Information from 1999 Missouri Rice Research Update, February 2000.

Rice Varieties for Missouri

David Guethle, Extension Agronomist/Rice

Variety Selection Criteria

Select a long grain type rice in nearly all cases. Grow medium grain rice only if certain that a higher yield will compensate for the lower price of medium grain rice. Contract a market for medium grain or specialty type rice in advance of planting time.

Highest yields come consistently from newer varieties. Older varieties, though dependable and comfortable for the grower, are eventually eclipsed in yield by the breeders' newest selections. In the last three years the four public varieties yielding highest consistently have been Wells, Cocodrie, LaGrue and Bengal. The highest yielding variety by far has been the new commercial hybrid XL-6. The milling yield of XL-6, however, has been very low. Growers trying XL-6 must determine whether the higher yield and lower production costs (low nitrogen rate) will compensate for the lower milling value. See below.

Milling quality is next in importance to yield, since it determines the price received. Select varieties with consistently high milling yield.

Disease resistance and tolerance are most critical on fields with a history of disorder or disease. If a field has a past history of straighthead, plant only straighthead-resistant varieties on that field. Jefferson, Priscilla and Wells are the varieties most resistant to straighthead. Avoid the most susceptible varieties - Bengal, Cocodrie, Jodon and Kaybonnet.

If sheath blight is a consistent problem, select varieties that are taller, less leafy and require lower nitrogen rates. Avoid Lemont, Cocodrie, Cypress and Maybelle or else reduce the nitrogen application rate and scout carefully at mid-season. Treat promptly with Quadris when the treatment threshold is reached.

If blast has been a problem, select newer varieties with high resistance blast, such as Drew and Kaybonnet. Do not plant Wells, Alan, Jefferson, Priscilla, Jodon, or Maybelle. Raise the flood depth to avoid losing the flood and reduce nitrogen application rates.

If lodging has been a problem, select a variety with greater straw strength and standability. This is not directly related to plant height. Some taller varieties have excellent lodging resistance. Reduce nitrogen application rates and do not flood deep.

Good seedling vigor is most important when planting early, seeding into a less than ideal seedbed and when broadcast seeding. Seed treatment with gibberellic acid (Release and others) and with a fungicide help to compensate for poorer seedling vigor but may not be enough.

Early maturity is important to mature a high quality crop of rice in Missouri's shorter growing season. Maybelle and Jefferson are the varieties that mature most rapidly. However, early maturity means that all of the growing stages progress more rapidly. Timely management at all stages of growth (weed control, nitrogen application, flooding, drainage and harvest) is extremely critical.

All varieties will generally produce highest yields and best quality when planted during the optimum period from mid-April through the third week of May. The very early maturing varieties such as Jefferson, Maybelle and Alan however run the risk of being in flower during the hottest period of the summer. Pollination may be severely interrupted, causing serious "blanking" of the heads of the very early flowering varieties.

When planting very late (in early June) the most important quality for a variety appears to be a grain that dries slowly in the field. Grain that dries slowly in the field is less likely to over-dry and pass through cycles of wetting and drying which cause the grain to fissure, crack and be chalky. Cypress and Cocodrie varieties appear to have this slow drying grain quality that preserves milling quality when maturing late in the season.

Check university variety trials from several locations for highest yields and milling quality that are consistent over several years.

Compare the experiences and recommendations from neighbors and other persons such as buyers and extension specialists.

Experiment yearly with a small acreage of a newer variety to test it on local soils and learn its unique growing demands.

Figure 1 shows the acreages of rice varieties planted in Missouri in 1998 and 1999. Most notable is (1) the predominance of Cypress, a variety planted in Missouri for over five years and (2) the rapid increase of Jefferson, a variety newly available to Missouri growers in 1999. The fact that Missouri rice acreage increased by 30 percent from 1998 to 1999 meant a higher demand for seed, of which Cypress was most available, and an opportunity to plant the newest available variety, Jefferson, on new ground.

