An acreage increase for the medium-grain rice variety Jupiter is likely this year now that it has obtained acceptance by the cereal company Kellogg's.

Those comments about the rice variety developed by the LSU AgCenter came during the North Louisiana Rice Forum in Delhi, La.

“Since Kellogg's is accepting Jupiter, I think you're going to see quite a bit more acreage of it,” said Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder and director of the LSU AgCenter's southwestern Louisiana region, which includes its Rice Research Station.

Linscombe said Jupiter, which made its debut a couple of years ago, has a yield advantage over Bengal, another LSU AgCenter variety released in the 1990s. Its disease resistance also is better, he said.

“I think Jupiter would do extremely well in north Louisiana,” the LSU AgCenter expert said. “But before I planted Jupiter, I would make sure I have a home for it.”

Last year, Louisiana farmers planted 12,000 acres of medium-grain rice — with 6,777 acres of Jupiter and 5,023 of Bengal.

Linscombe said the effort to remove the LibertyLink trait from the seed supply has eliminated the long-grain Cheniere variety from varieties to be considered this year by Louisiana producers. The LibertyLink trait also has been found in some Clearfield 131. Before planting CL 131, make sure that your rice purchaser will accept it, he said.

Cheniere, Clearfield 131 and Cocodrie were the top three varieties planted in Louisiana in 2006.

Linscombe said farmers may plant more acreage this year with the long-grain variety Cypress, developed 15 years ago by the LSU AgCenter.

Farmers also were advised by LSU AgCenter agronomist Dustin Harrell to be mindful of maintaining soil fertility by restoring nutrients. That will be more expensive this year, because the cost of fertilizers has increased considerably, he said.

Harrell said the price of triple superphosphate is costing a third more than it was last year, and the price of diammonium phosphate is up by 55 percent.

In another report, LSU AgCenter economist Gene Johnson said some changes in the amount of rice acreage could occur in the southern Louisiana and northern Louisiana growing areas. “I think we'll pick up some acres in southwest Louisiana,” he said.

On the other hand, he said, some north Louisiana farmers probably will shift rice acreage to corn and soybeans to take advantage of higher prices in those commodities.

Johnson said Louisiana farmers planted only 350,000 acres of rice statewide last year, compared to 530,000 acres in 2005. A large portion of the decline was in south Louisiana, especially Vermilion Parish, where storm surge from Hurricane Rita flooded rice fields and left high salt levels in the soil.

The LSU AgCenter economist also said slightly higher rice prices are expected this year.

Bill Williams, LSU AgCenter weed scientist, cautioned farmers that herbicides often fail because weeds were incorrectly identified or because applications were made late — after weeds had grown too large to be killed by chemicals.