When Tim Walker was walking his plots at the Delta Research and Extension Center at Stoneville, Miss., in 2009, he probably never dreamed he would have a greater interest in one of the rice lines he selected that year than normal.
Dr. Walker, now general manager of Horizon Ag, the company that distributes Clearfield rice, talked about that variety – CLX 4122 – during the Horizon Ag field day at the Mark Wimpy Farm near Jonesboro, Ark., this year.
“We are excited about this variety,” said Walker, who took a little good-natured ribbing about the fact he had more than a passing interest in the line, which is expected to become CL 163 if released in 2016. “In the URN and the Mississippi on-farm variety trials, it has performed very well in comparison to CL 111 and CL 151 in all of our yield trials.”
In the trials, CLX 4122 was within 200 pounds of CL 151 and about 300 pounds per acre better than CL 111, two of the leading varieties in the current Clearfield lineup.
Walker said he believes the prospective new variety will offer improvements in lodging. “I can’t stand here and promise you it will be as good as CL 152 or another variety I developed in Mississippi called Rex, but if we manage this variety properly I believe it will give us an advantage over 151.”
One of the main advantages of CLX 4122 or CL 163 will be what Walker called it cereal chemistry.
Consumers in Central America, he noted, often cook rice on Monday and eat out of the same batch on through the week. For that reason, they place a premium on the cooking quality of the rice they purchase.
“They want their rice to cook and be firm but be separate,” he said. “A lot of that is correlated back to amylose content. A lot of the varieties that we release in the United States will be around 20 to 22 percent amylose content. This variety will be above 26 percent amylose content.”
The variety will not have the level of blast tolerance of some varieties, he said, noting it has one gene for resistance but not the full package of some other current varieties.
“We will continue to bring this variety on slowly,” he said. “We will probably group this variety for a couple of years to make sure that we don’t get the quality that we’ve worked so hard to show our buyers mixed and comingled in with other varieties.
“I can’t pass up the opportunity to tell you how committed we are to raising that brand awareness of the USA Rice brand back to where it needs to be.”
For more information on Horizon Ag, visit http://www.horizonseed.com/.