Industry News: March 2022

LSU AgCenter names two new conventional rice varieties

Dr. Adam Famoso

In January, Rice Farming reported that Louisiana State University had released an early, high-yielding long grain and a high-amylose long grain for parboiling and export markets — LA19-2212 and LA20-2126. Both varieties are from Dr. Adam Famoso’s breeding program out of the LSU AgCenter.

LA19-2212 has now been named Avant, and LA20-2126 has been named Addi Jo.

Avant is a cross between LSU AgCenter variety, Cocodrie, and the University of Arkansas variety, LaGrue. 

It is an early variety with milling yields comparable to other long-grain varieties that have come out of the LSU AgCenter breeding program and has a kernel length around 7 millimeters.

Yields from Avant have shown over a period of years to be higher than Cheniere and competitive with Clearfield varieties.

Addi Jo is a high-amylose, conventional long-grain variety with amylose levels around 26%.

This variety has low chalk and a 7-millimeter kernel length, along with sought-after grain and cooking quality traits.

Addi Jo has the Pi-ta gene for blast resistance, along with the Cercospora-resistance gene, which helps in adding qualities good for parboiling, processing and the export market.

Plant pathologist hired to focus on rice diseases

The LSU AgCenter has added plant pathologist Felipe Dalla Lana to its roster of researchers at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.

With nearly a decade of experience studying plant disease in both Brazil and the United States, Dalla Lana brings a wealth of experience from his work in the Midwest applying statistical analysis and modeling to the realm of plant pathology. He said his work as a plant pathologist offers him the freedom to study a variety of crops with ever-evolving challenges.    

Plant pathologist Felipe Dalla Lana joins the staff of researchers at the LSU AgCenter’s H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station.

“You have new diseases. You have diseases that become resistant to fungicides. You have new technologies, new cultivars,” Dalla Lana said. “Everything is always changing. It is very dynamic.”

Dalla Lana received his doctorate in plant pathology from Ohio State University and was most recently a postdoctoral researcher at Penn State University. The bulk of his research at those universities included research in fungicide efficacy for crops such as corn, wheat and soybeans. His academic work focused on several systems of increasing complexity that helped to answer crop pathology questions.

“The diseases are always there,” Dalla Lana said. “I was really into understanding how there are some years when diseases are a problem and some years there is not a problem with disease.”

To begin his work in south Louisiana, Dalla Lana said he wants to meet with local rice growers to find out what they need from an AgCenter pathologist. He has learned fungicidal resistance to sheath blight is a major concern.

Dalla Lana said he takes a three-pronged approach to reaching his research goals. He said farmers want the highest return of investment while consumers want the highest quality product for the lowest price. As a society, he said, people want all those things with the least impact to the environment.

“These goals are not always met,” he reflected. “One way to do this is to make our decisions using our knowledge of disease development. My problem here is to identify the key components that can maximize those three things.”

Dalla Lana is succeeding Donald Groth, who served many roles, including research director, in his 38-year career at the Rice Research Station. Groth, who retired earlier this month, will now serve as professor emeritus.

Reviton, Rogue receive EPA labels for Arkansas

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has issued new labels for two herbicides, offering growers new tools for the 2022 growing season.

Reviton, a marketed tiafenacil formulation, is a broadleaf herbicide newly labeled for aerial applications in Arkansas.

Tommy Butts, extension weed scientist for the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture, said the addition of the 24C classification will likely prove to be a key benefit for growers as spring burndown applications continue.

“It’s another tool in the toolbox,” Butts said. “In a year of limited supply and high prices, that’s especially important.”

Reviton is part of a chemical family known as PPO inhibitors, which, among other things, prevent production of chlorophyll and destroy cell membranes. Under the Section 24C special local needs label, Arkansas farmers will be able to use Reviton for pre-plant and pre-emergence burndown in corn, except sweet corn and popcorn. It can also be used pre-plant in soybeans and cotton.

