Scientists working together to improve La. rice production

Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce  |  10/3/2013 12:48:55 AM

Map of Louisiana 2012 rice acreage by parish, all types.

Photo By: LSU AgCenter

Scientists aiming to improve rice production in Louisiana work closely with each other – in a unified effort to give the best back to the state’s producers.

"I’ve got my own projects, but they only take up about half of my research," said Dr. Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist.

Groth works closely with Dr. Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, to screen experimental lines for disease resistance.

He also works with Dr. Jim Oard, the LSU AgCenter geneticist in charge of the Rice Research Station hybrid rice program.

Groth interacts with Dr. Herry Utomo, LSU AgCenter molecular biologist, to use genetic markers connected with disease resistance.

Oard also works closely with all disciplines in leading the rice hybrid program. He said cooperation is essential to produce good results.

"You can’t do anything alone," Oard said. "You can’t make any progress that way."

Developing hybrid rice encompasses the entire spectrum of rice, from milling quality to pest resistance, Oard said.

"We’ve got to consider all those characteristics," he said. "So, because of that, we need to cooperate with all those disciplines."

Oard said even conventional rice breeding is closely connected with hybrid development. "Without the inbred program, the hybrid program would not be able to advance," he said.

Dr. Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter agronomist, said much of his work focuses on new varieties. For example, he conducts extensive testing to determine the optimum amount of fertilizer for each new variety.

"Whenever a new variety is tested, all those things are looked at," Harrell said.

Harrell said he also is conducting research with Groth to see how disease can be reduced in a ratoon crop. In addition, he is working with Dr. Ron Levy, LSU AgCenter soybean specialist, on a date-of-planting study and Dr. Boyd Padgett, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, on soybean fungicide applications.

(This article was published in the 2013 Louisiana Rice Research Board Annual Report.)

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Please click on the links above to go to the Rice Research Board Reports home page, to go to the 2012 report, and to go to the PDF version of the 2013 report.

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