LSU releases an early, high-yielding long grain and a high-amylose long grain for parboiling and export markets.
• By Vicky Boyd,
The Louisiana State University AgCenter has released two conventional rice varieties — a high-yielding, early long grain and a high-amylose long grain for export, processing and parboiling markets.
They will be in seed production this year and are expected to be commercially available for the 2023 season. Varietal names are pending, and both are from the breeding program of Dr. Adam Famoso.
LA19-2212 is a cross between two experimental lines, with parentage that includes the LSU AgCenter variety Cocodrie and the University of Arkansas variety LaGrue.
The new AgCenter variety does not contain the Pi-ta blast-resistance gene, but it does have the Cercospora-resistance gene, CRSP2.1, Famoso said.
In four years of trials, he said researchers never saw narrow brown leaf spot — symptoms caused by Cercospora — on the new variety. But they did observe Cercospora on the stems this year.
“We don’t know what the Cercospora on the stem means in terms of yield impact, but it is resistant to it on the leaf and it does have that resistance gene,” he said.
LA19-2212 doesn’t appear very susceptible to many of the other rice diseases, including blast, based on their trials.
“It’s not considered resistant to blast, but it doesn’t seem to crash,” Famoso said. “We don’t spray fungicides on our trials. Whether it’s planted early or late, it never really has crashed.”
In multiple locations over four years, LA19-2212 has shown significantly better yields than Cheniere and has been competitive with the Clearfield varieties.
“It’s one we think is very well positioned to take over a lot of those acres that people are growing conventional long grain on,” Famoso said. “It’s shown very good performance over the four years in comparison to Cheniere. We’ve had this line in multi-location tests since 2018, and every year it has consistently outperformed Cheniere.”
In fact, LA19-2212 averaged about 5% better yields over four years than Cheniere, the most widely grown conventional long grain in Louisiana.
Milling yields are comparable to many other long-grain varieties from the LSU AgCenter breeding program. But they are slightly lower than Cheniere, which is a top miller, Famoso said.
LA19-2212’s kernel length is about 7 millimeters — the sweet spot for most millers and buyers.
One of the most exciting characteristics of the new variety is its earliness, Famoso said. It heads out a solid week or more earlier than Cheniere and about three days earlier than CL111, the earliest variety on the market.
“So that’s major, especially with all of the interest with ratoon,” he said. “We often get feedback from growers that they want something early so there’s less time in the field and less time for something to go wrong. Being that much earlier — five to seven days earlier — allows them to plant it first, and it’s something they can get out of the field and into the bins first.”
In the small-plot trials, the new variety appears to have good ratoon potential. But Famoso said he should have a better idea of its second-crop potential once it is planted on larger acreages.
LA20-2126 is a high-amylose conventional long-grain variety bred for parboiling, processing and the export market. Amylose, a type of rice starch, affects the stickiness of cooked rice – the higher the amylose, the drier the rice cooks. Kernels from high-amylose varieties also separate after cooking.
Compare that to medium-grain rice, including Calrose-types, and short-grain varieties that have significantly lower amylose levels — the kernels stick together when cooked.
Conventional Southern long-grain varieties average between 20% to 24% amylose. LA20-2126 has amylose levels of about 26%, Famoso said.
“It’s higher than CL153, CLL17 or Cypress,” he said.
Samples sent to Mars and Ben’s Select, which produce parboiled rice, have been well received. When he first started breeding the line, Famoso said the goal was to develop a high-amylose variety with blast resistance for parboiling. At the time, he didn’t have the Latin American export market in mind.
Since then, many Latin American buyers have become disenchanted with U.S. rice quality and have begun to source crop from other countries.
Through a rice quality program supported by USA Rice and the Rice Foundation, the industry has begun taking a closer look at quality criteria to try to understand buyers’ needs and breed U.S. varieties for them.
The Rice Quality Symposium II, held during the recent USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans, is part of that effort. Select buyers were invited to meet with U.S. rice breeders and sample their various releases.
Famoso participated in the symposium, showcasing LA20-2126 and a few other lines. And he received very positive comments about the high-amylose line.
LA20-2126 also has the desirable 7 mm kernel length and low chalk. “The feedback we’ve received from some of the Latin American customers has been very, very favorable on the appearance of the grain,” Famoso said.
In addition, the new variety has the Pi-ta gene for blast resistance and the Cercospora gene. Because the new high-amylose variety has a slightly lower yield potential than some of the other conventional long grains, Famoso said he envisions growers identity preserving it. That way they can command a premium from buyers seeking the grain and cooking quality traits.