One of the most important facets of Reviton is that it may be safely tank-mixed with clethodim, which controls ryegrass and other grassy weeds.

Rogue — the active ingredient of which is benzobicyclon — is a post-flood rice herbicide that provides a new method of control for weed species such as flatsedge and sprangletop, and helps suppress weedy rice.

Farmers have to be certified to use Rogue. Among other things, Rogue needs to be sprayed into flood water and should be used only in zero grade and straight levee fields where water can be held with little or no movement.

“The herbicide itself isn’t a new mode of action, but it’s a new mode of action in rice,” Butts said. “We’ve never had an HPPD inhibitor before that we could use in rice.” 

 HPPD inhibitors work by effectively bleaching weeds, shutting down photosynthesis and causing them to wilt and die.

Butts said Rogue is especially beneficial because of increasing resistance issues associated with other herbicides already in use throughout the mid-South.

“When you have herbicide resistance, normally it’s to a specific mode of action,” he said. “With this one being a completely different mode of action never used before in rice, it opens the door a little more.”

Use of product names in this story does not imply endorsement by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.  

Grant provides ATVs, equipment for 4-H

The Mississippi State University Extension Service 4-H ATV Safety Program recently received $10,000 from Polaris through the company’s T.R.A.I.L.S. grant program.

The funds purchased two youth sized Polaris ATVs and safety equipment. T.R.A.I.L.S. is an acronym for trail development, responsible riding, access, initiatives, lobbying and safety.

Brad Staton, an Extension associate with the 4-H ATV Safety Program, said he is thankful for the grant because it will allow his program to train more people at once.

Participants in the 4-H ATV Safety Program learn to operate ATVs safely and responsibly in a controlled environment. The half-day 4-H ATV RiderCourse is taught by licensed instructors and covers starting and stopping, quick turns, hill riding, emergency maneuvers and riding over obstacles.

Participants also receive training on protective gear, local regulations, places to ride and environmental concerns.

Offered through Extension offices statewide, these classes are tailored to the age and experience level of the participants. The course is open to adults and children aged 8 and up. Each participant receives a free helmet courtesy of the Brain Injury Association of Mississippi.

Texas, Louisiana rice farmers wait for perfect temperatures

Rice growers across Texas and Louisiana are preparing for a positive 2022 crop year and have already started some water and drill seeding, but most await more favorable soil temperatures.

“Weather so far this spring has been very favorable for land preparation, allowing producers to be “sitting on go” for planting,” said Jeff Mosley, RiceTec regional sales manager.

On acres that require a product with herbicide technology, FullPage hybrid RT7321 FP is a popular choice across the Gulf Coast rice areas along with its companion, RT7521 FP.

RiceTec anticipates that rice acres will be flat or slightly up for the 2022 crop year for Texas and Southern Louisiana. On acres that require a product with herbicide technology (HT), FullPage hybrid RT7321 FP is a popular choice across the Gulf Coast rice areas along with its companion, RT7521 FP.

The Max-Ace hybrid product, along with RiceTec’s first varietal release with HT traits, RTv7231 MA, have also been in high demand. Additionally, conventional hybrid XP753 continues to be the market leader in acres intended for non-HT plantings in both states.

Producers have expressed concerns about the current situation in Eastern Europe and its impact on the market and availability of nitrogen fertilizers; however, despite those concerns and high soybean prices, rice still proves to be a viable commodity. 

“In the last crop, the 2021 season was highlighted for a reduction in rice areas in the midsouth,” said Mosley. “However, rice demand continues to be strong, which is strengthening prices in the market. Hopefully the prices sustain throughout the 2022 season.” 

Although rice is a high input crop, it is also seen as a high return crop. “A savvy producer can maximize the return on his investment in a rice crop by using RiceTec products on his acres due to the hybrid’s performance stability across a wide range of environments, production practices and management levels,” added Mosley.

Hybrid rice products continue to perform well when subjected to stressful conditions like environmental factors, diseases and insect pressures. 

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