A much-needed rain did not stop Louisiana farmers and rice industry personnel from attending RiceTec’s field day at Mowata, La.

RiceTec technical service rep Cullen Minter of Welsh, La., led the local field day to introduce new product options that RiceTec is making available to growers.

“We are thrilled with the results of our newest hybrids,” Minter said. “For the past several years, RiceTec’s focus has been to develop hybrids that meet the needs and desires of rice farmers, with the main goals being yield, grain quality and standability.”

Other characteristics, such as grain retention and maturity ranges, have also been high priorities. These options will add value for the grower, Minter said.

“Starting today, RiceTec’s hybrids not only produce yields and grain quality that meet or exceed industry standards, but also feature grain retention as good as or better than Clearfield XL745,” Minter said.

RiceTec’s hybrids will exhibit a larger range in days to maturity, which will help the farmer maintain planting efficiency and also spread harvest over two to three weeks rather than a few days.

RiceTec understands the importance of the ratoon crop in the coastal area and is continuing to work toward hybrid options and management practices that will increase the value of a second crop to customers.

“Clearfield XP751 has a shorter stature and is the first hybrid released by RiceTec that exhibits semidwarf characteristics,” said Minter. “In addition to being about five days earlier in maturity than other hybrids, it has also been the highest yielding in south Louisiana trials.”

With its earliness and shortness, Clearfield XP751 has proven to be a great fit for coastal rice growers. Initial testing shows second-crop yields are increased compared with previous hybrids. The anticipated release date for Clearfield XP751 is 2012.

Another new hybrid, Clearfield XP756, is anticipated to be available date for the 2011 planting. About seven days later in maturity than Clearfield XL745, this hybrid shows a 3 to 5 percent yield advantage over Clearfield XL745. The combination of these two products equals about a 12- to 14-day harvest interval.

“We are also bringing some new conventional hybrids to the market,” Minter said. “XP753 is showing about a 10 percent yield advantage over the well-known XL723 and will give growers another option for rotation, in addition to being a great fit in acres where there is little or no red rice pressure.”

XP752 is the first hybrid that will address the itching concern many farmers have expressed. The nonpubescent hybrid has RiceTec’s hallmark disease package as well as good grain quality and higher yield than XL723.

Questions were raised regarding the grain retention of previous RiceTec hybrids, and the company is working diligently to address these concerns.

“First and foremost, RiceTec is making grain retention a high priority with any new hybrids we bring to the market,” Minter said. “Second, trials will help us develop management recommendations for fields where grain retention has been an issue.”

RiceTec will develop data and guidelines for the industry in the near future. Although grain retention can be an issue with certain hybrids, company representatives will continue to help customers harvest on time and help guide them toward rotation practices that will manage the Clearfield system to maintain its longevity in the market.

Data show that RiceTec hybrids do not have a higher rate of dormancy than conventional varieties, as some have claimed. RiceTec is working with growers and industry leaders to collect data and help manage all facets of the rice crop to make the most of rice growers’ bottom line.

Headquartered in Alvin, Texas, RiceTec Inc. has been developing hybrid rice seed since 1988, offering the first commercial hybrid rice seed product in 1999. RiceTec was founded on the premise that modern, technology-based breeding techniques — combined with a broad, diverse germplasm collection — allow for efficient development and economical production of superior hybrid seed products, as well as specialty rice for consumer markets.

RiceTec also has research centers in Harrisburg, Ark., and at off-season locations in Puerto Rico, which allows the company to grow and test rice year-round.