Rice Farmers Optimistic About Yields As Harvest Nears

 Photo Credit: AgWatch Network


   Nearly perfect weather conditions greeted the over 100 attendees at Horizon Ag’s rice field day held at the Mark Wimpy Farm in Jonesboro, Arkansas on August 10.
   Tim Walker, General Manager of Horizon Ag, opened the field day by welcoming attendees and giving an overview of crop conditions in the rice belt. Walker said that in spite of a very challenging early season in the Delta, the rice crop had largely recovered, and farmers are much more optimistic about potential yields as they head into harvest.
   Walker said that Horizon was pleased to feature two new Clearfield varieties this year: CL 153 and CL 172, both of which were developed from growers’ requests of rice breeders to develop higher quality products. “We need to get back to U.S. rice being the ‘gold standard’ of quality, and CL 153, Cl 172, and the first Provisia variety PVL o1 are dramatic improvements in finished quality to varieties that have been released in the past.”
   Walker also spoke about the need to effectively steward the new Provisia rice system, and complimented rice farmers for keeping Clearfield technology viable after 17 years of use. “It’s a 6 or 7 year process from the time we first start talking about a new technology until it’s commercially available, and I can tell you that right now there is nothing even being talked about for red rice and weedy rice control. We currently have great tools in Clearfield, and a great new tool in Provisia, but it’s vital that we follow the stewardship recommendations.”
   Bob Cummings, Chief Operating Officer of USA Rice, gave attendees an update on USA Rice’s efforts to protect U.S. rice farmers while expanding opportunities for export of the crop. Cummings remarks included updates on U.S. exports to China, Iraq, Cuba, Colombia and Mexico.
   “Half the U.S. rice crop is exported, so we constantly need to look for new markets and preserve those that we have," said Cummings. “We are working very closely with U.S. exporters and USDA to make the first shipments of rice to China a reality now that the phytosanitary protocol has been signed. That means arranging and supporting a visit of Chinese inspectors to rice country in the Mid-South and California.  China is the world’s largest consumer and importer of rice and we hope to be shipping early in 2018 if things go smoothly.”
   Cummings also stressed the importance of preserving the North American Free Trade Agreement, or NAFTA, for the economic health of the U.S. rice industry.
   “Mexico is the number one market for U.S. rice, and this success is a direct result of NAFTA,” he said. “Our message to the Trump administration is ‘Do No Harm’ when negotiators from Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. meet in Washington next week to start talks to modernize the agreement.”
   Dr. Sunny Bottoms, Senior Technical Services Representative, led the field tour and spoke about Horizon Ag’s new offerings. “New to the Clearfield line this year we have CL 153 and CL 172, and the exciting thing about these varieties is that they both contain the pi-ta gene which increases blast resistance. They also produce a higher quality grain and have very good yield potentials.”
   Dr. Bottoms also spoke about the new Clearfield Provisia tolerant variety PVL 01. “We are releasing PVL 01 in limited supply for 2018. Growers will be able to use Provisia herbicide to help control resistant red rice and weedy rice as well as multiple herbicide resistant grasses.”
   Bottoms pointed out that growers need to plan ahead when including the Provisia system if they are currently growing other Clearfield varieties because of the residual effect Newpath herbicide may have on the Provisia tolerant variety. “If someone is already growing Clearfield varities, they need a 1-2 year rotation out of using Newpath herbicide to diminish the residual effects from the soil.”
   Bottoms says that the new Provisia tolerant variety also has very good milling characteristics. “PVL 01 has a very long grain that is also very clear, which is something a lot of foreign markets are very interested in. ∆
   TERRY SIMMONS: AgWatch Network

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