Mississippi State University’s Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station recently released a new long-grain conventional variety adapted to the state’s soils and climates. Dubbed “Thad,” the variety is named after U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran.
Thad has yields similar to Rex, released by the Experiment Station in 2010.
“Rex, a conventional, medium-amylose, high-yield rice variety, has been readily adopted by our producers, Ed Redoña, MAFES professor at the Delta Research and Extension Center in Stoneville, said in a news release. “Within three years after its release, it captured approximately 20 percent of total rice acreage in the state.”
Amylose, a primary component of starch, influences eating quality.
Thad, on the other hand, is high in amylose and cooks up loose and fluffy, according to the release. High-amylose varieties also are popular in Latin American markets and are used for U.S. parboiled products.
Sticky rice, popular in Asian markets, has low amylose levels.
In MAFES official variety trials, the current most popular high-amylose conventional variety yielded 190 to 200 bushels per acre. Thad yielded between 235 and 240 bushels per acre.
Thad’s Clearfield counterpart, CL 163, was commercialized by HorizonAg on a limited scale in 2016. MAFES also developed CL 163.
During the 2015 growing season, MAFES began producing foundation seed at the R.R. Foil Plant Science Research Center in Starkville.
Limited quantities of Thad foundation seed were available to certified seed growers during spring 2016. The 2017 growing season will be the first year that Thad will be commercially available for purchase as certified seed.
The MAFES rice breeding program is supported by long-term funding from the Mississippi Rice Promotion Board.