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Considerations for making 2013 rice seed selections
Author: Jarrod Hardke, Rice Extension Agronomist

In the next week, it will be time for growers to begin booking seed for 2013.  Given the high amount of variability in the 2012 rice growing season, some producers are very interested in getting some additional information prior to making their seed purchases.


While we do not yet have the results of this year’s Arkansas Rice Performance Trials (ARPT), the top varieties during these trials in 2011 were Caffey (189 bu/A), Francis (195), Jupiter (196), RoyJ (196), Taggart (215), and Templeton (194).  The top hybrids were RiceTec XL723 (190 bu/A) and RiceTec XP753 (254).  Averaged across the past three years, the highest yielding cultivars have been RiceTec XL723 (201 bu/A), RiceTec CL XL729 (195), Taggart (191), RiceTec CL XL745 (190), and RoyJ (186).

There is also some useful information to be had from our 2012 Rice Verification fields (not all verification fields have been harvested to date):


Variety County Field Size (A) Soil Type Yield (bu/A)
RiceTec XL 753 Jefferson




RoyJ Lee


Silt Loam


RiceTec XL 753 Lincoln




RoyJ Craighead




Jupiter Independence


Silt Loam


Taggart Jackson


Sandy Loam


RiceTec XL 745 Prairie


Silt Loam


RiceTec XL 723 Randolph


Sandy Loam


CL 151 Arkansas


Silt Loam


CL 151 Chicot




Milling quality

We’re still in the process of milling samples for all 2012 experiments, but I would like to look back to 2010 as an example of when we had high heat and low milling yields.  Milling yields in the 2010 ARPTs ranged from 51-64 to 59-66 with an average of 54-65.  In comparison, the 2009 and 2011 averages were 63-71 and 62-71, respectively.  Every variety and hybrid tested in 2010 showed a significant drop in either head rice yield or total milling yield compared to their performance in 2009 and 2011.  Reductions in milling quality can be caused by many factors, including high nighttime temperatures and re-wetting and drying once the crop nears maturity.  Not what everyone wants to hear, but sometimes it’s nobody’s fault but Mother Nature’s.


With reports of increased prices for both conventional hybrid and Clearfield hybrid seed for 2013 planting, it’s increasingly important to look at the economics of your cultivar selection prior to purchasing seed.  Basing some general estimates off of budget levels for 2012, a conventional (non-Clearfield) hybrid would need to yield ~5 bu/A greater than a conventional variety to provide the same economic return.  In comparison, a Clearfield hybrid would need to out-yield a conventional variety by ~13 bu/A to provide a comparable economic return.  Based on conservative estimates we’ve been hearing, prices may go up as much as $10/acre for hybrids and Clearfield hybrids.  This increase would mean the hybrids would need to outperform conventional varieties by an even greater margin to achieve a similar economic return.  Hybrids have generally been meeting that performance need, but this year’s Verification field results suggests that is not always the case.


This information is a preliminary attempt to show that we have the ability to successfully (and profitably) produce a number of varieties and hybrids.  The most important focus for rice growers should be in getting the best cultivar (variety or hybrid) on the most appropriate ground.  Some cultivars are better on certain soil types and conditions compared to others.  While suggestions can be made based on our general observations, it is essential that growers test new cultivars on their farms under their particular growing conditions.  Get enough seed of an alternative to try on 5-10 acres just to see if it performs well enough to try on a larger acreage next season.  Our goal is to provide rice producers with as much of the best information possible for generating a high-yielding, high-quality, and highly profitable rice crop.  However, we cannot account for every detail and nuance of every field on every farm.  It’s important to take this information and use it as a guide to give you the best chance of success.

We’ll be providing preliminary results for milling yield and grain yield from the 2012 ARPTs as soon as we are able.


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