Wednesday, May 22, 2024

Specialists Speaking

Dustin Harrell


Dr. Dustin Harrell
Extension Rice Specialist

You could not ask for two consecutive rice production seasons better than we have seen in the past two years in Louisiana! Record yields were achieved in 2013, and 2014 yields were not far behind.

The good yields, in part, can be explained by the mild temperatures and generally low disease pressure that we saw these past two years. These factors also played a part in
the increased milling and overall grain quality that we saw this past year. Unfortunately, we have no idea what kind of weather or disease pressure we will see in 2015. However, we can select the rice varieties and hybrids that will give us the best chance to maximize both yield and grain quality if less than favorable conditions do occur.

The “2015 Rice Variety and Management Tips” publication contains all of the recommended varieties for 2015 and is now available at all rice-producing parishes and on the LSU AgCenter’s rice web page at

Look for medium grain acres to be in high demand in 2015. Jupiter made up approximately 14 percent of Louisiana’s acreage in 2014.

Market demand generally influences variety selection. For example, medium grain acres in Louisiana increased from about four percent in 2013 to about 14 percent in 2014. Most of this increase was due to declining acreage in California because of water issues. It is expected that medium grain rice acreage will probably maintain the acreage observed in 2014 and may actually increase slightly. So, I guess this would be the best place to start in our variety discussions.

Jupiter and Caffey are the two recommended pure line medium grain varieties available. Both are semi-dwarf varieties, with Caffey possibly having an advantage in straw strength over Jupiter, although both are rated as moderately susceptible to lodging. Both have a good yield potential with Jupiter having a slight yield advantage
there. Both are moderately susceptible to sheath blight and resistant to cercospora. Caffey is rated moderately resistant to blast while Jupiter is moderately susceptible. Typically, medium grain varieties are not the best ratooning varieties; however, I have heard of some excellent ratoon yields this past year from medium grain varieties,
especially Jupiter.

There are two Clearfield medium grains recommended for 2015 if you need the Clearfield technology to combat red rice issues. These include CL261 and CL271. These two medium grain varieties are similar to Jupiter and Caffey in stature and maturity. Both have good yield potential, grain quality and are susceptible to sheath blight. CL261 is very susceptible to blast and bacterial panicle blight while CL271 is moderately resistant and moderately susceptible to blast and bacterial panicle blight, respectively.

There are five long-grain pure line varieties recommended for production in Louisiana for 2015. They include Catahoula, Cheniere, Cocodrie, Mermentau and Roy J. All five have excellent yield potential and grain quality. Roy J is considered a conventional height cultivar measuring around three to five inches taller and approximately three to six days later in maturity as compared with the other four recommended long-grain varieties.

Catahoula, Cheniere, Cocodrie and Mermentau are all considered semi-dwarf varieties with similar plant height (35 – 37 inches) and similar days to 50 percent heading (84 – 87 days) when planted in mid-March. Blast ratings from Dr. Groth indicate that Catahoula is resistant to blast, Cheniere and Cocodrie are moderately susceptible to blast, while Mermentau and Roy J are susceptible to blast.

Roy J is moderately resistant to sheath blight while Cheniere, Cocodrie, Mermentau and Catahoula are susceptible to sheath blight. Cocodrie is very susceptible to bacterial panicle blight, while Cheniere, Mermentau, Catahoula and Roy J are considered moderately susceptible to bacterial panicle blight. Catahoula and Roy J are resistant
to cercospora, Mermentau moderately susceptible to cercospora and Cheniere and Cocodrie are susceptible to cercospora. All have shown good ratoon potential although the earlier maturing varieties are more desirable when planting slightly later.

Three long-grain Clearfield varieties are recommended for 2015. These include CL111, CL151 and CL152. CL111 was planted on more acres in Louisiana (33 percent) than any other variety or hybrid in 2014. CL111 is the earliest maturing of any of the recommended varieties with an average of three days earlier to 50 percent heading
in statewide variety trials in Louisiana as compared with CL151 and five days earlier than CL152.

CL111 and CL152 have excellent grain quality while CL151 has an overall yield advantage. CL152 is rated as resistant to lodging, CL111 is moderately susceptible to lodging, while CL151 is susceptible to lodging. Nitrogen (N) fertilizer applications for CL151 should not exceed 130 pounds of N per acre to reduce lodging potential. However, even with the lower N recommendation for CL151, it still has superior yield potential.

