Kellogg’s Tests More Louisiana Rice for Cereal Products

Story by Bruce Shultz, LSU AgCenter

ABBEVILLE, La. – A major buyer of south Louisiana rice is testing a well-established medium-grain variety for use in cereal products, Vermilion Parish rice farmers learned at a meeting on Feb. 5.

Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder, said Kellogg’s reported to him that testing went well for the CL272 variety, released by the LSU AgCenter in 2015.

Linscombe said the testing of 1,000 pounds of rice was used in Kellogg’s puffing process. He said a Kellogg’s representative told him on Feb. 4 that the test was successful.

“She was extremely impressed with how it came through,” Linscombe said, adding that the next step will be a larger plant run of the variety after more of the rice is harvested this year.

He said rice millers reported that the Jupiter rice variety had more chalk, a quality issue, than usual last year. But that could have been the result of abnormally cloudy weather and the hot temperatures just before harvest.

Chalk is the opaque area in the rice grain and occurs because of malformed starch granules with air spaces between them. High levels of chalk will cause appearance issues and cook slightly differently.

Linscombe said a new Clearfield medium-grain, CL272, released by the LSU AgCenter last year, has better grain appearance and quality than its predecessor, CL271.

Linscombe said work continues on Provisia, a new herbicide-resistant rice. Also, work continues on hybrid rice that could result in a release in two years.

Andrew Granger, LSU AgCenter county agent in Vermilion Parish, reviewed the 2015 growing season. He said yields were down and may have been affected by unusually wet spring weather. In addition, many farmers were late planting their crop because they had to wait for AV-1011 bird repellent for rice seed.

This year, however, AV-1011 has been approved by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency before the planting season, according to Dustin Harrell, LSU AgCenter rice specialist. He said the EPA gave the product a two-year conditional approval, and a permanent label could be issued pending the results of additional testing.

Harrell said average yields statewide were down 6-10 percent last year.

He advised that fertilizer should be applied on dry ground, but if soil doesn’t dry, half of a nitrogen fertilizer amount should be applied before flooding, followed by the other half five to 10 days later.

Mike Salassi, LSU AgCenter agricultural economist, said rice prices won’t increase or decrease much in the near future because of the large supply of rice from previous years. “The forecast for the next three to four months is not a lot of change.”

Salassi said the sale of U.S. rice to China could happen this year. “There is more demand for higher quality rice,” he said.

Mike Stout, LSU AgCenter entomologist, said Dermacor seed treatment continues to be the best option against rice water weevils, and the chemical also is effective against stem borers. Pyrethroid insecticides are effective against weevils, he said, but they also kill crawfish.

Don Groth, LSU AgCenter plant pathologist, said he had an unusual number of complaints about kernel smut. He said a fungicide has to be applied at the boot stage to be effective against smut. He said fungicides should be applied two to four hours before a rain, but it doesn’t matter what time of day the application is made.

Eric Webster, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, said he is in the final year of a study of the best way of eliminating weedy rice in a field where hybrid rice has been planted for several years.

He said the Provisia technology is proving to be effective against dormant hybrid rice and rice that has developed herbicide resistance, in addition to red rice. “The Provisia technology will extend the Clearfield technology,” he said.

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