What to plant is always one of the most important decisions of the rice season. For 2022, every decision will be met with increased scrutiny given the overall rise in production costs.
The first question is do you need a conventional cultivar or do you need herbicide tolerance? If you need herbicide tolerance, do you need a Clearfield or FullPage offering or do you need a Provisia or MaxAce offering? Herbicide tolerance has its benefits for production and weed control, but it also carries increased seed cost.
For conventional options, RiceTec’s XP753 hybrid has been the most consistent performer and should be an option for most situations. RT7401 is a similar hybrid that appears competitive. New to the market last year, DG263L is a variety that has shown performance closer to hybrids than other varieties released to date. It will expand in acres in 2022 and will provide a broader look at where it fits best.
For public varieties, Diamond continues to be the highest yielding, with ProGold1 performing similarly. Of note, Jewel has performed better than Diamond in limited large-block testing.
Clearfield options include CLL16, CLL15 and CLL17. CLL16 appears to be the most consistent and high-yielding Clearfield variety. CLL15 and CLL17 each did well in 2021 but have shown disease or lodging concerns in recent years.
When managed properly, they’re competitive with CLL16. FullPage hybrid options include RT7321 FP and RT7521 FP, which were on a large portion of acres in 2021 and performed extremely well. Their yields have often been similar, but RT7321 FP had higher yields in 2021 while RT7521 FP had better milling.
Provisia (PV) and MaxAce (MA) offerings are limited primarily to PVL03 and RTv7231 MA. PVL03 is a variety that has improved standability and disease package over its predecessor PVL02, along with higher, more consistent yields.
The MaxAce technology only recently received approval, so testing has been limited. RTv7231 MA (a variety) has shown very good yield potential in limited testing, sometimes performing similarly to hybrids.
Medium-grain growers have a number of competitive options. Lynx is a newer medium-grain with improved yield potential over Jupiter and Titan, but lower recommended nitrogen rates are needed to minimize lodging. Titan has been consistently at or near yields observed with Lynx and offers early maturity.
Jupiter still performs well in trials but has become more erratic in its performance, particularly in field-level observations. CLM04, a Clearfield medium-grain, has been competitive though it doesn’t outyield conventional medium grains. But it is an option where Clearfield is needed for a medium-grain grower.
Always worth saying — plant multiple cultivars to spread your risk. Maturity differences are relatively small with current cultivars, so mainly focus on having different options planted, but plant in order of maturity (earliest first).
Review additional Arkansas Rice Performance Trial data and planting date studies at https://uaex.uada.edu/rice. The table included here provides some multi-year data, but the full results for 2021 have additional cultivars and site-specific results from across the Arkansas rice-growing region.
Varietal choices, M-211 and certified seed
Varietal selection is one of the first and most important decisions rice growers need to make each year. In planning, first consider the maturity class that fits into your farming operations and climatic zone.
There are three maturity classes for California medium grains: very early (M-105), early (M-206, M-209, M-210 and M-211), and late-maturing (M-401, M-402 — both premium medium grains).
Second, think about your climate: M-105, M-206 and M-210 are considered broadly adapted varieties that do well in most California rice-growing areas. In the coolest areas of the region, M-105 outyields M-206.
If you are in a blast-prone area, consider M-210, which has broad resistance to blast. It is essentially M-206 with additional blast resistance. In our statewide variety trials, M-206 and M-210 have similar heading dates and yield.
The newest medium-grain variety is M-211, which has exceptionally high eating quality (comparable to M-401). In our statewide variety tests in the warmer areas where it is best suited, it outyields all other varieties by 3 to 4 cwt/ac. Furthermore, in our yield contest, M-211 has produced the highest yields we have seen.
It appears to have a broader adaptability range than M-209 and can be grown in slightly cooler areas of the valley than M-209; however, it does not do well in the coolest portions of the valley.
In terms of harvest timing, it is a few days longer than M-209, depending where you are in the valley. Also, preliminary research suggests it is less susceptible to stem rot than other medium grains.
The primary concern with M-211 is milling quality. This variety needs to be harvested close to 20% as quality drops fast when harvested drier. From a management standpoint to optimize yield and quality, be sure not to drain your field too early at the end of the season. Given its high yield potential, there is a lot of interest in planting M-211.
This variety is a bit different in a number of aspects, including less uniform heading, time to maturity, quality and tillering. If you are new to this variety, my advice (along with any breeder I know) would be to start slow and plant a couple fields of M-211 before committing large portions of your acreage to it.
