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LSU Ag Center looking at three promising rice varieties for 2014, 2015

LSU AgCenter scientists are looking at three new rice varieties with high yields and increased resistance to blast that could be released in 2014 or 2015, rice breeder Steve Linscombe says.

Dr. Linscombe, resident director of the LSU Rice Research Station in Crowley, La., and a team of researchers stepped up their work on the new lines – CL 271, CL Jazzman and CL 2171 – all Clearfield rice varieties – after Louisiana experienced a severe blast outbreak in 2012.

“We think CL 271 will be a very competitive, medium grain variety that will address some issues we have with our other medium grain varieties,” said Linscombe, a speaker at the USA Rice Federation Outlook Conference in St. Louis.

“The only current Clearfield medium grain variety, CL 261, is a high-yielding variety, a high-quality variety. However, it is susceptible, primarily, to blast disease, and we saw that when we had the severe blast problems in 2012. That led us to expedite trying to get a new Clearfield variety out there that had good attributes, especially very good blast resistance, and we think CL 271 will address that.”

The LSU AgCenter has released two high-yielding, conventional medium grain varieties, Jupiter and then Caffey, “and any Clearfield medium grain we release has to compete very well with those two varieties,” says Linscombe, who delivered the research report for Louisiana at the Outlook Conference.

At four locations in 2013, CL 271 produced an average of 9,258 pounds of rice per acre while Jupiter harvested 8,876 pounds and Caffey, 8,809 pounds per acre. In the Uniform Regional Nursery in 2013, CL 261 made 10,497 pounds of rice per acre and CL 271, 10,050 pounds of rice.

“In the absence of any blast pressure, CL 261 is a high-yielding variety,” Linscombe notes.

Louisiana growers have also been expanding their acreage of Jazzman 1 and Jazzman 2, aromatic varieties that have proven to be increasingly popular in specialty rice markets. Growers planted about 30,000 acres of the two in 2013.

“We think this line, CL Jazzman, may address some of the yield issues we have seen with the first two Jazzmans and, certainly, having the Clearfield trait is going to be an asset in helping us expand where we can go with these specialty varieties,” he said. (Clearfield rice is not genetically modified but is the product of natural selection of lines that are tolerant to Newpath, Clearpath and Beyond herbicides.)

CL Jazzman has consistently produced significantly more rice than Jazzman 1 and Jazzman 2 in a variety of tests at the LSU Rice Research Station and other university research stations, Linscombe said. (In one set of trials, CL Jazzman produced 3,000 more pounds of rice than Jazzman 2.)

“So we are cautiously optimistic that this is going to address some of the Jazzman issues that we have seen commercially,” he said. “It also has very good grain appearance and very good aroma. At least up to this point, it looks like it can be a keeper.”

Linscombe said CL Jazzman has been one of the more challenging varieties he has tried to bring into the LSU AgCenter fold. After he planted 400 rows of LA 2505 (CL Jazzman) at the winter nursery operated by several universities and seed companies in Puerto Rico, drift from a herbicide killed nearly 90 percent of the plants that emerged.

Later in the season, a zinc deficiency further delayed the development of the crop. Researchers didn’t harvest the surviving rows until June and weren’t able to plant the seed from the new line in the U.S. until July 3. That meant they couldn’t harvest the plots in Louisiana until mid-November. “But we did succeed in increasing the seed of that variety.”

A Clearfield long grain, CL 2171, is probably a year behind CL 271 and CL Jazzman, according to Linscombe. “We’re looking for something that has the yield potential of CL 151 and has very high quality and very good disease resistance, especially blast resistance, and we think we may have it all put together in this particular line.”

“CL 151 has been a good variety for us, but after the blast issues we had in 2012, we need to get something out there in place of it. CL 152 has been a good variety with extremely good quality, but it just doesn’t yield as consistently for us as CL 151.”

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