Adam Famoso describes traits of the latest rice varieties that have progressed through the breeding project at the Acadia Parish Rice Field Day held at the Rice Research Station’s South Farm on Aug. 15. Photo by Derek Albert/LSU AgCenter
The H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station breeding program’s recent variety developments have evolved to focus on specific rice characteristics that expand the facility’s offerings to suit tastes across the globe.
LSU AgCenter rice breeder Adam Famoso said the emphasis to create high-yielding varieties remains an important goal for his program, but several other factors have increased in consideration over the years. He said strong milling quality has become ever more important and disease resistance has proven to be a major component in the longevity of a variety.
“Yield is definitely the most important, hands down,” Famoso said. “Quality is certainly important. We want good milling quality with low chalk. We are seeing with a lot of the lines, in our extended testing, a lot of the stability of the lines appears to be related to the disease resistance.”
In 2022, the breeding program advanced three lines that will be available for commercial release in the next few years. Avant, Addi Jo, and LA19-2026 have performed well in multi-location trials and have advanced to foundation seed production.
Avant is a conventional southern U.S. long-grain variety with an expected commercial release for the 2023 planting season. In multi-location trials, this line has demonstrated ratoon potential that appears on par or better than the existing varieties, Famoso said. Harvesting yields look promising as well. As its name suggests, Avant, which means “before” in French, is an early maturing variety that can aid farmers in timing their late-summer harvests.
Addi Jo, another conventional line, is a high-amylose long-grain variety that will be expanded into another year of seed production for 2023, with an expected commercial release in 2024. Addi Jo has excellent blast resistance which Famoso said serves as a major benefit among previous high-amylose lines grown in Louisiana.
“We really haven’t had much high-amylose material grown here in Louisiana because the varieties that have come out in the past were really susceptible to blast,” he said. “That is something we wanted to take care of.”
Domestically, the Addi Jo line has sparked interest among some food manufacturers such as Mars, Inc., which is the parent company of Ben’s Original, and the Campbell Soup Company, which features rice in several of its product lines. It is also targeted for the Latin American markets where they prefer the less sticky, individual grain cooking qualities in their rice.
“There continues to be a lot of interest and inquiries about it from some of these other countries,” Famoso said.
The new Clearfield long-grain line, LA19-2026, has been identified for its upcoming release. Horizon Ag is set to market the line, likely as CLL19, Famoso said. LA19-2026 has very good milling yields, blast resistance and lodging tolerance.
A 10-acre foundation seed field was planted at the Rice Research Station this year. Seed production is planned for 2023, with its commercial release anticipated for 2024.
“It has demonstrated excellent yield potential over the last three years of multi-location testing and has consistently been the top yielding semidwarf CL variety across trials,” he said.
Another Clearfield long-grain line that has yet to be named has advanced to its second year of multi-location trials. Famoso said this line has good blast resistance and has shown promise for its yield potential.
“It’s really been strong,” he said. “It’s shown really stable yields across locations. It’s yielded higher than any of our current Clearfield varieties, anywhere.”
To collect another year of research data on this variety, the breeding program will continue this line with multi-location trials for 2023.
“From what we’ve seen in the last two years, it is something we’re definitely excited about,” Famoso said.
A conventional Jasmine line is also being considered for release. This line touts a strong disease resistance package, particularly against blast. Famoso said its yield performance has also been strong.
“Improved yields, good aroma, good grain quality … that’s one we’re also considering,” he said.
After a third year of multi-location trials, this Jasmine line was planted on increased acreage to have stakeholders test traits, such as cooking quality and aroma, that can make this line a differentiated product among the AgCenter’s rice line offerings