Due to weedy rice concerns, the California Rice Certification Act in 2019 begain requiring that all rice produced in the state come from seed enrolled in an approved certified seed program or a quality assurance program. These steps were taken to ensure that fields are planted with seed that has been screened for the presence of weedy rice types. Handlers will be requiring proof that rice delivered to the mills has been grown with seed that met these requirements.
Variety selection is the most important decision each year
Variety selection is not a decision to be made lightly as it is the most important one facing a producer going into the season. No other input can radically change the yield potential to the extent that variety selection can.
This decision can be challenging, but through the LSU AgCenter, producers have information at their disposal to improve this decision-making process. Fortunately, growers in Louisiana have multi-environment data to use when selecting varieties.
In addition to variety testing on research stations, the LSU AgCenter collaborates with rice producers to evaluate varieties directly on their farms. These trials provide valuable yield data from local growing conditions and agronomic practices.
To get the most from the “Rice Varieties and Management Tips” publication, we recommend judging variety yield results by looking at performance and stability. Performance refers to identifying the varieties that are high yielding in environments that best represent your farm. Stability refers to a variety’s performance across multiple environments in Louisiana and other states. It is important for growers to consider both factors when making variety decisions.
Variety yield potential is an important trait, but other varietal characteristics should also be considered. How these criteria rank in importance may vary from one grower to the next and may vary from one field to the next. A few of these criteria for variety selection are discussed below.
• Herbicide tolerance and weed management programs: Regardless of the herbicide-tolerant technology, application of residual herbicides and post-emergence herbicides are the best strategy to manage herbicide-resistant weeds. Furthermore, research has shown that early weed control can maximize yield. Choosing the right variety for weeds or resistant weeds should be tailored to each field.
• Disease resistance: Rice varieties in disease susceptibility. Sheath blight is an important foliar rice disease. This, and other foliar diseases, may cause significant yield losses. Blast may also be a major yield-reducing disease in any given year. These and other diseases are rated to identify potential sources of resistance. Resistant-variety selection is the most economical way for producers to manage diseases.
• Planting date: Environmental conditions vary by location and by year. Therefore, the optimal seeding time is presented as a range of dates. Rice yields may be reduced by planting outside of the recommended planting window. Seedling survival is not satisfactory until the average daily temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. If planting at a very low seeding rate, waiting for optimal weather reduces the risk of a failed stand.
• Maturity: Most varieties will reach harvest maturity (20% grain moisture) within 30 to 40 days after heading under normal conditions. Medium grains normally require five to seven days more after heading to reach harvest maturity than do long grains under similar environmental conditions. Different maturity varieties can spread harvest that better use of equipment.
These are only a few considerations when selecting varieties. Consult as many different sources as possible for information. The 2022 “Rice Varieties and Management Tips” publication is available at www.LSUAgCenter.com or https://bit.ly/3slQXOV.
Cultivar selection is on the minds of many
While it seems like winter just arrived, it won’t be long before drills are in the field. It’s pretty safe to say that once we get a few days into April, any dry window is fair game for getting rice in the ground in the Boot-heel.
Cultivar selection is on the minds of many, and analyzing yields across the last few years allows us to make some basic recommendations.
• Hybrid selection: Having just returned from the USA Rice Outlook Conference in New Orleans, presentations from across the Mid-South indicate a continued shift toward hybrids. Likely two-thirds or greater of Missouri rice acres are now planted in hybrids.
For conventional hybrids, RiceTec’s XP753 has looked good for years and continued to look good in 2021.
RT7301 looked good last season but, for whatever reason, was off about 20 bu/ac in Missouri rice trials. 2021 data on RT7401 out of Arkansas also looks like that could be a solid choice in the future.
Looking at FullPage hybrids, RT7321 FP and RT7521 FP both continue to look like solid options as well, although 7321 has held a slight advantage in several trials.
• Variety selection: News to probably no one, DG263L provided a huge spark for the inbred variety market. The variety consistently performed 10 bu/ac greater than all other inbreds in the 2021 Missouri rice trials. There should be about 400,000 acres of seed available across the Mid-South, and I see no reason why any would be left in the bag. However, we never want to bet the whole farm on one variety.
LaKast and Diamond have also continued to look very good for us in the Bootheel. Looking at Clearfield technology, CLL16 was the clear winner this year and likely will be for the next few years.
If you must grow a quizalofop-tolerant variety, PVL03 and RTv7231 MA both appear acceptable. I feel that PVL02’s standability was really exposed this past season and went down in most field trials.
As I’m writing this column, my prayers go out to all of those who were affected and are still being affected by the tornadoes that ravaged our area the night of Dec. 10. The lives of some close to me and across the quad-state area will never be the same.
Aside from this, I hope that everyone has a great Christmas holiday and a prosperous new year. As always, eat MO rice!