Rice Variety Selection - An Important First Step
Southwest Region/H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station
One of the first, and most important, decisions a rice producer makes each year is which variety to grow in each production field and whether to grow a long-grain or medium-grain variety.
Thirty-five years ago Louisiana was predominantly a medium-grain producing state. In the decade of the 1980s, we planted approximately 65 percent of our acreage in medium-grain varieties, with the remainder seeded to long-grain types. That has changed dramatically since then. In 2016, Louisiana planted over 95 percent of our acreage in long-grain types, with the remainder devoted to medium and specialty varieties. These changes occurred because of the market, as well as the release of more yield-competitive long-grain varieties. We expect to see a similar mix of grain types in 2017.
When selecting a variety, one must first decide whether to grow a conventional line or a Clearfield variety. A Clearfield variety allows the use of NewPath (and Beyond) herbicide, which helps control weedy red rice in a commercial rice field. If planting a conventional long grain, the predominant pureline varieties are Cheniere and Mermentau while the predominant hybrid is XL753.
Cheniere and Mermentau have comparable yield potential, and both exhibit semidwarf erect plant types and display excellent resistance to lodging. Both varieties are susceptible to sheath blight, and Cheniere is moderately susceptible to blast, while Mermentau is susceptible. Both varieties have very good milling characteristics, while Cheniere typically displays somewhat lower chalk scores and is often a preferred package quality variety. XL753 has excellent yield potential and a good disease package, but normally has somewhat high levels of grain chalk. The newer variety LaKast (Arkansas release) has shown good potential in Louisiana testing.
There are four Clearfield long-grain purelines: CL111, CL151, CL152 and CL153. All of these are semidwarfs, and CL151 is the most susceptible to lodging. CL111 is the earliest, and CL151 and CL153 have shown higher yield potential. CL153 has yield potential comparable to CL151 but is more resistant to lodging and has much better grain appearance quality. CL111 is rated as very susceptible to sheath blight, while the other three are rated as susceptible. CL151 is the most susceptible to blast disease. The newly released CL172 (Arkansas release) has performed well in Louisiana testing and has excellent grain quality. The Clearfield hybrids CLXL729 and CLXL745 both have excellent yield potential and good disease packages. However, both tend to have a high level of chalk in the milled grain.
Caffey and Jupiter are the two conventional medium grains available. Both of these have excellent yield potential and good milling characteristics. Caffey is rated as resistant to blast while Jupiter is rated as susceptible. Both are rated as moderately susceptible to sheath blight disease. Titan is a newly released conventional medium-grain variety from Arkansas. It has shown excellent yield potential and good quality. It is moderately susceptible to blast and susceptible to sheath blight. As seed becomes more readily available in future years, Titan might prove to be an excellent medium grain for Louisiana production. CL272 is the only Clearfield medium grain available. It has excellent yield potential but somewhat lower head rice yields than the other medium grains. CL272 is moderately susceptible to blast and susceptible to sheath blight.
While the acreage is small, specialty varieties are important for some producers. Both the Della and the Jazzman types have a similar aroma, but the Della types have conventional long-grain cereal chemistry while the Jazzman types have low amylose and low gelatinization temperature, which causes the grains to cook softer and somewhat stickier. Della-2 and Jazzman have a similar yield potential while Jazzman-2 has a little lower yield potential but somewhat better aroma and grain appearance than Jazzman. The specialty types should not be grown unless one has a contract or plans to do direct marketing. Because of the aromatic characteristic, these types cannot be mixed with regular long grains.
The LSU AgCenter publication, Rice Varieties and Management Tips 2017 (publication No. 2270) is available at your parish extension office or online at LSUAgCenter.com. The publication contains a great deal of additional information that will be useful in making variety selection decisions.
This project was partially supported by USDA National Institute of Food and Agriculture.
Permission granted February 15, 2017 by B. Leonards (LA Farm & Ranch) to republish article on www.lsuagcenter.com.
Rice variety yield trial.