New Hybrids

Lines At The XP Level Will Offer New Technology For Rice Growers

   Developing new hybrids with added traits is the main concern of Dr. Jose Re, Research and Technology Lead for RiceTec. He heads the team focused on new technology development at company headquarters in Alvin, Texas.

Developing new hybrids with added traits to bring options for rice growers, is a main concern of Dr. Jose Re, Research and Technology Lead for RiceTec.                                            
Photo by John LaRose, Jr.

   “We have been working in hybrid rice for the last 20 years trying to bring options for the rice grower in the United States,” Re said. “Options, not only from the point of view of grain yields, but grain quality, disease performance, and we are very excited to see a new generation of hybrids coming now that are showing the same level of yield performance that we have in our products like the XL745 and XL753. However, these new hybrids are showing an even greater level of grain quality, especially when we talk about chalk under stress situations.”
   These products have the ability to better sustain the stress of high nighttime temperatures. Together with Dr. Terry Siebenmorgen, Re has been at the forefront of this research and helped in laying the base of the knowledge known today. They studied how rice reacts to high nighttime temperatures during the grain-filling period, a situation they faced in the last several summers. That affected the performance of the hybrids and varieties regarding chalk.
   “So with this breeding we have been focusing on selecting and developing products that can perform better under those situations,” Re explained. “That is what these new products are showing.
   “We are in the early stage of testing at the XP (experimental) level, so we expect the new products to be coming along in the next two-three years. We are happy that we will be able to improve the grain quality while keeping the level of yield, the level of performance through different environments, and also the level of protection from disease,” he said.
   RiceTec hybrids are very well recognized because of their tolerance to sheath blight and panicle blight, the resistance to blast, a trait he said is very important.
   “Last year rice growers in the gulf coast of Louisiana and Texas suffered a blast epidemic, and you could see there the difference between the level of protection, the benefit that was delivered by the hybrid compared to the variety that farmers were growing at that time there,” he reported. “So we think about all of our options and we want to be there at the time that you as a grower need to make your choice about what to grow, which type of cultivar, variety or hybrid, will work best for you.
   “We are all working to develop rice with the technologies that the crop needs to compete with other crops, because in 10 years the level of technology in crops like soybeans and corn will have progressed very much from what we have today,” Re added. “If we don’t work to provide that level of technology in rice, farmers will switch to growing other crops and rice probably will decline as a crop in the United States.”∆
BETTY VALLE GEGG-NAEGER: Senior Staff Writer, MidAmerica Farmer Grower

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