“We anticipate Clearfield rice acreage to increase significantly in 2004,” said Randy Ouzts, general manager of Horizon Ag, LLC. “Initial harvest indications are very promising, and yields with our new variety CL161 are exceeding expectations in many areas.”

Ouzts said the increased market demand is driven by consistent field performance for the past three years.

“More rice growers are seeing the value of the Clearfield Production System in controlling red rice,” he said. “Mississippi, for example, saw some pretty bad red rice outbreaks where Clearfield was not used this season.”

New for 2003, CL161 offers improved varietal characteristics and higher imidazolinone (imi)-herbicide tolerance than prior releases. An early, short-stature long grain variety, it provides good yield potential and higher Newpath herbicide tolerance than CL121 and CL141, varieties released in earlier years.

“The use of Newpath in conjunction with these imidazolinone-tolerant rice varieties allows growers to achieve maximum yield potential in red rice and other weedy situations,” says Ouzts.

“CL161 is unique due to its tolerance to two post applications of Newpath herbicide,” he said. “The expanded tolerance has allowed growers more flexibility to fit Newpath into their production practices.

“Harvest has begun in many areas and yields of CL161 appear to be close to other varieties such as Cocodrie and Jefferson. In many instances, this is on acreage that previously had heavy red rice infestations and associated yield losses and quality issues.”

Louisiana growers have cut as much as 45 barrels of CL161 on land where they have historically cut 32 to 35 of other varieties. “Growers are seeing the technology pay for itself several times over where heavy red rice is a factor,” he noted.

Clearfield rice is sold under a stewardship agreement. Growers who wish to plant Clearfield rice must attend a stewardship training session. Growers can contact their local BASF representative or Orygen Seed retailer for a convenient date and location of a 2004 pre-season meeting.

Horizon Ag developed its Orygen Seed Marketing System to coordinate the production and distribution of advanced seed lines for technology providers and public university breeding systems through quality rice seed producers, processors and seed retailers.

For more information about Horizon Ag and its Orygen Seed Marketing System, go to www.orygen.net.

e-mail: flaws@primediabusiness.com