Frances Gould, Schultz, Bruce
Hybrid development at the Rice Research Station continued to make progress in 2014 under hybrid rice breeders Jim Oard and Weike Li. Oard said a preliminary yield trial resulted in 16 of 35 hybrid lines having a 15-20 percent yield advantage over conventional varieties CL152 and Catahoula, and nine had yields exceeding commercial hybrids CLX729 and XL723.
Multi-location trials of eight new hybrids were conducted in Acadia, St. Landry and Vermilion parishes, Oard said. Results showed good yield and milling quality.
Four hybrids from the LSU AgCenter were tested by the University of Arkansas, he said. “There were 30 entries, and the best ones were the Louisiana hybrids.”
The fact that the hybrids performed well in Arkansas demonstrates their adaptability to different locations, Oard said.
Hybrids are evaluated not only for yield but also for milling quality. Oard said the new cereal chemistry lab run by Ida Wenefrida at the Rice Research Station enables quick results for testing amylose content and gelatinization temperature. “Otherwise, we’d be waiting for months to get these grain quality results,” he said.
Chalk is a major quality consideration. “It’s a big issue we are paying a lot of attention to,” he said. Grain uniformity also is emphasized in the program.
Oard said 1,200 crosses made in 2014 resulted in 12 lines with yield advantages over the commercial hybrid CLXL729. Many of those new lines have the Clearfield trait.
The hybrid program is also incorporating the new Provisia herbicide resistance trait. “We think it will be a good complement to the Clearfield technology,” he said.
Even though the hybrid program has been underway for four years at the Rice Research Station, work continues on fine-tuning the process. Oard said the seed production system is being improved with the use of seed treatments to make sure malesterile and fertile pollinator plants flower simultaneously.
The program is close to having a commercially viable hybrid. “I would say within two to three years we’ll have a rice hybrid that will be of commercial interest,” he said.
Li also is optimistic. He said the hybrid program is progressing well, and several lines show promise with good milling quality, short stature and excellent yields. “I can say I’m quite sure we will be successful.”
This article was published in the 2015 Louisiana Rice Research Board Annual Report.