Louisiana: Rice Forum Demonstrates New Innovations

    Rice harvest. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

    Several new innovations will make rice production easier in the coming years, LSU AgCenter experts told farmers at the Northeast Louisiana Rice Forum recently (Feb. 8).

    LSU AgCenter rice breeder Steve Linscombe said Provisia rice will enable farmers to kill red rice that has become resistant to Newpath herbicide.

    Work has been ongoing for the past four years at the AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station to develop the technology. Several changes had to be made in the original line developed by BASF, including improvements in cereal chemistry, Linscombe said.

    “Hopefully this technology will be available on limited acres in 2018,” he said. The Provisia herbicide has received a federal label for use on rice.

    Millers will be pleased with Provisia’s good quality and long grain length, Linscombe said.

    A line of Clearfield Jazzman rice will be harvested in Puerto Rico next week, Linscombe said, and the seed to be planted at the Rice Research Station could be selected as a variety.

    Hybrid rice continues to show promise. “We’re not going to release a hybrid that’s going to contribute to the quality problems,” he said.

    New varieties released by the LSU AgCenter are the result of work by several research associates whose salaries are paid with farmers’ check-off funds. “The work of a lot of these people is only there because of your support,” Linscombe said.

    A variation of the bird repellent seed treatment AV-1011 is being tested for use on mature rice, said AgCenter agronomist and extension rice specialist Dustin Harrell. “Hopefully, we’ll see that in three or four years as a product,” he said.

    The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has approved use of a product, Kaput, to control wild pigs, Harrell said. The product’s maker will ask Texas for approval of the product first. “They tell me Louisiana will be the second state they apply for. Probably the first we see it in Louisiana is late summer,” he said.

    AgCenter weed scientist Eric Webster said Provisia will control weedy rice and red rice, but it will require a rotation of several years with soybeans for badly infested fields.

    The Provisia herbicide can lose its effectiveness when mixed with some broadleaf herbicides, such as propanil, he said. The new herbicide Loyant will give farmers a new tool to fight grasses and broadleaf weeds.

    AgCenter plant pathologist Don Groth said the fungicide Amistar Top will provide another means of fighting fungicide-resistant sheath blight. It’s uncertain if the product will receive a federal label in time for use on this year’s crop.

    AgCenter entomologist Sebe Brown said rice stinkbugs often move from weeds in overgrown areas to nearby rice fields. “Controlling weeds is going to go a long way to control insects in rice,” he said.

    Using pyrethroids to kill stinkbugs is more cost-effective than acephate, Brown said.

    Farmers also heard Betsy Ward, USA Rice president, give an assessment on the potential effects of President Trump’s trade policies on the export of American rice.

    Trump’s opposition to NAFTA could upset American rice sales to Mexico, she said.

    But the previous administration was unwilling to pursue trade complaints against other countries that unfairly support their rice producers, she said. “We feel like we’ll get a better reception from the Trump administration,” Ward said.

    The USA Rice promotion efforts in Mexico have been toned down because of Trump’s criticism of NAFTA and Mexico, she said.

    Trump’s selection of former Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue as agriculture secretary and Scott Pruitt to head the EPA are positive steps for agriculture, Ward said.

    Michael Klein, USA Rice vice president for marketing and communications, said rice has received favorable publicity this year. Expanding sales to large food buyers, such as colleges and universities, present a tremendous opportunity to increase domestic business.

    Scott Franklin, vice president of the Northeast Louisiana Rice Growers, reminded farmers that lobbying in Washington for rice is essential. Farmers should remember that when they receive federal payments under the Price Loss Coverage program. “That happened because of our lobbyists,” he said.

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