The smell of success

University of Arkansas breeding program releases new jasmine-type long grain.

By Ryan McGeeney

ARoma 17

Formerly known as 14AR1105, ARoma 17 offers exceptional rough rice yields with good milling quality in a jasmine-type long grain — photo by Vicky Boyd

The University of Arkansas recently released ARoma 17, a new aromatic long-grain rice that offers exceptional rough rice yields with good milling yields.

Aromatic rices are fragrant varieties that originated in southeast Asia. Jasmine-type rice is especially popular in Thailand as well as in a growing market of American consumers. They are prized for their light, fluffy texture, mellow nutty flavor and floral scent.

Research associate Debra Ahrent Wisdom says ARoma 17 fills a market niche for consumers who enjoy jasmine-type aromatic rices.

Arkansas’ climate doesn’t favor growing Thai jasmine rice. But she says ARoma 17 offers a jasmine-type long grain adapted to the state’s growing conditions.

“ARoma 17 is not intended for the mainstream rice market, and growers should make arrangements with aromatic rice markets before planting,” says Nathan McKinney, assistant director of the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station and interim director of the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart.

ARoma 17 was developed from a cross made at the Rice Research and Extension Center in 2009 between Jazzman — a Louisiana variety — and PI 597046, germplasm donated to the U.S. Department of Agriculture Plant Introduction and Research program by the International Rice Research Institute in 1994.

The resulting cross was selected for advancement toward commercial release in 2012.

It is the second aromatic rice from the Division of Agriculture rice breeding program, says Karen Moldenhauer, professor of rice breeding and holder of the Arkansas Rice Industry Chair in Variety Development. The first Arkansas aromatic rice was JES, released in 2009, she says.

Agronomic characteristics

ARoma 17 averaged 163 bushels per acre over four years in the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials, with 173 bushels per acre in the 2014 state trials. Its four-year average in the multi-state Uniform Regional Rice Nursery was 172 bushels per acre.

Wisdom says milling yields are a little better than Wells. In three years of Arkansas Rice Performance Trials, ARoma 17 averaged 67 percent whole kernel and 71 percent total milled rice.

The plant averages 39.8 inches in height, about an inch shorter than Wells, and matures in about 86 days, approximately the same as Wells. Its grain weight and size is similar to Wells.

ARoma 17 has high straw strength and has better lodging resistance than Wells, Wisdom says.

It also is moderately susceptible to blast and sheath blight, and moderately resistant to bacterial panicle blight. Under high rates of nitrogen fertilization, it is susceptible to false smut.

Breeder and foundation seed for ARoma 17 will be maintained by the Division of Agriculture’s Foundation Seed Program at the Rice Research and Extension Center near Stuttgart. The Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station will direct market the variety in late 2018 to rice producers, but foundation seed will not be available for seed producers.

Ryan McGeeney is a content specialist with the University of Arkansas in Little Rock. He may be reached at rmcgeeney@uaex.edu.