The skies were threatening all morning, but that didn’t stop rice industry members from turning out in good numbers for the annual LSU AgCenter Rice Research Station Field Day.
While growers, consultants and input suppliers hopefully received the information they were seeking, the exchange is also good for the scientists and station employees, according to Steve Linscombe, rice breeder and station director.
“We had an outstanding group of participants here today (June 25), probably one of the largest crowds we’ve had in recent years,” he said. “The field day is important for us because it give us an opportunity to showcase what we think is the world-class research that occurs here at the Rice Station.
Noting the station is celebrating its 105th anniversary this year, Dr. Linscombe said, “Throughout its existence the station has had some dedicated scientists who have really helped improve the industry here in Louisiana. Hopefully, 100 years from now our followers will be here talking about the improvements that have been made, and we will still have a strong, viable rice industry in the state.”
The Clearfield System, which is used in other crops and in other countries besides rice and the U.S., came from technology developed at the Rice Research Station. Non-GMO Clearfield varieties are resistant to the Newpath herbicide.
During the research presentations, Linscombe and Eric Webster, weed scientist with the LSU AgCenter, and Bob Scott, Extension weed scientist with the University of Arkansas, talked about Provisia, the next generation of herbicide-tolerant rice that is also being developed by BASF.
“We’re fortunate to be working with the new herbicide-resistant system; it will be called Provisia,” he noted. “It’s based on a mutation selection that gives these plants resistance to a different type of herbicide. We think that once the Provisia system is commercialized, it will actually prolong the life of the Clearfield System. We think it will be very beneficial to have two different herbicides for use in the industry.”
LSU AgCenter researchers are now working to develop varieties using the BASF mutant gene for release to rice producers at some time in the future.
For the second year, F. King Alexander, the president of Louisiana State University, attended the field, calling the facility “truly one of the best research stations in the world.”
Dr. Alexander noted Louisiana rice farmers produced record yields in 2013, yields that were achieved with the help of production practices developed by Rice Research Station Scientists. Rice yields were up nearly 500 pounds per acre over previous years.
“We believe that last year was the first time a sitting president of LSU attended the Rice Research Station Field Day,” said Dr. Bill Richardson, vice president for agriculture for LSU. “And we know for certain that no president has ever attended two years in a row until this year. So you’ve set a precedent, and we will expect to see you back here in 2015.”
To read more about the Rice Research Station and its work, visit http://www.lsuagcenter.com/en/our_offices/research_stations/Rice/.