Aromatic rice likely to be released for 2009 season

Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce  |  6/25/2009 8:01:42 PM

Rice industry representatives sample LA2125, which is being considered for release. Left to right are Michael Hensgens of G&H Seed and farmers Charles Reiners of Branch and Fred Zaunbrecher of Rayne. (Photo by Bruce Schultz)

After 12 years of development by the LSU AgCenter, an experimental line of an aromatic Jasmine-type rice is a likely candidate for release for the 2009 growing season.

Dr. Xueyan Sha, an LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said the rice line known as LA2125 started with crosses in 1996 by former LSU AgCenter rice breeder Farman Jodari. Sha took over the project when he started at the LSU AgCenter’s Rice Research Station in 2000.

Sha said the line was developed by using the germplasm of an unreleased Chinese line with Jasmine’s cooking quality and crossing it with American germplasm. It is in its 13th generation.

Thai Jasmine is impractical to grow in Louisiana because it will not tolerate long day lengths of summer here. If planted in March, Sha explained, Thai Jasmine will not reach the heading stage in Louisiana until the shorter days of October, when cool weather inhibits growth of rice plants.

The yield of LA2125 is comparable to many popular U.S. varieties, including Cypress, and it has good disease resistance and excellent seedling vigor, based on LSU AgCenter tests. Sha also said the milling yield is excellent, with results comparable to Cypress.

More than half of the imported rice consumed in the United States is Thai Jasmine, and it is the fastest growing category of imported rice, according to statistics from the USA Rice Federation.

A total of 360 hundredweight of potential foundation seed is available from the 2008 growing season, Sha said. That seed would be available for propagation in 2009 if the line is released by the LSU AgCenter

Dr. Steve Linscombe, director of the Rice Research Station, said demand exists for the aromatic rice.

"I think this is something that will be highly desired in the specialty markets," he said.

Linscombe said aromatic rice grown domestically has an advantage over Thai Jasmine, because imports would not be in the United States until October or November. "Our fresh rice can be on the market in August or September," he said.

Sha said he already is working on further improvements to Jasmine-type rice. "We need to improve the specialty attributes," he said, adding it will be a few years before a new line with an aroma even stronger than LA2125 could be ready for release.

Linscombe, also an LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said he also is working on new medium grain and long grain Clearfield lines.

A line designated as XC011 has good yield potential, similar to CL151, with better grain quality, less straighthead susceptibility and more blast resistance, he said. It will undergo a seed increase in 2009 with release possible in 2010.

Linscombe said a medium grain Clearfield line will be grown out in Puerto Rico this winter and will have a seed increase in 2009. Indications are that it has good disease resistance, high yields and good grain quality, he said. –Bruce Schultz

Checkoff funds for this project: $89,000

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