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December 8, 2023
RiceTec has blazed a trail in sustainable rice production for well over two decades. The company’s commitment to exceptional quality continues, as their trusted portfolio expands for the upcoming growing season. In 2024, customers can expect new products along with increased availability of top performing technologies.
These new offerings include the launch of SQUAD, a rebranded line of RiceTec seed treatments with packages focused on Mid-South and Gulf Coast rice production. Plus, excitement intensifies around a high-yielding conventional long-grain hybrid, and a new commercial release provides opportunity for growers to expand into the medium-grain rice market.
For a glimpse at what’s in store, Farm Press sat down with a team from RiceTec who all agreed that the optimism from the fantastic 2023 rice crop creates tremendous momentum as we roll into 2024.
Garrison Hardke, U.S. marketing manager at RiceTec, discussed the new line of SQUAD seed treatments. This refocused effort positions SQUAD to be the overarching umbrella for all current and future RiceTec seed treatments, with three packages available in 2024: SQUAD Delta, SQUAD Gulf, and SQUAD Pro.
All SQUAD products include a base package of gibberellic acid, zinc, and a combination of four fungicides. From there, each package is geographically focused and formulated to meet the needs of specific rice production systems.
Hardke explained, “We are listing the active ingredients for the SQUAD packages. That way, if we need to adjust what’s in one of the packages down the road, we can do so without changing the name of the seed treatment.”
Of the SQUAD line, the Delta package will be the most widely available. SQUAD Delta was previously known as RiceTec’s Cruiser treated seed package. It is primarily fitting for drill-seeded rice production in the southern Rice Belt, and growers can expect the same consistent protection from early-season pests and disease on Midsouth rice acres.
For Gulf Coast growers, RiceTec offers the SQUAD Gulf package, traditionally known as the Dermacor treated seed package. SQUAD Gulf is approved for use on both water-seeded and drill-seeded rice acres and is labeled for crawfish production in areas like southern Louisiana. The seed treatment is also customized to deal with Gulf Coast pests like water weevils and stem borers throughout the season.
Finally, a limited supply of the SQUAD Pro package will be available to growers who want a broader spectrum of insect and disease control. It includes two insecticides: a neonicotinoid and a diamide.
Jeff Mosley, RiceTec regional sales manager for Mississippi, Louisiana, and Texas, said these two combined classes of insecticide are a great option to broaden pest control, particularly in row rice where billbug pressure has become an issue the past few years.
The SQUAD Pro package will be available on three RiceTec products in 2024: FullPage hybrid RT7521, Fullpage hybrid RT7421, and RiceTec’s standard conventional long-grain hybrid XP753.
Speaking of the RiceTec standard conventional hybrid, XP753 has served as the benchmark for all hybrid long-grain rice production for its 13 years on the market. Hardke said the performance of all other competing hybrids have been judged against XP753, and it has been hard to beat.
While XP753 remains a trusted selection, there’s a new RiceTec product making its way into the hybrid rice arena – RT7302.
Hardke said, “RT7302 is the only product commercially released by RiceTec or anyone else that has ever beaten XP753 on average, and it’s doing so in our testing and in state trials.”
This includes trials in the Delta across Arkansas, Mississippi, and southeast Missouri, along with trials in the Gulf Coast regions of south Louisiana and Texas.
Mosely added, “RT7302 has performed extremely well across the board, and we are very excited about that product.”
Hardke noted the tremendous detail it takes to develop a high-yielding hybrid with grower appeal. “Yield may be the easiest thing to increase with hybrids,” he said. “But, when you increase yield, it’s also got to have good milling. It’s got to have good standability, and quite frankly, it’s got to be in a maturity group that growers want. Yield alone won’t do it.”
For the last two years, RT7302 has consistently proven those agronomic qualities. It is an early maturing, long-grain conventional hybrid with above average standability and grain retention. RT7302 also comes with top-notch disease resistance and is an excellent option for ratooning.
“This is our next generation of genetics,” Hardke added. “It is a step up, and we are already making crosses to include herbicide tolerance. Our plan is to have RT7302 in both Max-Ace and FullPage formats. RT7302 was very limited in 2023, but it will be a much bigger part of our conventional mix this year.”
When it comes to Max-Ace technology, Hardke said hybrids are in high demand and RiceTec is working to supply them. “Supply is very limited for Max-Ace hybrids right now,” he said, “but we do have a good supply of the Max-Ace variety, RTv7231.”
This Max-Ace RTv7231 is a very early maturing, smooth-leaf variety, acclaimed as the highest yielding ACCase tolerant variety on the market today. Hardke noted that RTv7231 MA serves as a great compliment to RiceTec’s FullPage technology.
In looking ahead at FullPage products, growers can expect to see less of the RT7321 FP with an increased supply of the newest addition, RT7421 FP. Hardke said 2023 was the first year for sizeable acres of RT7421 FP on the market, and growers can expect to see more of it going forward.
The team was eager to discuss RiceTec’s launch into the medium-grain market with the new conventional hybrid, RT3202. While there was a limited release of the medium-grain hybrid in 2023, availability will escalate for 2024.
The maturity of RT3202 is about eight days earlier than other medium-grain competitors primarily grown in the Midsouth, like Jupiter and Titan. Additionally, RT3202 touts a significant yield advantage over these competitors along with excellent stress tolerance and a great disease package.
D.J. Shipman is the RiceTec regional manager in northeast Arkansas and southeast Missouri. He said growers in his territory are excited about this new release.
“Medium-grain is a significant portion of the market in my region, and we’ve not been able to participate in that until now,” Shipman said. “RT3202 gives RiceTec growers who have been growing our long-grain rice an opportunity to expand into the medium-grain market.”
For farmers and retailers ready to place their RiceTec orders, it is important to note the change in the sales calendar. This year, the RiceTec sales season will focus on December through January with an early-paid date moved to late January 2024.
Hardke said, “Typically, our sales ran through October and November with an early-paid date of Dec. 5th. This year we have shifted that focus to give growers a little more time to plan for next year.”
Mosely said the company is making strides in the manufacturing process. Seed for the upcoming season is going into bags, and the 2024 prices and programs were officially released mid-November.
Shipman added, “Our sales team is making rounds and rolling out prices and programs to customers and seed dealers. We are just getting started on the sales side but expect it to ramp up as we move forward.”
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