On recently-released varieties…

“We’ve released three varieties this year.”

  • Caffey

“This is a medium-grain we think will have a place. Right now, the predominant medium-grain is Jupiter and we also have considerable acreage in CL261 along with smaller acreage of Neptune. But Caffey should be a very good companion variety.

“Caffey has very high yield potential. It has consistently out-yielded Jupiter, which has good yield potential. Caffey has good grain quality, good milling quality, and a very large, bold grain. It’s the closest thing we’ve released to the CalRose type out of California. Medium-grain end-users typically prefer a bigger, bold grain and we think Caffey will fit that bill.

“Caffey has a pretty good disease package and fairly good second-crop, or ratoon, potential for us. That’s important down here in south Louisiana.

“This year, Caffey is only on limited acreage -- foundation seed was planted. But there’s enough planted that we’ll get a good handle on how it will perform agronomically.”

  • Jazzman II

“This is a follow-up to the Jazzman variety released a few years ago. Jazzman is an aromatic soft-cooking long-grain that has taken off and pleasantly exceeded my expectations. We’ll probably have between 10,00 and 12,000 acres of Jazzman. That, by far, will be the most acreage we’ve had in a specialty variety.

“Jazzman II is similar to Jazzman but it has much more aroma and a bit better grain quality. We think it will be another good specialty variety for us.”

  • CL152

“This is a new Clearfield long-grain release. It probably doesn’t quite have the yield potential of CL151 but it has much better lodging resistance and grain quality.

“In 2011, CL152 is being grown just as seed increase and, in small amounts, in demonstrations. That way people can have a look at it.”

On a sustainability project the Crowley station is working on…

“This is being done in conjunction with Kellogg’s. ‘Sustainability’ is a term that has become much more common to hear about in an agricultural context.

“Kellogg’s has become very interested in sustainability within their company, within their production processes, with their packaging, etc. They’re also interested in the raw materials and doing what they can to see those produced as sustainably as possible. We’ve worked very closely with them on this.

“We think we’re doing a very good job currently in producing rice in a sustainable manner. But there’s always room for improvement. This is an example of that.

“There is a pilot program to work with producers growing rice destined for Kellogg’s. In February, there was a meeting where those producers came for a day-long session looking at a number of sustainability aspects. They’re already doing well but we wanted our growers aware of some things that might be done a bit differently.

“There will be a follow-up field day at the station and on several commercial fields on June 21. Everyone is invited but it’ll focus on the producers growing rice for Kellogg’s.”

Note: the annual Rice Research Station field day will be held on June 30.

“The thing we continue to stress is: sustainability is great but profitability has to be the focus. Sustainable production must also be profitable or there won’t be any production, at all.”