STUTTGART, Ark. — Spring, a new long-grain rice variety from the University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture, offers very early maturity, cold tolerance and resistance to common rice blast.

“Spring matures in about 110 days — depending on growing conditions — about 10 days earlier than other varieties,” said Karen Moldenhauer, rice breeder for the Arkansas Agricultural Experiment Station in Stuttgart, Ark. “Its cold tolerance allows producers to plant earlier to take advantage of spring rains to help save water.”

Moldenhauer said Spring has good seedling vigor, good milling yield and high yield potential when harvested in a timely manner. “If it sits in the field for long after maturity, sun checking can reduce milling yield.

“In 21 Arkansas performance tests it had consistently higher yields than Maybelle, which is the only other variety with similar maturity,” Moldenhauer said.

Spring yielded an average of 158 bushels per acre in the Arkansas tests, comparing favorably with Jefferson, Ahrent and Cocodrie. In the Cooperative Uniform Regional Rice Nursery — tests conducted over three years in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas — Spring showed an average grain yield of 171 bushels per acre in Arkansas and higher yields in Texas and Louisiana.

Spring is similar in height to Ahrent, about 42 inches, and has a straw strength similar to LaGrue. The new variety is moderately resistant to most common blast races and moderately resistant to susceptible to other races of the fungal disease. It is also moderately resistant to leaf smut and brown spot.

Spring should be harvested on time and not overfertilized with nitrogen. “Lodging has been observed under those conditions,” Moldenhauer said.

Spring was available this year to qualified seed growers. Registered seed will be available to rice producers in 2006.