Arkansas Rice: Variety Decisions for 2019

Young rice crop. ©Debra L Ferguson Stock Photography

As we wrap up harvest it’s already time to make planting decisions for 2019.  It’s turned out to be a great year for rice yields and overall quality.  While rice prices still leave something to be desired, soybean prices have many wondering just how much rice they should plant in 2019.  Hint: it could be a lot.

Each year seems more different than the last.  “Life’s hard, it’s harder if you’re stupid” is a valid point, but in farming these days it seems “farming’s hard, it’s harder if you’re unlucky.”  So, we have to do the best we can to minimize our risk every year.  Each year that seems harder to do.

In a constant effort to be more efficient and save costs, we put a lot of eggs in very few baskets.  We’re bound to break a few.

Here’s the quick rundown on planning for rice in 2019 (Table 1).  First, let’s all just agree that there are acres where you need to plant a hybrid, period.  In an ideal world, any ground that you have issues on, whether from a water, disease, or general management standpoint, will have a hybrid planted on it.

There are many factors to consider of course, but given commodity prices and new challenges every season, we need to strive for consistency and minimize variability to be successful.

The top choice for overall yield potential continues to be RT XP753.  The recent releases of RT Gemini 214 CL and RT 7311 CL are providing some serious competition now on the Clearfield hybrid side.  I prefer RT Gemini 214 CL due to its more consistent performance and improved milling over RT 7311 CL.

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A few new hybrids will be out there on small acres in 2019, including the FullPage RT 7321 FP.  We had the opportunity to test RT 7321 FP in 2018 and it was very yield competitive with other hybrids, but milling yields are average.

We were able to test a few other hybrids that may not be available this year, and some are available this year that we haven’t tested.  If we tested it, you can find it in Table 3.

If you haven’t kept up, FullPage is RiceTec’s new herbicide tolerance package that is similar to Clearfield.  You will be able to spray Preface and Post Script herbicides over the top.  For an additional agronomic advantage, this herbicide tolerance is complete and should alleviate some of the issues in the past of Newpath injury to Clearfield hybrid.

On the variety side, Diamond still shined.  It certainly wasn’t the greatest variety year overall, but Diamond typically came out on top for the varieties.  LaKast and Roy J both did well, but consistently came in behind Diamond.  Comparing the two, LaKast performed best on loam soils while Roy J performed best on clay soils.

The Clearfield varieties seem to struggle mightily with untimely management – primarily beyond our control in 2018 in the form of delayed N incorporation and permanent flood establishment.  CL153 seems to be more stable in some ways, but CL151 continues to hit high numbers as well.  Overall a relatively disappointing year for both.

For CL172, I no longer recommend unless you will receive a premium or a contract for growing it – the yields are not keeping pace with CL153 or CL151.

Jupiter and Titan ruled the roost together this past year with Jupiter falling below 50% of medium grain acres for the first time since 2007.  Yield variability occurred with the medium grain varieties similar to the long grain varieties.  The general take home is that Jupiter and Titan performed on par with each other with Titan maturing 7+ days earlier. 

This is a “pick’em” decision for me, meaning you can’t go wrong but each does have different slight advantages.  Remember that the early maturity of Titan requires more timely harvest to protect milling yield while Jupiter takes longer to dry down to the point of affecting milling.

On the Provisia side, PVL01 had mixed results in its first year of availability.  The big positive was that the herbicide technology worked very well in cleaning up grasses and weedy rice.  The yield was inconsistent as expected, however there were reports as high as 180 bu/acre.

It’s not a bin buster, but it will continue to have a fit in fields that need weed control help.  We hope to test additional potential Provisia releases next year.

Based on multiple years of advanced yield testing, below are the preliminary recommended rice cultivars for planting in 2019.  Recommendations are preliminary, as 2018 trial results are not yet finalized.

Field observations are also utilized where appropriate.  Just because a cultivar is not listed does not mean it cannot be grown successfully, but testing indicates the cultivars listed to be the best and most consistent performers in grain yield and milling yield across a wide range of environmental and management conditions.

This list is subject to change as we finish compiling data from 2018.  For additional results from previous years to make early seed selection decisions, refer to Arkansas Rice Cultivar Testing 2015-2017.

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