CL151 is very susceptible to blast while CL152 is susceptible and CL111 is moderately susceptible. CL111 is very susceptible to sheath blight while CL151 and CL152 are susceptible to sheath blight. CL152 is moderately resistant to cercospora while CL151 and CL111 are susceptible. CL152 is moderately resistant to bacterial panicle blight while CL151 and CL111 are very susceptible to bacterial panicle blight. CL152 is also moderately resistant to straighthead and should be considered if you are planting on a recently land-leveled field or a historically straighthead susceptible field.

When selecting your varieties for 2015, remember that it is important to plant more than one or two varieties and/or hybrids each year. This reduces the potential for large yield losses from a potentially unpredictable seasonal event that can affect one particular variety or hybrid more than another. The unexpected event could be a severe
outbreak in one of the major diseases (blast or sheath blight), one of the minor diseases (cercospora or bacterial panicle blight) or even severe lodging brought on by late season weather events. You can’t predict the weather, but you can diversify your varieties!




Bobby Golden

Extension Rice Specialist

Spread risk in 2015

The “Mississippi Rice Variety Trials” publication for 2014 is now available at the Mississippi Crop Situation blog ( and the new Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station variety trial website ( The document contains all small-plot variety testing data from 2014 as well as our disease reaction ratings and N fertilization suggestions for varieties represented in the trials.

Concerning varieties, it is often said that a bag of seed contains more potential than will ever be realized in the field. However, certain varieties perform better in differing production environments. Therefore, in my opinion, one of the most important
decisions a producer can make is selecting a variety that will perform well under his/her set of production constraints.

There are numerous considerations to make when choosing a variety, with the first being a choice between Clearfield or conventional varieties. This would be closely followed by the question: Do I plant a hybrid or inbred?

Over the last several years, the lion’s share of acreage in Mississippi has been seeded in Clearfield rice. Multiple Clearfield varieties performed well in on-farm trials in 2014. On the conventional Clearfield side averaged across locations, CL151, CL111, CL142-AR and CL152 all performed well and should be considered.

The hybrids, CLXL729 and CLXL745, also performed well across environments in the 2014 Mississippi Rice Variety Trials. Keep in mind that incidence of ALS-resistant barnyardgrass and rice flatsedge have increased in Mississippi, and stewardship
is of utmost importance to keep this technology viable in the future.

The blast disease issues encountered in 2014 should not be a deterrent to planting conventional varieties. Over the last several years, many conventional long-grain varieties have performed exceptionally well in Mississippi, with most being rated susceptible to blast.

In 2014, averaged across locations, LaKast produced the greatest yield of any conventional inbred long-grain variety. Cheniere, Mermentau, Rex and Roy J also performed well in 2014 and have a good yield history over the last several years. The lone conventional hybrid evaluated in 2014 “XL753” also produced well across the state and should be considered.

A wealth of data is generated each year on varietal performance across the Mid-South by universities and industry alike, but do not overlook perhaps the most important data in selection of a variety, which is past performance on your farm.

Remember that no single variety is the silver bullet, and spreading risk with multiple varieties and production systems is always a good practice.


Dr. Bruce Linquist

UCCE Rice Specialist

M-105 doing well in yield and quality

In California, most farmers grow medium grain varieties. Varietal selection is one of the first and most important decisions a rice grower will need to make each year. The commercially available medium rice varieties have been selected to meet the quality and yield standards for California medium grain rice. In making a decision, first consider the maturity class that fits into your farming operations and climatic zone.

There are three maturity classes: Very early (e.g. M-104, M-105), early (e.g. M-202, M-205, M-206, M-208) and late-maturing (e.g. M- 401, M-402 – both premium medium grains). Very early varieties are commonly grown in cooler areas and used for late plantings. Cool areas include the rice region south of Highway 20, east of Highway
99. Late-maturing varieties fit early planting schedules and are best for warmer areas. Early varieties are grown on the largest amount of acreage. With the use of M-202 diminishing, the principle varieties are M-205 and M-206 (M-208 in blast prone areas). They are Calrosetype medium grains and are generally higher yielding than other varieties and are suited to a wide range of planting dates. They reach 50 percent heading in 86 to 92 days after planting depending on planting date and temperature. Importantly, many of these newer varieties (M105, M205, M206) can be safely harvested at lower grain moisture content than the last generation of varieties (e.g. M-
202). This ensures higher grain quality but also increased flexibility in harvest operations.

