The varieties are the result of rice breeding work funded in part by the Louisiana Rice Research Board through checkoff funds originating from a 5-cent charge paid into a research fund on every 100 pounds of rice sold by farmers.
The board met to decide how to spend those funds for the coming year, agreeing to allocate more than $1.4 million for 20 projects, including economic research, agronomy, disease and insect treatments, and variety development.
The new varieties announced by Steve Linscombe, LSU AgCenter rice breeder and director of the Rice Research Station, include a new medium-grain variety, a long-grain Clearfield variety and an aromatic Jasmine-type variety. Seed from the three releases will provide limited seed production in 2011.
The medium-grain variety has been named Caffey, to recognize the work of Rouse Caffey, retired LSU AgCenter chancellor who had been a director of the Rice Research Station.
Linscombe said this medium-grain variety has consistently out-yielded Neptune and Jupiter varieties in testing for the past three years.
Its grain is bolder and similar to Calrose, a quality preferred by many end users.
Caffey was director of the Rice Research Station from 1962 until 1970. Previously, he had started a rice research facility in Mississippi. He began his rice work as a student in 1955, so a variety named for him is deeply rewarding.
“I feel honored, and it’s very satisfying,” Caffey said. “I’ve had a long association with rice, and I still maintain my interest in the rice industry.”
Linscombe said Caffey’s work in rice research paved the way for the LSU AgCenter to have one of the top research facilities of its kind. “Dr. Caffey had the foresight to advance the research at the station, and naming a variety for him is a way of thanking him for those efforts.”
The new Clearfield variety has been designated CL152. Its grain quality is superior to CL151, and it has more resistance to lodging – or falling over – and to straighthead and blast diseases, according to Linscombe, who developed this variety.
The new aromatic variety has been named Jazzman II. It has increased aroma compared with its predecessor Jazzman, which was released last year to compete with imports of Jasmine rice from Thailand, according to Xueyan Sha, the LSU AgCenter rice breeder responsible for both versions of Jazzman.