By Scott McClure
With planting time in South Louisiana rapidly approaching, rice farmers are finalizing seed decisions based on factors like yield potential, consistency, milling quality, disease resistance, the need to spread maturity groups, and how to achieve clean fields while stewarding the latest weed control technology.
With its strongest variety lineup yet, plus programs and services designed to help rice farmers be more profitable, Horizon Ag is committed to providing the seed, tools, and support needed to set farms up for a strong performance in 2024.
Five reasons to plant Horizon Ag varieties in Louisiana this year include:
New CLL19 is garnering a lot of attention heading into its first year of commercial production, based on its attributes like high yield potential, stalk strength, blast resistance, and milling quality. The long-grain Clearfield variety was developed at the LSU AgCenter H. Rouse Caffey Rice Research Station near Crowley and has consistently performed well in multi-location testing across the region since 2018.
“CLL19 has shown extremely high and very stable yields in trials we’ve done throughout Louisiana and in Arkansas, too,” said Dr. Adam Famoso, an LSU AgCenter rice breeder. “It’s higher yielding and more stable than what we’ve seen in our previous Clearfield varieties. It yields right up there with CLL16 and CLL18.”
Dr. Famoso says the variety has shown promising ratoon crop capacity, improved milling quality, and is early maturing, similar to CL111, which decreases time in the field and potential damage from weather events. Its blast resistance also will be valued by Louisiana farmers.
CLL19 yielded 60 barrels per acre in multiple seed production fields across Louisiana, Texas and Missouri, which, says Famoso, is an extremely high number on hundreds of acres.
“That’s pretty exceptional, and I think it highlights the yield potential,” he says. “There’s a lot of excitement, and we think it’s going to be a pretty impactful variety.”
Even though CLL19 is a semi-dwarf, it performed at similar yield levels to standard-height varieties in Arkansas, meaning it has potential in the North Delta too. Its early maturity also may make it a fit for short-season areas like the Missouri bootheel.
Zack Tanner, a farmer near Bernie, Missouri who produces seed for Horizon Ag, said that CLL19 was planted side-by-side with CLL18, an extremely high-yielding variety, and looked strong all season long.
“My impression of CLL19 is positive,” says Tanner. “We planted a 45 pounds-per-acre seeding rate and had very good emergence and good early season vigor. We didn't have any issues with sheath blight and saw zero blast in CLL19. It is a shorter variety, which we like. The heads are up, prominent and it was easy to harvest.”
There is a lot of momentum for PVL03 and the Provisia Rice System coming out of the 2023 season.
Despite PVL03 acreage increasing to almost 30% of the state’s rice plantings, the weedy rice outcrossing issues identified the previous season were significantly reduced, as many farmers adopted best management practices recommended by the Provisia Working Group.
Key management practices for 2023 that had an impact included starting with a clean seed bed, spraying when weeds were small and actively growing, and using recommended residual herbicides.
“The sentiment across much of the state was that rice fields throughout the region were significantly cleaner, overall, than had been seen in many years, with farmers effectively managing the threat of weedy rice and resistant red rice,” said Horizon Ag general manager Dr. Tim Walker. “In addition, average yields for PVL03 were consistently good and milling quality was superior to most other rice varieties and hybrids throughout harvest.”
One critical topic at last month’s USA Rice Outlook Conference in Indian Wells, California, was the generally lower milling quality reported in many areas of the South. A contributing factor was that a near-perfect planting season and early-season cold spell led to much of the crop reaching maturity at about the same time. Farmers were hard-pressed to harvest the large crop at optimum moisture levels, which adversely impacted milling quality.
One solution is to plant elite-performing varieties with a broad geographic fit that have a range of maturities. For example, start planting with new CLL19, a very early maturing semi-dwarf variety that has outstanding yield potential.
Next, plant CLL18, our highest-yielding pure line variety today and that matures a few days later than CLL19. Finally, finish up planting with CLL16, a longer-maturing rice that has consistently performed well throughout the region.
“I think this is the best portfolio Horizon Ag has ever had,” Dr. Tim Walker told the Outlook audience attending the products overview session. “All these varieties have a fit and they complement each other.”
Horizon Ag, BASF, and Rabo AgriFinance, part of the Rabobank Group, are partnering to offer 0%* financing for high-performing products for rice farmers for the coming season.
“Heading into a year where high interest rates are threatening to have a significant impact on farmer profitability and cash flow, we are excited to join with other industry leaders to offer 0% financing on high-yielding Clearfield® and Provisia® rice varieties,” says Dr. Tim Walker, Horizon Ag general manager. “These include our new varieties like CLL19 and PVL04, as well as proven leaders like CLL18, CLL16 and PVL03.”
Farmers can qualify for the program by purchasing one or more participating Horizon Ag and BASF products and meeting a minimum purchase/finance value of $5,000. Qualifying Horizon Ag varieties include Clearfield varieties CL119, CLL18, CLL16, CL111, CL153, CL151, CLJ01, CLM04 and CLHA02, along with Provisia varieties PVL03 and PVL04.
The program is available from Oct. 1, 2023, through September 30, 2024. The maturity date is Jan. 31, 2025.
Horizon Ag has created a mobile app that rice farmers will find a valuable resource when it comes to planning, variety selection, and planting.
The Horizon Ag Productivity App provides easy access to seeding rate information, a profitability calculator, a drill calibration tool, and other decision-making features for 2024 Horizon Ag Clearfield® and Provisia® varieties.
It also makes it easy to connect with retailers in your area who sell top-performing Horizon Ag varieties like CLL18, CLL19, PVL03, and PVL04.
The app is available by searching “Horizon Ag” in the App Store or Google Play.
More information about Horizon Ag varieties and services available this season can be found by contacting your Horizon Ag District Field Representative.