide another tool for U.S. rice producers to be more competitive in the world market.

Following are descriptions of some of their latest releases as well as a sneak peek of what U.S. rice breeders have waiting in the wings.

Louisiana State University AgCenter has officially released long grain variety CL153 and medium grain CL272 as foundation seed, which means the varieties will primarily be in seed increase in 2016. Dr. Steve Linscombe, senior rice breeder, H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station, says the varieties should be available for extensive commercial production in 2017.

“CL151 is our highest yielding variety in Louisiana,” Linscombe says. “But it is more susceptible to blast than we would like to see, and we did have a considerable blast problem in 2012. In selecting CL153, we observed a variety with the yield potential of CL151 that had a little better grain quality. In yield tests across the Southern rice-growing region, this variety appears to be very similar in yield potential to CL151 and has less chalk. CL153 has a grain approaching 7 millimeters, which, in all things considered, is a better characteristic.”

After observing CL153 in yield tests across the Southern rice-growing region, Dr. Steve Linscombe says this variety appears to be very similar in yield potential to CL151 and has less chalk.

After observing CL153 in yield tests across the Southern rice-growing region,
Dr. Steve Linscombe says this variety appears to be very similar in yield potential to CL151 and has less chalk.

Another attribute of CL153 is its very good blast resistance, especially in Louisiana. The variety has a maturity of 86 days to 50 percent heading, which is almost identical to CL151, and plant height of about 38 inches, very similar to 151.

“We can’t really get a real good handle on lodging until we get it out in producers’ fields,” Linscombe says. “But everything I’ve seen to this point leads me to believe that it’s going to be more resistant to lodging than CL151. We’re rating CL153 susceptible to sheath blight and moderately susceptible to narrow brown leaf spot and bacterial panicle blight. For a long grain variety, it’s pretty good all the way around for diseases.”

New Medium Grain

The yield potential of medium grain CL272 is very similar to CL271 and Jupiter and is moderately susceptible to blast, Linscombe says. CL272’s plant height and maturity is also very similar to CL271.

“Primarily CL272 has a grain appearance superiority over CL271,” he explains. “In some cases, CL271 tends to ‘tombstone,” or be more opaque. This new variety does not show that characteristic. It’s translucent.”

Coming Soon

In 2009, LSU AgCenter diversified its rice breeding endeavors by establishing a hybrid program. To secure male sterile lines required for hybrid breeding, Linscombe traveled to China to set up a cooperative working relationship with a rice research academy.

“They allowed us to bring some of their male sterile lines back to the United States,” he says. “That’s what our hybrid program is based on today. At this point, we hope to begin talking about a commercial hybrid in two to three years. We are conducting yield tests and taking our time to make sure we have identified the right hybrid with good quality characteristics.

“Hybrid seed production is much different than pure line seed production,” Linscombe says. “We can’t produce enough hybrid seed on the research station, which requires us to have seed production done by producers.

“We also are putting a lot of effort into the Provisia variety and should have something that fits from an agronomical and quality standpoint that producers want to grow fairly soon,” he adds. “If everything works out, there could be limited commercial production of Provisia in 2017.”

Arkansas offerings

Dr. Karen Moldenhauer, Arkansas rice industry chair in variety development, is working on a new long grain experimental line, 13AR1084, which has been in the Arkansas Performance Trials for three years and will be available to seed growers in 2016.

“With 13AR1084, we are seeing the next yield bump,” Moldenhauer says. “In 2013, it yielded 203 bushels per acre. The next highest yielder as a pure line was Roy J with 189 bushels per acre and the RiceTec line that – XL753 – yielded 223 bushels per acre. This experimental line was right in the middle. In 2014, 13AR1084 yielded 206 bushels per acre; Roy J and LaKast came in at 193 bushels per acre; and XL753 yielded 246 bushels per acre. This year, 13AR1084 was 187; Roy J and LaKast were 168; and XL753 was 246. The three-year average was 199 bushels per acre for 13AR1084; Roy J was 183; LaKast was 180; and XL753 was 227.”

Moldenhauer describes 13AR1084 as a little earlier than Roy J at 84 days to heading. It’s one of the taller varieties, but the straw on 13AR1084 is not quite as stiff as that of Roy J. She says it will mill similarly to what LaKast has milled in the past and has typical U.S. long grain cooking qualities.

“This variety is fairly low in chalk,” Moldenhauer says. “It has the same chalk rating in 2014 as we had for Roy J, which is fine. We don’t have all of our quality data back yet for 2015. 13AR1084 is a little over 7 millimeters in length, which is fairly similar to Roy J as well.”

A new semi-dwarf Clearfield line coming out of the Arkansas breeding program is CL172. This variety is described as an excellent miller with very low chalk and excellent grain quality. It also has very stiff straw and blast resistance and kernel size is a little over 7 millimeters in length.

“We rated it a ‘1’ like Roy J for straw strength,” Moldenhauer says. “CL172 can handle a little extra fertilizer.”

In the medium grain arena, Arkansas rice breeder Dr. Xueyan Sha is working with 13AR1021, a semi-dwarf medium grain that has done well for the past three years in statewide trials. This variety has some blast resistance, high yield potential, typical U.S. medium grain quality and fairly low chalk. Sha is currently working with Kellogg Co. to determine if 13AR1021 will meet the food company’s product needs.