Research to create new heat-tolerant and herbicide-resistant rice strains is being conducted this summer at Southeast Missouri State University’s Rice Research Greenhouse in Malden, Missouri, and at the Missouri Rice Research Farm in Glennonville, Missouri.
Southeast Department of Agriculture faculty will highlight their work at the Missouri Rice Council’s annual Rice Field Day, Aug. 22, at the Missouri Rice Research Farm. Other topics to be addressed will include emerging technologies, row rice, markets and remote sensing.
Dr. Christian De Guzman, agriculture research fellow and rice breeder at Southeast Missouri State University, said Missouri rice yields declined several years ago due to extreme heat.
That growing season, along with climate change discussions, prompted De Guzman to begin developing a heat-tolerant variety to be available in the near future and capable of producing significant yield.
Breeding for heat tolerance
Preliminary screening of U.S. varieties and a heat-tolerant line from Asia, N22, indicates high fertility rates in the heat-tolerant line compared to southern U.S. varieties when tested at higher temperatures.
Testing was done in a heat chamber and showed the Asian heat-tolerant variety capable of producing grains and higher spikelet fertility rates at temperatures up to 40 degrees Celsius (about 104 degrees Fahrenheit), De Guzman said.
Testing began last year and is continuing as crossbreeding is done with more rice varieties and with some of the rice breeder’s elite lines, he said.
While preliminary screening occurred in the greenhouse setting, rice is now being tested in the field at the Missouri Rice Research Farm. It is serving as the test group under natural growing conditions and will then be compared against that grown in a controlled setting in the greenhouse. De Guzman said he hopes to know the results later this fall.
The goal is to release a heat-tolerant variety in Missouri that also can be sold in other states. About 50% of the grain produced will be exported outside the United States, he said.
Meanwhile, De Guzman also is focusing his research efforts on breeding rice with Clearfield herbicide resistance and is finalizing an agreement with BASF to breed rice with Provisia herbicide resistance. Both herbicides control weedy rice, he said. Clearfield is an acetolactate synthase (ALS) inhibitor, whereas Provisia is an acetyl coenzyme A carboxylase (ACCase) inhibitor with a different mode of action.
Developing a rice with Provisia herbicide resistance will provide farmers with an alternative where Clearfield is not effective, he said. These herbicide-resistant varieties have not yet been tested.
Field Day specifics
Those attending Rice Field Day can learn more about De Guzman’s research, and anyone with an interest in rice production is invited to this free event. The Missouri Rice Research Farm is located about 8 miles west of Malden, Missouri, on Highway J in northern Dunklin County.
The day begins at 8 a.m. with presentations and tours. Lunch will be served at noon.
Various field presentations will be discussed during the tours, including furrow irrigation, rice breeding and variety development, enhanced efficiency fertilizers, how aerial imagery data can help real-time crop management, rice marketing, remote sensing in rice, rice entomology and plant pathology.
Presentations will also cover SEMU’s Department of Agriculture and Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council’s new rice variety MM17, a semi-dwarf, mid-season, medium grain with excellent yield potential that is bred in southeast Missouri.
Southeast Missouri State University contributed this article.