Recommended Varieties for Missouri

Bengal High-yielding medium grain variety with grain size and milling quality much desired by millers, released by Louisiana State University in 1992. High yields of this medium grain variety may make up for lower medium grain prices. Be certain to compare prices, have a committed buyer and forward price much of the crop before planting. Bengal grows 29 inches tall, four inches taller than Jefferson and the same as Cypress) with very good straw strength and lodging resistance -- similar to Cypress. Bengal reaches 50% heading in 79 days in Missouri, one day later than Cypress. Bengal is very susceptible to straighthead, brown rot and stem rot and moderately susceptible to sheath blight, blast and kernel smut. Bengal has experienced problems with low soil potassium, "pecky" grain and extra rice water weevil larva damage. To lessen the chances of sheath blight and blast apply no more than the standard nitrogen recommendation of 135 lbs. actual N total - 75 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. Bengal is best planted mid-April through mid-May. Harvest Bengal between 22 and 16 percent grain moisture.

Cocodrie High-yielding, long grain variety released by Louisiana State University. First available for widespread planting in Missouri in 2000. Very short season maturity - 71 days to 50% heading in Missouri (7 days earlier than Cypress). At 27 inches tall it was shorter than all varieties except Jefferson in Missouri in 1999. Straw strength and lodging resistance are very good, comparable to Cypress, Bengal and Jefferson. Cocodrie is very susceptible to straighthead, sheath blight and kernel smut. The standard nitrogen recommendation is 150 lbs. actual N total - 90 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. The recommended planting period for highest yield and quality is mid-April through mid-May, however Cocodrie appears to be the best variety for late planting (May through the first two weeks of June). Like Cypress, Cocodrie grain dries slowly in the field, avoiding grain fissuring, cracking and chalkiness that reduce milling quality. Cocodrie has good seedling vigor. Plant 84 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 102 lbs. broadcast or 126 lbs. water-seeded.

Cypress High-yielding long grain variety noted for its high milling quality, released by Louisiana State University. Reaches 50% heading in 78 days, 9 days later than Jefferson and one day later than Drew. Cypress dries down slowly in the field, avoiding grain fissuring, cracking and chalkiness that reduce milling quality. Cypress grows 29 inches tall, four inches taller than Jefferson and six inches shorter than Kaybonnet. Cypress is very susceptible to sheath blight and kernel smut, susceptible to false smut, moderately susceptible to stem rot and straighthead and moderately resistant to blast. The standard nitrogen recommendation is 150 lbs. actual N total - 90 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. Do not over-fertilize with nitrogen in order to lessen the threat of sheath blight. Plant mid-April through the middle of May. Plant 91 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 109 lbs. broadcast or 137 lbs. water-seeded.

Drew High-yielding long grain variety released by the University of Arkansas. Grown by Missouri farmers the past three years. Medium season maturity - 77 days to 50% heading in Missouri, 1 day earlier than Cypress. Drew has grown 33 inches tall in Missouri, with moderately strong straw and fair to good lodging resistance greater than Kaybonnet but poorer than Cypress. Do not over-fertilize with nitrogen in order to lessen chances of lodging. The standard nitrogen recommendation is 135 lbs. actual N total - 75 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. Plant 83 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 100 lbs. broadcast or 125 lbs. water-seeded. Best planted mid-April through mid-May. Harvest Drew between 22 and 16 percent grain moisture.

Jefferson High-yielding long grain variety released by Texas A&M University, planted for the first time extensively in Missouri in 1999. The earliest maturing variety now available -- 69 days to 50% heading in Missouri, two days earlier than Cocodrie and nine days earlier than Cypress. Jefferson is a good selection for late planting. Jefferson has grown 25 inches tall in Missouri, with strong straw and good lodging resistance, similar to Cypress. Jefferson is susceptible to blast and kernel smut, moderately susceptible to sheath blight and stem rot, moderately resistant to straighthead and false smut and resistant to brown spot. The standard nitrogen recommendation is 135 lbs. actual N total - 75 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. Plant 83 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 100 lbs. broadcast or 125 lbs. water-seeded. Best planted in May through early June. If planted late, watch closely for blast.

