And the winners are …

University of California Cooperative Extension names top three producers in its 2016 annual rice yield contest.

Josh Sheppard
Josh Sheppard was the overall winner with 122.5 cwt/acre.

By Bruce Linquist

In 2015 University of California Cooperative Extension (UCCE) initiated the UCCE Rice Yield Contest as a pilot study in Butte County. In 2016, the contest was expanded to include all of Sacramento Valley.

Due to possible yield potential differences, the valley was divided up into four regions (NE, NW, SE, and SW) using Highway 20 and the Sacramento River as dividing lines. Harvest and weighing are closely monitored by UCCE personnel. We measure yields from a minimum of 3 acres from a 10-acre test plot. All yields are reported at 14 percent moisture.

In 2016, there were roughly 20 entries for the yield contest from all regions; however, due to the early rains and a wet fall, which interrupted harvest activities, we were only able to monitor six yield contests (from three regions) as growers could not afford any delays.

Steve Willey
Steve Willey was second with 119.4 cwt/acre.

2016 winners were Josh Sheppard, Steve Willey and Joe Richter.

Sheppard, who farms near Biggs (NW region), had the overall highest yields at 122.5 hundredweight per acre (272 bushels) from the variety M-105.

Willey farms near Pleasant Grove (SW region) and harvested 119.4 cwt/ac (265 bushels) from an M-206 field.

Richter, growing M-205 near Maxwell (NE region), had a yield of 115 cwt/ac (256 bushels).

Contest winner head rice totals ranged from 63 to 68, and total milling yields varied from 69 to 72. Nitrogen rates for contest winners ranged from 160 to 165 pounds N per acre and seeding rates from 150 to 170 pounds per acre. During the two years of this contest, yields have ranged from 108.4 to 126.9 cwt/ac (241-282 bushels).

Joe Richter
Joe Richter of Richter AG, which won last year’s contest, placed third this year with 115 cwt/acre.

In addition, we have learned a number of things during the two years. First, high yields are possible from a number of commercial medium-grain varieties including those that are very early and early maturing.

Second, even at high yields, head rice and milling yields remain good. And finally, to achieve these high yields, fertilizer N rates were average for California.

Dr. Bruce Linquist is the statewide University of California Extension Specialist for rice systems. He may be reached at

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