Adam Famoso, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, discusses variety development at a field day at the AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Research Station. He is standing in front of a plot of PVL03, a new variety. Photo by Olivia McClure.
While Clearfield variety development had been a major focus of the LSU AgCenter rice breeding program over the past 15 years, for the last three to four years the emphasis on conventional lines has greatly increased based on growers’ needs.
The latest Clearfield release from the AgCenter breeding program is CLL17. The long-grain Clearfield variety was grown commercially on significant acreage for the first time in 2021, rice breeder Adam Famoso said, and yield data are showing positive results from the variety.
“The overall feedback we are getting is positive in terms of yields,” Famoso said. “It’s milling well. Agronomically, it’s pretty similar to our other varieties. We have seen the yield of CLL17 drop off in our breeding trials when it was planted later than the recommended planting window.”
CLL17 is the latest variety to feature the pita blast resistance gene, which Famoso said is the best blast-resistance gene available among commercially released varieties.
The evolution of CLL17 from development to release started with preliminary yield trials in 2015, leading to multiple location trials the following year and seed production in 2019. The expansion of CLL17 as a leading variety planted among rice fields in the state is a testament to the increased yield.
PVL03, a Provisia line, will be available commercially within the next year, Famoso said. The variety was in seed production fields in Louisiana, Texas and Missouri. Yield trials indicate that PVL03 is producing competitively with other varieties, including Clearfield and conventional breeding lines.
“PVL03 has done really well in the seed fields—better than we could have hoped,” he said. “We’re continually closing the gap between the yield potential of the Provisia lines versus all the others.”
The positive seed production results indicate the variety will replace PVL02, the previous Provisia variety that was commercially released.
“It shows good yield advantage and much better disease resistance,” Famoso said, comparing PVL03 to its Provisia predecessors. “It has the pita blast resistance. It has a longer grain. It’s a sturdier plant that is much less prone to lodging.”
Louisiana rice growers have expressed interest into the AgCenter’s conventional rice varieties, which has prompted rice breeding researchers to shift some of their focus to examining more traditional lines.
“There is more and more demand for our conventional lines,” Famoso said. “Conventional lines are now a much more prevalent component of our program compared to a few years ago.”
Of the conventional lines being studied, Famoso said three have advanced to seed production. LA2126 may soon be marketed for uses that require high amylose varieties, such as for parboiling and packaging in processed meals and for specific export markets that prefer nonsticky rice. That variety fits characteristics that are preferred in Mexico and other Latin American markets.
LA2126 “has performed consistently equal to or better than Cheniere over the years,” Famoso said. “It offers us this unique cooking property in that it will be high amylose. We’re releasing this with the idea that is will be for specific markets and specific applications.”
Famoso said the Mars Corporation, the parent company of Ben’s Original (formerly Uncle Ben’s), has provided very favorable feedback in LA 2126 as a fit for their rice products.
LA2212, another conventional long grain variety, has shown high yields across the board, but this line has proven favorable to growers for its timing of maturity.
“It matures four or five days earlier than any of our other varieties on the market,” he said.
The LA2212 line is a short plant that is less susceptible to lodging to its taller counterparts. Adding that attribute to its package of favorable characteristics prompted the breeding program to advance the line into seed production in Puerto Rico. The seed, to be harvested from Puerto Rico in January 2022, will then be released for increased seed production prior to its commercial market debut.
“It should be available by 2023 on a commercial basis,” he said.
Adam Famoso, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, checks the progress of a rice plant that has been used to make a cross in a greenhouse at the AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station. Seed from the cross will be grown, and the DNA from the plant’s tissue will be tested to determine if the new line of rice has the desired traits. Photo by Bruce Schultz.