New Provisa varieties getting closer

Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce  |  1/24/2017 8:41:51 PM

The availability of Provisia rice is getting closer for farmers.

“We’re hoping to have seed production in 2017, with an expected launch date of commercial production in 2018,” said LSU AgCenter rice breeder Steve Linscombe.

Provisia will provide a longer lifespan for Clearfield rice. “Having a second herbicide-resistant system should allow this technology to remain viable well into the future,” Linscombe said.

Work at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station on the project began four years ago as the result of an agreement with BASF that developed the herbicide-resistant line. The line was an Indica type that had cooking qualities not found in Southern long-grain rice with a high amylose content and a low gelatinization temperature, in addition to pubescent leaves and grain, Linscombe said.

Linscombe had to breed the rice to have smooth leaves and grain as well as desirable cooking characteristics. Lab equipment to test cereal chemistry at the station has been crucial to determining if the line had the intended traits that would make it acceptable for American palates.

The line, PV024-A, was developed through extensive use of the winter nursery in Puerto Rico. “We pushed Provisia in Puerto Rico every winter, and most of the time we grew two generations every winter,” he said.

Last year, the largest AgCenter seed increase in Puerto Rico was planted on 4.2 acres. Larry White, now retired director of the foundation seed program, planted the seed increase and then came out of retirement to harvest that crop.

This line has decent yield potential, but not as well as the highest inbred varieties. Yield is a trait that will be pursued in subsequent generations. “We’ve got that in the pipeline right now,” Linscombe said.

Advanced experimental lines are being grown in Puerto Rico this winter.

A new Clearfield Jazzman line will be grown in 2017 for foundation seed, with a seed increase underway this winter in the Puerto Rico nursery. The line has good aroma and grain quality, with yield better than previous versions of Jazzman rice, Linscombe said. And rice merchants who have sold Jazzman have a favorable opinion of it.

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