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Industry News: January 2023

New rice varieties shine in Arkansas research highlights

The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station, the Division of Agriculture’s research arm, released four new rice varieties in 2022.

CLL18 is a high-yielding Clearfield variety that will be available to growers in 2023 through Horizon Ag. It averaged 221 bushels per acre over two years in the 2020-21 Arkansas Rice Variety Advancement Trials conducted by the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture.

“This was the highest-yielding nonhybrid Clearfield rice in the ARVAT for those two years,” said Karen Moldenhauer, professor emeritus and rice breeder for the experiment station. “It has looked very good in all of the tests it has been in.

“CLL18 is an excellent long-grain Clearfield line derived from the cross of Roy J and CL142-AR, made at the Rice Research and Extension Center at Stuttgart in 2011,” Moldenhauer said.

Two new conventional rice varieties, Taurus and Ozark, also debuted in 2022.

Taurus, a new medium-grain rice, could even be a gamechanger in the coming years for medium-grain rice growers in the South, according to Arkansas rice specialist Jarrod Hardke.

Taurus is a new medium-grain with improved yield potential over Jupiter. It is from the breeding program of Dr. Xueyan Sha.

Taurus offered an average yield potential of 232 bushels per acre in the 2021 Arkansas Rice Variety Advancement Trials.

“Based on ARVAT data, Taurus has a significant yield advantage over all current medium-grain varieties in all test locations,” said Xueyan Sha, senior rice breeder for the experiment station.

Sha said Taurus was bred for MidSouth conditions and would be adaptable to wherever Jupiter or Titan are grown. Taurus is a cross between four other conventional varieties and has a more plump kernel than Jupiter. It outshined even the latest medium-grain varieties, Lynx and Titan, in the 2021 trials at six locations. Taurus brought in the highest average yield in a Clay County field with 249 bushels per acre.

Ozark, a new conventional long-grain variety, is a cross of Diamond and LaKast.

“Diamond has shown some issues the last two years,” Sha said. “It seems it has not been as consistent on yield potential, so this one we hope can be used as a replacement for Diamond. It’s definitely shown a yield advantage in the ARVAT.”

Ozark offered an average of 218 bushels per acre in the 2021 ARVAT conducted at six locations in Arkansas. Sha said the overall yield advantage of Ozark over Diamond is about 5%.

Ozark is agronomically similar to Diamond, with a plant height of 43 inches. Maturity for Ozark is a day or two earlier than Diamond at 88 days to 50% heading, Sha said. Lodging tolerance is also similar to Diamond’s, with a slight improvement in milling, especially head rice yield.

ARoma 22, the jasmine-type rice known in performance trials as 19AR231, has been adapted to grow in Arkansas’ environment.

The station released a new jasmine-type aromatic rice called ARoma 22 amid rising U.S. demand for aromatic rice. Emeritus Professor Karen Moldenhauer and assistant breeder Debra Ahrent Wisdom developed it to fill that demand with an improved Arkansas-adapted variety.

ARoma 22 offers superior aromatics and color consistency over earlier releases, and equals several qualities looked for by consumers of imported Asian aromatic rice, sensory tests show.

ARoma 22 averaged 167 bushels per acre with high milling yields in five Arkansas Rice Variety Advancement Trials. ARoma 22 reaches 50% heading at 88 days with “excellent” straw strength, according to data collected from the Arkansas Uniform Rice Regional Nursery and reported in 2020 research trials.

California $75 million drought relief grant program in place

After including funding into his 2022 May budget proposal, Governor Newsom signed a groundbreaking bill that will provide much-needed relief for small agricultural businesses during this historic drought crisis.

“With drought threatening California’s agricultural economy, businesses and jobs within our rural ag communities, this landmark $75 million program will help provide necessary drought relief to small businesses, that are vital links in keeping the Sacramento Valley’s ag supply chain connected,” said California Rice Commission president and CEO Tim Johnson.

The program offers $60,000 to $100,000 grants to qualified small businesses, including those that support the California rice industry. The grants will be open to ag aircraft businesses, ag suppliers, ag service providers, ag trucking companies, rice dryers and mills as well as small or socially disadvantaged farmers.

“We especially want to show our appreciation to California Department of Food and Agriculture Secretary Karen Ross for her leadership in creating this new drought relief program and for her continued support for California’s agriculture and the farm economy throughout this crisis,” Johnson said.

The California Rice Commission and coalition, including the Northern California Water Association, California Warehouse Association, California Agricultural Aircraft Association, California Tomato Growers, Ag Council of California and Western Plant Health Association, applaud Gov. Newsom and the California Legislature for proactive, bi-partisan support in this groundbreaking drought relief program.

Arkansas touts several 2022 research developments

In addition to rice variety announcements, other Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station rice research developments this year included:

• Chris Henry, professor and water management engineer, found that tailwater recovery systems show significant savings in row rice. He developed a recirculated irrigation system that makes row rice competitive with zero-grade flooded fields in water conservation and yield potential.

• Related research by Kris Brye, university professor of applied soil physics and pedology, indicated that improved water management could help decrease greenhouse gas emissions in rice fields.

• Griffiths Atungulu, associate professor of grain processing and post-harvest system engineering and director of the Rice Processing Program, developed on-farm drying guidelines that maximize quality and reduce energy use. Program researchers based the guidelines on a decade of data compiled from the program’s research.

• Nilda Burgos, weed physiology and molecular biology professor, co-authored a research paper that describes two genetic pathways to herbicide resistance in weedy rice. They confirmed herbicide resistance transfers from crop rice to weedy rice.

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