LaGrue A long grain variety released by the University of Arkansas in 1993 with high yield but often low head rice yield. LaGrue grows 32 inches tall, the same as Wells, three inches taller than Cypress and seven inches taller than Jefferson. LaGrue reaches 50% heading in 72 days, the same as Wells, three days later than Jefferson and six days earlier than Cypress. LaGrue is very susceptible to kernel smut, susceptible to sheath blight, blast and false smut, moderately susceptible to straighthead and stem rot, and resistant to brown spot. Apply 135 lbs. total nitrogen, 75 lbs. preflood and 30 lbs. each at 1/2-inch internode and 7-10 days later. Sow 96 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 116 lbs. broadcast and 145 lbs. water-seeded.

Lemont A high-yielding, high quality long grain variety noted for its high milling quality, released by Texas A&M University about 15 years ago. Reaches 50% heading in 78 days in Missouri, the same as Cypress and nine days later than Jefferson. Lemont grows 29 inches tall, four inches taller than Jefferson and six inches shorter than Kaybonnet. The standard nitrogen recommendation is 180 lbs. actual N total - 120 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. Do not over-fertilize with nitrogen in order to lessen the threat of sheath blight. Plant mid-April through the middle of May. Plant 102 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 121 lbs. broadcast or 151 lbs. water-seeded.

Priscilla A high-yielding long grain variety released by Mississippi State University about 2 years ago. Reaches 50% heading in 75 days in Missouri, three days earlier than Cypress and six days later than Jefferson. Lemont grows 29 inches tall, four inches taller than Jefferson and six inches shorter than Kaybonnet. Priscilla is susceptible to blast, kernel smut and false smut, moderately susceptible to sheath blight and stem rot, moderately resistant to straighthead and resistant to brown spot. Priscilla is sensitive to Ordram. The standard nitrogen recommendation is 180 lbs. actual N total - 120 lbs. preflood followed by 30 lbs. at 1/2-inch internode and again 7-10 days later. Do not over-fertilize with nitrogen in order to lessen the threat of sheath blight. Plant mid-April through the middle of May. Plant 102 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 121 lbs. broadcast or 151 lbs. water-seeded.

Wells The most recent high-yielding long grain variety released by the University of Arkansas, with limited availability to Missouri growers in 2000. Wells has been the highest yielding public rice variety in many trials. It is 32 inches tall, three inches taller than Cypress and seven inches taller than Jefferson. Straw strength is good. In Missouri it reaches 50% heading in 72 days, the same as LaGrue, three days later than Jefferson and six days earlier than Cypress. Wells is susceptible to blast and false smut, moderately susceptible to straighthead, sheath blight and stem rot, moderately resistant to kernel smut and resistant to brown spot. Plant in May. Wells has the best seedling vigor of all varieties. Sow 96 lbs. seed per acre drilled, 117 lbs. broadcast and 145 lbs. water-seeded. Harvest Wells between 22 and 16 percent grain moisture.

Varieties for the Future

Herbicide-resistant rice varieties are being developed. These varieties offer exceptional promise for the control of many weeds, particularly red rice. There are concerns about potential out-crossing that might transfer herbicide resistance to red rice lines. The availability of resistance to three different herbicides with different modes of action is of great value.

Two of the new introductions are "genetically modified" (GMO) - Roundup Ready from Monsanto, and Liberty-Link from AgrEvo. These lines will be two or more years before release. They face potential challenges from persons and organizations resisting genetically modified crops.

Imidazolinone-resistant (IMI- or Pursuit-resistant, now called Clearfield) varieties from American Cyanamid are closer to commercial release. Imidazolinone resistance is selected from natural rice populations and do not face the challenges of public resistance to genetically modified lines.

Rice Varieties Planted in Missouri in 1998 and 1999
Figure 1. Rice Varieties Planted in Missouri in 1998 and 1999.

Source: Reports from Riceland Foods in Poplar Bluff and Dudley, MO, and Louis Dreyfus Corp. in New Madrid, MO, compiled by Bruce Beck, University Outreach and Extension, Poplar Bluff, MO.

Comments directed to:
David Guethle
GuethleD@missouri.edu

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