The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture (UASDA) and BASF, the second largest producer and marketer of chemicals and related agricultural products in North America, have signed an agreement that will allow the UASDA to begin breeding new lines of Provisia rice varieties containing non-GMO herbicide-resistant traits development by BASF.
The UASDA will focus on developing Provisia varieties which are primarily suited to rice growing conditions in Arkansas. “The timing of this agreement will allow breeders to take advantage of the 2019 growing season,” says Bob Scott, director of the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, Ark. “This breeding effort is a four- to seven-year developmental process, so receiving these traits early in the growing season will allow lines to be crossed and placed in greenhouses this year which will move any potential new varieties one year closer to commercial release.”
Scott looked at several fields in 2018 where Provisia varieties were in production, and despite being planted in some very bad and weedy situations, they were still some of the cleanest fields he saw. “Breeders will be placing these non-GMO traits into some of our elite breeding lines,” says Scott. “Because the rice industry does not accept GMO rice, it’s important for us to incorporate non-GMO traits into high-yielding lines.”
“This will allow rice producers to keep more of their acreage in rice production by adding an additional herbicide rotation into their operation,” says Donnarie Hales, rice portfolio manager, BASF.