Study university trials, you own farm data when selecting varieties

Bobby Golden
Extension Rice Specialist

With 2017 in the rearview mirror, we look forward to 2018 coming off the best yielding year we have had in Mississippi in the past few years. One of the first questions to ask is, “Do I plant the same varieties I did in 2017, or is there something new that may put my farm over the edge?” 

There are numerous excellent varieties available today for Mississippi producers for both the Clearfield and conventional management systems. 2018 will also mark the launch of the new Provisia Rice System that will be welcomed on some farms with hard-to-control weedy rice.

With so many options, it’s often difficult to decide what to plant. Luckily, each state in the rice belt conducts variety trials at multiple locations and on different soil textures to aid producers in making variety selection decisions.

Mississippi’s 2017 on-farm variety trials evaluated 34 entries at seven locations across the Mississippi Delta rice-growing area. Data collected from these trials is available at the Mississippi Crop Situation blog ( and on the Mississippi Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station variety trial website (

The document contains all small-plot variety testing data from 2017 as well as disease-reaction ratings and nitrogen fertilization suggestions for varieties represented in the trials.

When considering yields averaged across all testing locations, most cultivars evaluated performed well in 2017, with notable standouts among conventional inbred rice varieties being Diamond (235 bu/ac) and Thad (233 bu/ac) compared to our control variety Rex (227 bu/ac).

Diamond and Thad where released by Arkansas and Mississippi, respectively, during 2017. Each of these varieties has looked really good in the first couple years on limited acreage. The newer rice hybrids — XL753, XL760 and RT 7311 CL —produced similar yields that were all at least 19 bu/ac greater than CLXL729.

If red rice is an issue on a particular farm and a Clearfield variety is needed, CL151 (218 bu/ac) is hard to beat. But in 2017, the new CL153 (limited supply in 2016) performed well in plots for the second year and had a Mississippi yield average of 223 bu/ac.

Among Clearfield hybrids, RT 7311 performed exceptionally well with average yields of 285 bu/ac in small-plot testing across seven locations. Keep in mind that incidence of ALS-resistant barnyardgrass and rice flatsedge have increased in Mississippi, and stewardship is of the utmost importance to keep this technology viable in the future.

Also for 2018, we will see a limited launch of the Provisia Rice System. Early testing in Mississippi suggests that the Provisia herbicide platform provides good control of numerous weed species and non-Provisia rice. A wealth of data is generated each year on varietal performance across the Mid-South by universities and industry, but do not overlook perhaps the most important data in selecting a variety, which is past performance on your farm.

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

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