Cache River Valley Seed LLC recently sponsored its annual field day to showcase the firm's modern facilities near Cash, Ark., and to show growers the effort that goes into growing seed rice on the Burns Seed Farms.

MorSoy and NK soybean production fields have also been added to the tour in recent years.

Randy Woodard, manager and co-owner of Cache River Valley, told visitors the company has continued to grow not only its rice seed business, but also the soybean and wheat seed operation. “We look for varieties that can stand the southern heat and can take irrigation. Varieties are selected from small plot trials for yield and disease packages and then planted in state trials before they reach the grower,” he said.

Woodard asked those on the tour to look at the yield trials. “From late Group IIIs to late Group Vs, the MorSoy brand soybean has performed well everywhere. MorSoy brand soybean seed was in 6 state trials in 2003.

“And our Dixie brand wheat varieties have continued to be on the top of just about every state trial we have entered. If Dixie 900 is not on top, Dixie 9512 is” Woodard told those in attendance.

As Cache River Valley moves forward, several new soybean varieties are being released. A list of the Roundup Ready introductions is as follows:

  • MorSoy RT 4993N — A 4.9 maturity with very good field tolerance to phytophthora root rot, soybean cyst nematode (SCN) and frogeye leaf spot. It features tan pod color, excellent emergence, and does very well on heavy clay soils. It should replace MorSoy RT 4809.

  • MorSoy RT 5553N — This tall mid-Group V has excellent SCN resistance, combined with very good field tolerance to sudden death syndrome (SDS), phytophthora root rot, stem canker, frogeye leaf spot and moderate field tolerance to cercospora. It should replace RT 5440.

  • MorSoy RT 5773N — A mid- to late Group V soybean with excellent frogeye leaf spot tolerance and very good stem canker tolerance. It features medium to tall plant height, full canopy and good field tolerance to phytophthora root rot, SCN, SDS, frogeye leaf spot and cercospora.

  • MorSoy RT 5903 — A late Group V, this variety is excellent on heavy clay soils. It has medium to tall plant height, with field tolerance to phytophthora root rot, SCN, SDS, stem canker and frogeye leaf spot. It also has moderate field tolerance to aerial leaf blight. This variety should replace MorSoy RT 5900.

New Dixie wheat varieties are as follows:

  • Dixie 933 — A bearded variety with medium maturity that stands well and has good resistance to leaf rust, glume blotch, soil virus and powdery mildew. It performs best on lighter soils.

  • Dixie 9512 — This line is very early and high yielding. It is a tall variety that tillers very well. It is a winter tolerant line that is resistant to scab, rust and barley yellow dwarf. It has a proven record over many university yield trials. Dixie 9512 is an excellent choice for double-cropping.

During the rice production part of the field day Karen Moldenhauer, principal plant breeder at the Rice Branch Experiment Station near Stuttgart, talked about different varieties and the possible roles they could play in Arkansas rice fields in the future.

“Three varieties — Chemiere, Cocodrie and experimental RU0001124 — will be competing for the same acres in the future. But the variety RU0001188 may be the best out there and in time may take the place of LaGrue with its blast resistance,” Moldenhauer said.

The variety RU0001188 was developed by the University of Arkansas breeding program.

Several hybrid varieties also were showcased on the field tour by Rice Tec to provide information concerning high-yielding varieties that producers may want to try.

Two new lines that will soon be on the market include XP710, a very high-yielding, short-season, long-grain hybrid with standard milling and standability characteristics similar to Wells. It is moderately resistant to sheath blight and is resistant to blast.

New XP712 is a high-yielding, short-season, medium-grain rice with standard milling and standability similar to Bengal. It is moderately susceptible to sheath blight and is resistant to blast.

Clearfield Production System also offered visitors a look at the Newpath herbicide-resistant rice which provides characteristics that producers may need to help clear fields of unwanted weeds such as red rice. During the tour there was talk of the wet spring that may have led to more red rice problems than in past years.

Lance Schmidt, district manager for Horizon Ag provided testimonials on the production system for the 2003 growing season. He said that many producers are saying they will have CL 161 on their farms in 2004.

Early yields in Louisiana were said to be in the 155 bushel to 170 bushels range.

One producer from Egypt, Ark., made the comment he had planted several hundred acres of land that was infested with red rice and got almost total control of the problem this year using the Clearfield System.

Visitors to the field day were also told that The Burns Seed Farm has been growing seed rice for Cache River Valley Seed for 26 years and has been growing seed rice for more than 50 years. “All certified fields are rogued three times, and registered seed fields are rouged four times each year,” according to John Greer, farm manager for Burns Seed Farm.

He said the farm puts about $60,000 a year into roguing and other practices over and above growing a normal crop.

“We have 1,800 acres of seed rice production on the 3,700 acre farm. About 1,800 acres are in rice production and the other 1,900 acres are fallow. But we feel we have the highest quality seed rice in the South,” Greer said.

“When you buy the seed it may seem high. But it has to be to recover the costs necessary to grow high quality seed rice. because it requires special handling,” he added.

Several participants in the field day said growing conditions for rice have been ideal this year, with temperatures during the critical growth periods in the low to high 90s.

According to Chuck Wilson, rice specialist with the Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, 1.4 million acres of rice were planted in the state during 2003. Of that, forecasters predict 1.3 million acres will be harvested — and that would be a record — but Wilson questions the numbers a little because of the spring flooding and a late-planted crop in north Arkansas.