The latest version of Provisia, PVL03, is being grown in a seed increase in south Texas.
The goal is that it will be available in a limited amount to farmers in southwest Louisiana in 2021.
“That’s where most of the testing was done for this line,” said Adam Famoso, LSU AgCenter rice breeder.
He said an additional 7 acres of PVL03 will be grown in Puerto Rico for next year also. PVL03 offers improved grain over PVL02, with a milled grain length of about 7 mm that is more desirable than the shorter PVL02 but not as long as PVL01.
“It has milled well in our tests,” he said.
PVL03 is less resistant to lodging than PVL02 because it is shorter, Famoso said.
Also, the disease resistance of PVL03 is notably improved over previous Provisia varieties, with PVL03 containing the broad-spectrum blast resistance Pita gene.
In three years of testing, PVL03 has consistently demonstrated yields at least equal to PVL02 and often better, he said.
The newest Clearfield variety, CLL17, showed excellent yield potential, demonstrated by an average of 59 barrels on a 24-acre foundation seed field at the station. Famoso said it has good blast resistance with fair grain quality. He explained that its grain is slightly shorter than CL153 and contains slightly higher chalk than CL153.
Famoso said a conventional line, LA2140, that was a candidate for a variety release is being held back after it failed to demonstrate an overall improvement over Cheniere.
“In 2020, yields of LA2140 were pretty much equal to Cheniere, and we observed significant disease in the foundation seed field,” he said.
Also, milling yields and grain appearance were not as good as Cheniere, he said.
“We have three other conventional lines that look much better,” he said.
Famoso said seed from the three lines has been sent to Puerto Rico to produce breeder seed of each line. One line, LA2207, out-yielded Cheniere, and it has good blast resistance and showed good disease resistance in fields with high disease pressure. Chalk was more prevalent than in Cheniere, he said.
Another line, LA2212, performed well in Louisiana and Arkansas, he said.
“We’ll make a final decision next year,” Famoso said.
Hurricane Laura’s winds flattened several of Famoso’s plots at the H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station and at a test site in the Calcasieu Parish community of Iowa. The plots at Iowa were ruined, and many of the panicles at the station had to be harvested by hand.
“We were able to handpick panicles, and now that material is in Puerto Rico,” he said.
Famoso said the importance of the Puerto Rico winter nursery becomes obvious after a devastating hurricane.
“It gives us that flexibility when something like this happens,” he said. “Fortunately, our seed increase of 6 acres did not go down.”
The breeding program benefited from the predictive system established by Christopher Hernandez, Famoso said.
“We have these predictions on all our lines, and we’re starting to use it on highly complex traits such as yield and milling quality,” he said. “The predictions are just as accurate, if not more, than a single-year preliminary yield test, so we were still able to advance lines this year that were lost in the hurricane.”
Gavin Guidry, LSU AgCenter research associate, plants seeds to be grown in a greenhouse. Tissue from the young plants will be genetically screened for desired traits without growing them in the field.