Arkansas Rice: New Varieties Featured at Horizon Ag Field Day

Horizon Ag variety CLL15 is one of two new Arkansas-bred high-performing Clearfield rice varieties that will be available for planting next season. Photo: Horizon Ag

Two new high-performing Arkansas-bred Clearfield varieties and the latest varietal addition to the Provisia Rice System were among the highlights at the recent Horizon Ag Arkansas Field Day at Coleman Farms near Jonesboro, Arkansas.

All three new Horizon Ag varieties are expected to be available for farmers to plant in 2020.

 Dr. Xueyan Sha, University of Arkansas professor and rice breeder, said CLL15, a new long-grain, semi-dwarf Clearfield rice variety, and CLM04, a medium-grain Clearfield rice, are the first Clearfield releases developed in his breeding program at the Rice Research and Extension Center in Stuttgart, Arkansas.

Both offer the potential for high yields and excellent weed control, based on three years of University of Arkansas rice cultivar testing and on-farm trials.

“CLL15 is slightly later in heading than CL153 but, to maturity, is very similar and maybe even a little earlier,” said Dr. Sha. “Plant height seems to be an inch or so shorter than CL153. Yield-wise, CLL15 has been in Arkansas rice performance trials for three years, and average yields are about 5 bushels to 10 bushels higher than CL153 and CL151. In addition, last year we had CLL15 in on-farm plot trials and, in 10 locations, the average yield was about 10 bushels higher compared to CL153 and CL151.”

Dr. Sha described the milling quality for CLL15 as “great” and said its very strong blast package was comparable to CL153, containing both the PitA and Pi-kh genes.

CLM04 will be the first Clearfield medium-grain rice released in Arkansas and offers potential performance advantages, he said. In Arkansas rice performance trials the last three years, CLM04 has had a 10- to 15-bushel advantage over CL272 and was comparable to Jupiter. CLM04 has a blast package very similar to the Titan rice variety.

“We know a medium-grain variety needs to be approved by Kellogg’s,” he added. “Working with Horizon Ag, we’ve sent Kellogg’s a large sample of CLM04 this year for a pilot-scale run and are waiting for their response. But, for three years, we’ve provided small samples for them to look at, and they have said they liked what they saw. Hopefully, we will get approval very soon.”

Both Clearfield varieties will be welcome additions for farmers who have been battling grassy fields in recent years, combining strong yield potential and high-quality milling with the proven, effective grass control of the Clearfield Production System for Rice.

Dr. Tim Walker, Horizon Ag general manager, noted that when the Clearfield technology was launched, it was expected to last for 7 to 10 years. Today, the technology is almost 20 years old and is still effective in most areas, especially when it is stewarded in a rotation with other crops and systems with other herbicide modes of action. The result is that new, even higher- yielding Clearfield varieties, like CLL15 and CLM04, are currently in development in university programs throughout the South.

Where rice farmers today are experiencing costly infestations of weedy rice, however, Horizon Ag varieties PVL01 and new PVL02 provide the effectiveness of the Provisia Rice System to manage these issues and reclaim productivity.

“In partnership with BASF, we are bringing a solution to weedy rice, hard-to-control barnyard grass and other troublesome grass that has developed over the course of time since the release of the Clearfield system,” he said. “Provisia herbicide is, no doubt, the best grass control system available today. We have an adequate variety in PVL01 that farmers in many areas are using to reclaim their fields and, for 2020, we will have a new, improved variety in PVL02 that will be available for farmers to plant.”

Although other Provisia varieties are in development that should rival the highest- performing Clearfield varieties today, Dr. Walker said there is no reason for farmers losing yields to weedy rice infestations to wait. While the two current Provisia varieties may not yield as well as the best Clearfield or conventional varieties in clean rice fields, they are proving to be valuable tools to farmers losing yields and profits to weedy rice.

“Just about everyone who has used the Provisia rice system, which was on about 50,000 acres this year, raves about the grass and weedy rice control,” he said. “If you are in a pristine field, you can wait until our Provisia varieties get up to the genetic yield potential of our other leading varieties. But if you are fighting hard-to-control grass and the weedy rice complex and getting yields of 130 to 140 bushels, why not go to Provisia rice varieties that will give you the opportunity for 150 to 160 bushels and start to clean up the problem you have? More and more farmers are doing just that.”

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