The principle public varieties in the very early category are M-104 and M-105. M-105 is a new variety showing a lot of potential in terms of yield and quality. In 2014, where both varieties were grown side-by-side in variety trials, M-104 yields averaged 9,240 lb/A compared to 9,470 lb/A. Days to heading averaged 81 days for
M-104 and 82 days for M-105.

Some growers choose to grow specialty rice varieties for a particular market in which certain grain characteristics and quality are more important than yield. This year, the Rice Experiment Station is releasing A-202. This variety is an aromatic long-grain rice and is a good replacement for A-301. A-202 has improved seedling vigor and is earlier maturing (nine days earlier to heading) than A-301. Compared to A-301, it has also been shown to yield higher (on average by 18 percent) and have higher head rice yield.


Rice Extension Agronomist
University of Arkansas,
Cooperative Extension Service

Multiple cultivars

JarrodHardkeSuccessful rice production, like production of any crop, is more successful as risk is minimized. In order to minimize the risks associated with rice production, it’s important to keep everything in moderation and plant a diverse selection of cultivars. Each available cultivar brings a unique package of maturity, disease resistance, grain yield, and milling quality.

Selecting multiple cultivars allows for risk to be spread out, which ultimately increases the chances of a successful crop. Evaluating yield data across years can also help to select cultivars that perform more consistently and minimize risk.

As 2012 and 2013 gave us two environmental extremes for evaluating rice cultivars, 2013 and 2014 gave us two similar years that were still drastically different. The three-year dataset of 2012-2014 provides a good range of conditions across years and locations. One thing hidden by overall yield averages in any given year is that some
cultivars perform better in certain locations – more location-specific information for cultivar performance can be obtained at

ChartHardkeThe highest-yielding cultivars over the past few years are presented in the included table. Among conventional long-grain cultivars, the RiceTec hybrid XL753 has been the highest yielder each year. Roy J, LaKast, Taggart and Mermentau have also performed very well. XL753 has excellent yield potential and warrants consideration for growers who may be able to maximize the production potential of this cultivar. Roy J was once again the most widely planted conventional variety in Arkansas due to its yield potential and stalk strength, but its late maturity may prevent a further increase in acreage.

Mermentau saw a significant increase in acreage and many onfarm reports were positive, but yield consistency may be a concern. LaKast is a new release available for 2015 that has shown consistently high yield potential in testing. It is similar to Roy J in many ways including yield potential, but matures 5-7 days earlier. Taggart has good yield potential and continues to be planted on some acres but has largely been underutilized.

For Clearfield cultivars, RiceTec CL XL729, RiceTec CL XL745 and CL151 all performed similarly across years. CL XL729 and CL XL745 have been consistent performers for several years and will continue to occupy a large amount of acreage, especially CL XL745. CL151 continues to be a major player with excellent yield potential in the right situations. CL111 can perform better in some locations than average yields often indicate – due to the earliness of this cultivar, timely management is vital to producing optimum yields.

In the medium grain market, currently there are only two cultivars planted on many acres in Arkansas – Jupiter and Caffey. Jupiter has been an extremely successful medium grain, but Caffey has proven to be extremely competitive and can at times outperform Jupiter. Potential drawbacks of planting Caffey are that it is susceptible
to bacterial panicle blight while Jupiter is moderately resistant, and Caffey has not received widespread approval from the food industry, which currently limits its demand.

Ultimately, planting multiple cultivars on your farm will spread risk and increase chances for a successful season. There are a number of additional cultivars available that perform well that are not included in the provided table.

While maximizing grain yield is the bottom line, be sure to focus on disease packages, milling yields, maturity and lodging resistance while looking for top grain yield. Try to put the right cultivar in the right field to avoid major problems – such as planting a cultivar that is very susceptible to straighthead in a field with a history of straighthead issues.

It is recommended that producers use all available informational resources to make
the best decisions in selecting cultivars. Plenty of information is out there describing how cultivars perform in different locations and environments and should be used to the producer’s advantage.

Learning from the experience of your neighbors and consulting Extension specialists
can also be vital in making successful planting decisions.

Plan for the worst, hope for the best and be prepared for what you get in 2015.


