Horizon Ag’s Louisiana field day highlights economic sustainability

Horizon Ag Reps

Horizon Ag reps point out different varietal traits during the recent Louisiana field day.

About 100 rice producers attending the Horizon Ag Louisiana field day learned about new Clearfield varieties with improved agronomics that should help reinforce their economic sustainability.

“We can produce record amounts of rice every season, but if farmers aren’t profitable and buyers do not accept our product we’re hurting our industry’s long-term viability,” said Dr. Tim Walker, Horizon Ag general manager. “The new Clearfield varieties and technology we’re presenting today will improve upon the economic sustainability of the U.S. rice industry by offering outstanding yield potential, high quality grain, consistent, cost-effective weed control and other benefits important to the success of rice farmers.”

At Christian Richard’s farm near Kaplan, attendees were able to see firsthand two new Clearfield lines, CL153 and CL172, that have improved blast resistance over earlier Clearfield releases.

They also heard an update about Provisia, a new line of rices resistant to Provisia herbicide from BASF Co.

CL 153 and CL 172 show no yield reductions even with the improved blast resistance. They also offer grain quality and cooking properties coveted by domestic and foreign buyers.

“CL153 is a long-grain variety that looks very good this season in our plots,” said Michael Fruge, Horizon Ag district sales manager. “This variety offers yield potential comparable to that of CL151. Maturity will be very similar to CL151 with better stalk strength and blast resistance. It also has very good grain quality, which will be good for domestic and exporting uses. This variety will hopefully help bring back some of our export business that we have lost over the past couple of years due to lower-quality rice varieties or hybrids.”

CL172 is a semi-dwarf variety that produces a bold, translucent grain and demonstrates excellent milling quality. It contains multiple genes that confer broad-spectrum blast resistance without a drop in yield potential, said Dr. Sunny Bottoms, Horizon Ag senior technical service representative.

“This is one of the first varieties developed in Arkansas that seems to be working well in South Louisiana,” she said. “We are very excited about the potential of CL172 for the export market for Central and South America. Initial testing shows chalk to be less than 10 percent when graded by Nicaraguan chalk standards, which are among the strictest in the world.”

Horizon Ag field day

Growers were able to see some of Horizon Ag’s new Clearfield varieties firsthand.

Also featured was CL163, which is in limited commercial production this season and will be widely available in 2017.

This variety offers good, stable yield potential and quality grain. It has very high amylose content of about 26 percent and excellent cooking properties, making it very desirable for food companies. It has been approved for use by Mars Inc., Bottoms said.

The blast resistance offered by CL153 and CL172, and the overall stable, high yield potential of the three new Clearfield lines will help farmers not only sleep well at night, but hopefully realize profits from every acre they grow, Walker said.

Provisia rice system update

Dr. Steve Linscombe of the Louisiana State University AgCenter in Crowley updated attendees on his work with the Provisia rice system from BASF. After four years of work, he has identified two lines he believes have commercial viability.

“From an agronomics standpoint, these two lines look good,” he said. “They are very similar to CL151 and CL153 in maturity. Everything looks good on them. The disease package is there. The grain quality is there. Milling yield is there and we think the yield is going to be there. We will have much more data on them after this season.”

Provisia rice is a non-GMO (genetically modified organism) technology that will allow farmers to spray Provisia herbicide over the top of rice for grass control. The industry needs this new herbicide-resistant technology to deal with outcrosses, ALS herbicide resistance and weedy red rice, Linscombe said.

“We think this technology will handle that and we are confident that going forward 10 years from now, having two different technologies that we can rotate along with herbicide-resistant soybeans, we will extend the life and viability of Clearfield to help directly control red rice. We plan to have the seed available to turn over to Horizon Ag for seed production in 2017.”

Nick Fassler, product manager for BASF, told attendees that export approvals have been granted for Provisa rice, and the company is anticipating herbicide registration this fall.

Linscombe will be coordinating seed production in 2017, and the first Provisia rice lines are expected to be available commercially in 2018.

Horizon Ag provided material for this article.