Don’t fence me in
Seed selection decisions start earlier every year, with many farmers making decisions by December. Even with some decisions made, there’s still a lot of time before the start of the season to fine-tune those selections and where to plant them.
An increasing problem in recent years, with additional herbicide technologies available, is what we’re planting in which fields. It’s getting a little too common to “fence ourselves in” by planting one herbicide technology surrounded by fields of another. This often prevents us from getting the full benefit out of a weed control technology we need and may also lead to future problems due to inefficient herbicide use.
With that aside, here are some thoughts on cultivar selection for 2023. For conventional cultivars, RiceTec (RT) XP753 continues to lead as it has for years. RT7401 and the new RT7302 appear to be competitive and may be worth a look, but XP753 hasn’t been dethroned just yet. The Nutrien variety DG263L continues to look good and should be the most widely planted long-grain variety in 2023. Ozark (limited seed) is a new public variety that appears to compete with DG263L and shows a clear advantage over Diamond and ProGold1.
Clearfield (CL) varieties and FullPage (FP) hybrids offer tolerance to imazethapyr and imazomox herbicides. RT7521 FP and RT7321 FP will continue to be the most widely planted cultivars in 2023. These two hybrids are competitive with one another, but each year, one performs a little better than the other — unfortunately, it’s been impossible to predict which one will lead each year, so planting a mix is a good idea. RT7421 FP is a new offering that performed similar to the other FP hybrids last year. CLL16 has performed well the past few seasons and appears very durable. CLL18 (limited seed) offers higher-end yield potential compared to CLL16 but is less durable. Another variety, CLL17, can be an option but has disease concerns.
Provisia (PV) varieties and MaxAce (MA) varieties and hybrids offer tolerance to quizalofop herbicides. RTv7231 MA (variety) has good yield potential but only fair milling yields, while PVL03 can have similar yields with better milling yield. RT 7331 MA (hybrid) offers similar yields to other hybrids, making it an excellent option; but seed will be limited.
Medium grains did not perform very well overall in 2022 — blame the heat combined with some disease susceptibility. The medium grain market should have increased demand moving forward. Jupiter’s share of medium-grain acres will continue to fall, while acres for Titan, CLM04 and Lynx should increase. These increases may be short-lived as the new variety Taurus should debut in 2024.
ARoma 22 is a new aromatic long-grain variety that has performed similar to ARoma 17, but with a more market-desirable flavor and aroma.
Spread your risk by planting multiple cultivars as appropriate for your acreage and situation. Rotate technologies and “don’t fence me in” with a technology planted where it can’t be fully utilized.
We get paid based on how many bushels we can produce (and milling yield), but the take-home money is the key. Choose the cultivars that provide you with the best net return. The bottom line is becoming increasingly important given production cost increases. Choose what makes the most sense for your specific situation and spread your risk.
Review the results of the Arkansas Rice Performance Trials at https://uaex.uada.edu/rice. The table below provides multi-year data, but the devil is in the details of site-by-site performance that can be found in the complete published data. Let us know if we can help.
Choosing a medium grain variety
Varietal selection is an early and important decision a rice grower needs 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).
Consider how planting varieties of different duration at different times affects harvest operations. Second, think about your climate: M-105, M-206 and M-210 are considered broadly adapted varieties that will do well in most California rice-growing areas. However, in the coolest areas of the region (southern Sacramento Valley and Delta), M-105 out yields M-206. If you are in a blast-prone area, consider M-210, which has broad resistance to blast. Both M-209 and M-211 are longer in duration than M-206. Both are also less suited to cooler areas (M-209 being the least suited). Duration is also important when thinking about drought and water limitations. Shorter duration varieties require less water.
The newest commercially available medium grain variety is M-211, which has 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 two to three cwt/ac and has produced the highest yields we have reported in our yield contest. Given its high yield potential, there’s a lot of interest in M-211. However, there are concerns with the milling quality of M-211. 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. This past year made a number of growers think twice about M-211. It was a longer duration variety, so fields had to be irrigated for a longer period. Also, many growers had trouble uniformly drying out their fields at the end of the season, and this caused milling quality problems. That said, I think M-211 has promise, but growers need to learn how best to manage it on their fields and under their conditions.