Sam Atwell

Agronomy Specialist

Varying opinions

Have you heard that farmers are independent thinkers? Our rice variety data gathering
summary taken last week for 2014 certainly reflects the different thinking of Missouri farmers have about choosing rice varieties to plant on their farms. They have very good reasons for needing diverse varieties that fit their specific conditions and situations. Some want short and some tall, some early and some later. Some want hybrids for better disease resistance and some want the Clearfield weed trait, while some want less expensive seed so they can plant thicker. Some are seeking the best fit for row-rice and blast resistance.

We found that their selections were divided among 10 varieties and the top five were planted on about 65 percent of the 216,000 acres in Missouri. Since Southeast Missouri is the beginning of Mississippi Delta, our soils vary greatly from sand to Sharkey Clay.

About 50 percent of our soils are clay based with a thin layer of silt. Many Missouri farmers think hybrid rice is a good fit for these soils where they often see a yield increase over conventional varieties. They also like the disease package they get with the hybrids.

Others prefer varieties that tend to grade better, which may give them a premium price. Most Missouri farmers are concentrating on quality with five percent medium grain with the remaining 95 percent being long grain. The remaining 50 percent of our soils are heavy clay or loamy, and many growers see conventional varieties a better fit.
2015 offers new varieties for consideration. Missouri has not finished analyzing 2014 variety data and, as usual, Missouri growers look to the University of Arkansas for rice variety data. We are all looking forward to exciting new varieties from LSU and UAR along with a new herbicide series from Horizon Ag and BASF.

Southeast Missouri is blessed with a very ample supply of fresh, clean, easy to pump, cheap water that recharges very quickly. Ninety-seven percent of Missouri rice is flood irrigated, three percent pivot or furrow. Ninety-five percent of our water is pumped from wells, five percent from streams. Ninety-five percent is drill or broadcast seeded and five percent water-seeded. This information causes farmers to choose varieties that best fit their specific situation.


Rice Research Entomologist

Do Your Homework!

The topic this month is variety selection for your 2015 rice crop. Obviously, selecting the proper rice variety for your situation is critical to growing a successful crop. I have often heard 50 percent of your yield potential is due to genetics and the other 50 percent is due to your management. If you plan on planting a lot of acres, you may want to plant more than one variety to spread your risk (to compensate for less than expected results from one variety suffering from an unforeseen disease outbreak or other variety-related problem). I suggest you plant the majority of your acreage in a variety (varieties) with which you are familiar and the remainder of your acreage in recently released variety (varieties) that show promise.

Do your homework! Read the latest varietal information from universities, USDA and private seed companies. You can also speak directly with the scientists responsible for developing and evaluating these varieties. Talk with your neighbors to find out their ideas on varietal selection. If you plan on second cropping, review ratoon yield data
for varieties under consideration. For instance, for Texas, Presidio is not the best main crop yield variety but has outstanding ratoon yield potential. The combination of main and ratoon crop yield for Presidio can potentially result in a very good total crop yield.

Another increasingly important factor is seed cost. The hybrids have excellent yield potential, but seed costs are high and, in a given situation, may outweigh the economic benefits of higher yields. In addition, seeding rates are trending downward and planting dates are trending earlier. This creates a significant challenge to producing
a uniform, vigorous stand, which I believe is absolutely crucial to achieving maximum yields and quality in your rice crop. Thus, I strongly recommend planting seed treated with fungicides/insecticides/plant growth stimulants. Last year, I observed fields with uneven maturity resulting from non-uniform and weak emergence.

The following information (specific to Texas) is taken from the 2014 Texas Rice Crop Survey, which may help with your varietal selection decision making. Following are the most popular varieties in Texas in 2014 in descending order with average main crop yields (lb/A) in parentheses; ratoon yields are not yet reported: XL753(8749), CLXL745(7843), XP760(6705), Presidio(7127), CL152(6583), XL723(8723) and Antonio(7596). The milling yields (percent total, percent head) of the above varieties: XL753 = 72.5/59.5, CLXL745 = 71.3/59.0, XP760 = 69.4/51.8, Presidio = 71.4/58.4, CL152 = 70.1/60.5, XL723 = 72.8/61.3 and Antonio = 71.6/61.0.

The Texas Rice Improvement Association is selling Foundation Seed of the following varieties: Antonio, Colorado, Presidio, Sierra, Dixiebelle, Charleston Gold, Tesanai and Jasmine 85. To purchase this seed, call Brenda Setliff at (409) 752-5221.


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