Highlights of the Rice Research Station Field Day - Part 1

Dr. Adam Famoso, new rice breeder at the Rice Research Station, addresses participants at the statio

The 2015 LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Field Day was held on July 1. This was the 106th field day held since the station was established in 1909. In spite of the abundance of rain in southwest Louisiana recently, the rain held off that morning, and the field tour portion of the field day went off without a hitch. The number of participants on the field tours was up when compared to recent years, and the tour provided an excellent overview of ongoing research at the station.

The first stop dealt with weed control research. Dr. Eric Webster discussed the new Provisia weed control system, which is under development for rice production in the future. This herbicide resistance system is based on a mutant that is resistant to a herbicide that will kill normal rice as well as red rice. The system is similar to the current Clearfield system, which is used on over half the Louisiana’s current rice acreage.

The active ingredient in Provisia is quizalofop, and the herbicide is active only on grasses. Dr. Webster’s research indicates that two applications of Provisia will be needed to achieve adequate control of red rice, weedy rice and grass weeds. The initial application should be applied early to small actively growing grasses in the one- to three-leaf stage. The target rate of the herbicide will be approximately 15 ounces per acre, and Provisia will need a crop oil concentrate added as the spray adjuvant. Because Provisia is only active on grass weeds, herbicides with activity on broadleaf and sedge weeds will be needed in the Provisia production system.

Dr. Webster has conducted research on this technology at both the Rice Research Station and the Northeast Research Station near St. Joseph. His data indicate no issues at the Rice Station but noted antagonism at the northeast site from the addition of propanil-containing herbicides Permit and Grasp. This means that when these herbicides were mixed with Provisia, the effectiveness of Provisia in controlling grassy weeds was reduced. This issue will require additional research.

Dr. Webster also showed plots of Clearfield rice that had been sprayed with Provisia that indicated the new herbicide will be very effective in killing rice plants containing the Clearfield gene. This is very important because rice and red rice are closely related, and gene flow between the two is common. This has led to red rice plants in fields that now contain the gene for resistance to the Clearfield herbicides and thus can no longer be controlled with those herbicides. The introduction of the Provisia system will allow for red rice to again be controlled with herbicide in those fields.

Also at this stop, Ben McKnight, a graduate student in Dr. Webster’s program, discussed evaluation of the experimental rice herbicide benzobicyclon. Ben stated that benzobicyclon has a great deal of potential for use on aquatic weeds. It is one of the best ducksalad herbicides that the project has evaluated. This herbicide needs water to be active and works best when rice is flooded prior to application. This herbicide is at least two years away from a full federal label.

The topic at the next stop was rice breeding, where I discussed two potential new rice variety releases. LA 2134 is a Clearfield long grain that has shown yield performance similar to CL151 but with much better resistance to blast disease, better resistance to lodging and less grain chalk. The line was increased last winter at the Puerto Rice winter nursery and is currently being grown in a 20-acre foundation seed field on the Rice Station under the care of Larry White and Rick Zaunbrecher. LA 2008 is a Clearfield medium grain that has also shown a great deal of promise. It has consistently had yields at least as good as the current Clearfield medium grain CL271 but has shown better grain quality. This line was also increased last winter in Puerto Rico and is in foundation seed production on a 20-acre field on the station as well. These two lines are in numerous trials both in Louisiana as well as in the other southern rice-producing states. Both will be considered for release after review of their performance during the 2015 growing season.

In addition, I discussed progress in breeding for varieties to be used in the new Provisia system. We hope to have one or more varieties available within two to three years.

Dr. Adam Famoso also spoke at this stop. He is a rice breeder who recently joined the faculty at the station. He has 10 years’ experience in rice breeding both in graduate school at Cornell University as well as running an international rice hybrid breeding program for the past five years. While at Cornell, Adam studied under Dr. Susan McCouch, who has an international reputation as a rice quantitative geneticist. Dr. Famoso has an excellent background in the use of molecular breeding in rice variety development and discussed how he plans to increase the use of this technology in the station’s breeding program in the future.

Next month we will discuss the information presented on disease control, insect control, hybrid rice breeding, and soil fertility and agronomic research.

This project was partially supported by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.

Permission granted July 15, 2015 by B. Leonards (LA Farm & Ranch) to republish article on www.lsuagcenter.com.
7/15/2015 7:19:42 PM
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