It’s nice to see rice prices improved over this point last year. With that in mind, an increase in rice acres seems guaranteed— possibly a large increase. The success seen in 2017 points toward several viable planting options for 2018.
Hybrid seed should be more available this season than last. But with increased demand likely, it’s difficult to know how far the increase will go. RT XP753 continues to be the highest yielding cultivar in our testing programs. It will be in high demand and likely occupy a large number of acres.
RT CLXL745 has been planted on the largest amount of acreage for several years and likely will be again. RT Gemini 214 CL was planted on limited acreage in 2017 but was very successful and should be a good option for growers looking to secure Clearfield hybrid seed and possibly improve grain yield and milling yield above RT CLXL745.
For Clearfield varieties, 2017 was definitely a good year for CL151. Early planting combined with low disease pressure helped this variety to again do very well for growers. However, CL153 and CL172 are competitive and offer improved disease packages and resistance to lodging. These should help to provide some yield stability among Clearfield varieties.
Conventional varieties should trend heavily toward Diamond. This variety saw a surge in acres in 2017, its first year of commercial availability. With its high yield potential and continued performance beyond that of Roy J, LaKast and older varieties, acres should further increase this year. Plenty of seed should be available, but again acreage increases may make seed supplies tighter.
Medium-grain acreage will likely increase along with total acres in 2018. Titan performed extremely well and has shown to be a strong competitor with Jupiter. Titan is five to 10 days earlier in maturity and on average outyields Jupiter.
Growers shifting to Titan should keep in mind that medium grains are more sensitive to head rice yield reductions when harvested at low moistures. Titan’s faster maturity means harvest cannot be delayed or milling may be impacted. Market opportunities exist, but Titan has yet to receive full approval by all markets.
Continue to spread risk among various cultivars, and be aware of their advantages and disadvantages in specific situations. Place cultivars in fields where they have the greatest opportunity to succeed — don’t try to adapt the field to the cultivar.
The included table presents the results for selected cultivars in the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials and on-farm testing from 2015-2017. Note that some cultivars have only been tested for two years and this affects their three-year average. Additional information can be found at http://www.uaex.edu/rice.