In its first year of commercial production, the Provisia Rice System, with Horizon Ag variety PVL01, is doing its job, helping rice farmers take back fields lost to production due to weedy rice.
It’s a message being repeated over and over again by farmers, from south Louisiana to northeast Arkansas. The results of the new technology were seen firsthand by attendees at the recent Horizon Ag Louisiana Field Day near Kaplan, Louisiana.
“As I travel throughout the state, I’m hearing farmers say their Provisia rice fields are the cleanest fields on their farms,” said Michael Fruge, Horizon Ag District Field Representative for Louisiana and Texas. “I feel like I’ve heard a thousand times this year that, in most areas, it’s the cleanest fields. They’ve seen few grass escapes. It’s really done the job of taking out the weedy rice. This technology is phenomenal.”
The same is holding true in Arkansas, according to Sunny Bottoms, Horizon Ag Senior Technical Services Representative.
“A lot of people had a need for the system but were cautious about planting Provisia this year because it was new,” said Bottoms. “After seeing its performance, farmers are calling me saying they will have more next year. It’s the cleanest fields on their farm, the great thing is that their facilities are also one of the cleanest ones, their food plant sanitation is of very high standards.”
Because of growing conditions this year, grass (not just weedy rice, but grass in general) has been very difficult to control. Despite having “one of the grassiest crops in Arkansas that I’ve seen in a long time, the Provisia Rice System has provided effective, economical control,” she said.
“With any new technology, you have a learning curve with your first variety, but I am impressed that we started out as well as we did with PVL01,” she said. “I think that we’re going to see a lot more of it next year, and we are really excited about the second- and third-generation varieties coming along.”
PVL01 was in trials and seed production last year before being available for broader commercial production in 2018. Fruge estimated there are about 20,000 acres of the new variety planted in south Louisiana – “a good launch for a new technology that we are all still learning about.”
“It’s very different from Clearfield, and we’ve had a learning curve in terms of managing PVL01 and Provisia herbicide,” he said. “What we have learned in 2018 will help us in 2019, particularly since the technology was put on a lot of fields that farmers were not able to put into rice production any more. They were losing too much yield because of weedy rice. They planted Provisia rice and it did a great job of cleaning those fields up, not only weedy rice but grass as well. Provisia herbicide really works.”
Field day attendees also received an update on newer Clearfield varieties and experimental lines advancing through the Horizon Ag pipeline.
Fruge noted that in just two years, CL153 has become the top Clearfield variety planted in south Louisiana because of its performance potential and agronomic benefits. CL172, a semi-dwarf long grain variety that offers great standability, a strong disease package and outstanding yield potential and grain quality, also is gaining acreage.
“We’re excited about what these varieties offer and are looking forward to seeing how they perform on a larger scale this year,” said Fruge.
In addition, Horizon Ag has a Clearfield aromatic “Jasmine” variety – CLJ01 – currently in seed production with milling trials scheduled this year. The variety, developed at the LSU AgCenter, offers the ease and cost-effectiveness of Clearfield varieties, along with high quality and improved yields.
Adam Famoso, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said CLJ01 has out-yielded Jazzman 2 over the last three years in statewide testing. “If you are working with a Jasmine-type rice, I think this is something you will be interested in checking out,” he added.
Tim Walker, General Manager at Horizon Ag, said Provisia and CLJ01, along with the Clearfield experimental varieties, are part of Horizon Ag’s firm commitment to providing ongoing solutions to rice farmers.
“We understand the challenges they are facing,” he said. “We have a great Clearfield technology that is getting some age on it and are thankful to our breeding partners at LSU, Arkansas and Mississippi State who continue to make crosses, work on varietal development and push the limits. With respect to Clearfield varieties, we firmly believe that with the launch of Provisia, they will continue to be a tool in our toolbox for years to come.”
He added that continuing to improve rice varieties for the Southern growing region, with improved quality and technology that enhances production efficiency, is essential if the United States is to reverse the rice acreage decline experienced over the last 20 years.
“We are fortunate to be partnered with university breeding programs, BASF, and our retail partners, to be part of the solution for U.S. rice farmers in the South, to find our space in this rice world and thrive as we have for some 100-plus years down here in south Louisiana,” said Walker.