The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture is using Clearfield rice in its breeding program to develop rice varieties for Arkansas that make fighting red rice easier, said Karen Moldenhauer, rice breeder for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station.

Clearfield was developed by Louisiana State University breeders for use with Newpath herbicide. Thanks to a naturally mutated gene, the rice is tolerant of Newpath, which controls a broad spectrum of tough weeds, including red rice. It is marketed by BASF as the Clearfield Production System. BASF and the University of Arkansas have signed an agreement to permit commercial distribution of Arkansas rice varieties bred with the Clearfield gene.

An earlier agreement allowed the University of Arkansas to begin breeding research. Moldenhauer said she has produced some experimental breeding lines by crossing Clearfield with Wells, a popular Arkansas variety with high yields.

“We want to develop a variety adapted to Arkansas, with high yields, that can be used with Newpath to control red rice,” she said. “It'll be an advantage to the producers to have the Clearfield gene in breeding lines with an Arkansas background.”

“This commercial agreement allows the University of Arkansas and BASF to bring the positive results to Arkansas growers,” said Matt Plitt, BASF market manager. “These future varieties will give growers another seed option to control tough weeds like red rice.

“The ability to have another major rice research university producing Clearfield rice is a major advancement for the technology,” Plitt said.