Rice variety selection
Variety selection isn’t a decision to be made lightly as it is the most important decision 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 do 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. For best use of 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 local farm. Stability refers to the performance of a variety across multiple environments across Louisiana and other states. It’s important for growers to consider both factors when making variety decisions.
Variety yield potential is an important trait in selecting a variety, but other varietal characteristics should also be considered. How these criteria rank in importance to the grower 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: Weed control continues to drive most producers’ management practices in rice. From seeding method to water management, weed control efforts are continuing to change. Regardless of the herbicide-tolerant technology utilized, 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: Varieties of rice differ in susceptibility to diseases. Sheath blight is an important foliar disease of rice. 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: Some varieties are sensitive to planting date. Yields of some varieties tend to drop quickly if planted later in the season. Rice yields may be reduced by planting too early or too late outside of the recommended range. Seedling survival is not satisfactory until the average daily temperature is above 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Wet conditions result in cooler soil temperature. Dry soils warm earlier. Vegetation on the soil surface results in soils staying cooler longer.
Mulch increases the amount of incoming energy (radiation) reflected, and it increases the amount of air space, insulating the soil surface. In the spring, a mulched soil will warm more slowly, but will have less day-night temperature variation. Mulched soils also tend to have a higher water content, contributing to slower warming. Environmental conditions may also vary by location and by year; therefore, the optimal seeding time is presented as a range of dates. If planting a variety at 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 longer after heading to reach harvest maturity than do long grains under similar environmental conditions. Different maturity varieties can spread harvest that better utilizes harvesting and drying equipment.
These are only a few considerations when selecting varieties. Consult as many different sources as possible for information. Variety selection is the most important part of rice production. The 2023 “Rice Varieties and Management Tips” publication is available at https://www.lsuagcenter.com/articles/page1669217585621.
Set your yield potential now
It doesn’t seem like we should already be thinking about a new rice crop, but here we are in 2023. While last year presented many challenges to producers compared to the past few years, most who chose to grow rice in 2022 were ultimately rewarded with a good price combined with slightly above-average yields. Many have already booked seed for the 2023 season, but for the remaining acres, we’d like to provide some general recommendations based upon trial data and availability.
Hybrid selection: Once again, hybrid acreage in Missouri has remained substantial at 65% to 70%. While a lot of hybrid seed is already booked, our trials showed that all hybrids did well when planted early. For conventional hybrids, XP753 remains a standout, along with RT730. The newcomer, RT7302, performed very well in its first year of our testing. For those looking at herbicide technologies, RT7321 FP and RT7521 FP are both solid choices, and for its first year in our testing, the new RT7331 MA performed much better than its predecessor, RTv7231 MA.
Variety selection: DG263L continues to be a star in the inbred market and was the most popular inbred variety grown in Missouri in 2022. That trend will likely carry on in 2023 as it’s still yielding well. Ozark is a new University of Arkansas long grain option that was impressive in our trials, but be advised of limited quantity with the only seed supplier this year being the U of A. ProGold1 is another solid conventional option, and it’s consistently outyielded ProGold2 in our trials.
If you’re in the market for herbicide technology options, CLL16 continues to be one of the best options for Clearfield rice. CLL18 is a new release that outperformed CLL16 in some of our trials, but the very-limited seed availability will make getting your hands on it nearly impossible for 2023. Provisia varieties are another option, with PVL03 and RTv7231 MA performing similarly at our Missouri research sites.
In cultivar selection, your production system (flood vs. furrow-irrigated) absolutely matters. The table below summarizes our 2022 cultivar trials in both systems. You can find more information on cultivar trials and other studies at https://extension.missouri.edu/programs/rice-extension. Our crew wishes you all a merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year. As always, eat Missouri rice!