Dana Dickey, Manager
Issue #11, Spring 2003
Here is a quick review of the projects that your representatives on the Rice Research Board have selected for the 2003 season:
Rice Experiment Station: The RES has a very clear statement of its mission that does not tend to change from year to year, “The primary research objective of RES is development of high yielding and quality rice varieties of all grain types (short, medium, long) and market classes to enhance marketing potential, reduce cost, and increase profitability of rice.” This statement guides the overall mission of the facility.
What you may not realize is the tremendous range of research going on at RES. Some of the little known research areas include: cold tolerance, improving varieties such as short-grain Japanese types, M-401 and waxy rice, rice water weevil resistance, blast resistance, basmati, Jasmine, and aromatic type rice, bakanae research, screening for stem rot and AGSS resistance. This is just a sampling of the many areas of research carried on at the research station.
Soil fertility and nitrogen use on rice: This project was performed on the Steven Dennis’ ranch looking at the effects of straw management over a period of six years. The work pointed to a nitrogen reduction of 25 lbs/ac. Is this a workable, practical reduction? That is what they will be exploring this year using grower managed sites throughout the rice growing area. Adding lime to fields will also be examined for its effect on production.
Weed Control in Rice: One of the classic rice projects this year will look at clomazone and ways to maximize its safety to rice. This includes rates and new application timings; a range of safety issues such as water depth, temperature and time of seeding; chemical safeners; water depth effects on injury (that may be the most critical parameter for injury); and interactions between clomazone and chlorine used as a seed treatment.
Other herbicides being tested include - Sofit, Sempra, Yukon, Taipan, Rice Star, Shark, and Clincher. Combinations of these and current chemicals will be tested for synergistic or antagonistic effects.
Alternatives to weed control are being explored through agronomic opportunities, rice/weed competition and weed stress biology. With the loss of herbicides over time and their high cost, this area of research may prove valuable for alternate methods of weed control.
Protection of Rice from Invertebrate Pests: Research in this project will look at modified uses for registered products such as levee and pre-plant applications of Warrior. Other chemical active ingredients will be looked at such as Fury, Mustang and some numbered compounds. Dr. Godfrey will continue to evaluate the floating barrier trap for RWW.
Considerably more effort will be aimed at other pests this year. Armyworm, mosquitoes, “peck” rice and other exotic pests will be targeted for methods of control. In particular, Grower practices that may be disrupting the parasitic wasps that normally control armyworm will be examined.
The Environmental Fate of Pesticides: Last year this project found an interesting correlation - that the presence of copper in the soil may inhibit DPS formation. This needs to be pursued to examine the possibilities. This project will also focus on clomazone and its toxic effects on rice and weeds.
Effective Control of Tadpole Shrimp Damage: A unique project that will look at a unique material for the control of tadpole shrimp. The material inhibits the reproductive capacity of the shrimp so that over time the potential number of shrimp eggs in a field is reduced. Ground application of copper will also be looked at to lower the damage caused by tadpole shrimp and its potential application cost savings.
Geographic and Environmental Factors Affecting Rice Milling Quality and Yield: This project seeks to answer a question that grew out of looking at receiving records - why do some growers seem to be able to have high quality rice at low moisture? A database of the locations, environmental and production factors that might influence the relationship between harvest moisture and grain quality will be established so the factors can be looked at many different ways. This list will include moisture content, quality measurements, N management, Drain times, Potassium management, pesticide applications including Quadris, timing, and yield.
The Influence of Maceration on Rice Straw: The RRB has been pursuing this vein of research for several years and it looks like it will pay off. Dr. Zinn has found maceration makes a significant difference in the feeding value of rice straw compared with regular straw. The reason for the difference is in the greater surface area and points of entry for bacteria. Maceration increased the Net Energy values of straw for maintenance and gain. The project will be expanded to dairy cows during this year.
Defining the Forage Variability in Rice Straw: Glenn Nader's project has looked at how to produce and feed rice straw, as well as its variability. His work produced a publication that you can view at here. This year he will be examining an in-field macerator to see if it can improve the straw forage quality. Coupled with the results of the Zinn project, it is hoped that this could be a cheap way to process the straw in the field on a commercial basis. There are plans to produce a document on specific baling procedures for forage quality rice straw.
Improving the Consistency and Accuracy of Rice Sample Milling: Last year this project found significant differences in the rice sample milling results based on the temperature of the mill. An attempt was made to cool the cutting bar, but this year's project hopes to produce a highly efficient cooling method. Cooling, room and rice temperature, milling time and pressure will all be looked at to develop practical guidelines to have consistent milling temperature and improve the accuracy of milling results.
Application of Molecular Marker-Assisted Selection to Rice Improvement: The RRB welcomes the first project from USDA research Tom Tai. His cooperation with the staff of the RES has been great and they look forward to using his tools in the future. The three areas where Tom will be developing markers are – Disease Resistance for Stem rot, Aggregate Sheath Spot, and Blast; Cold Tolerance in both the seedling and boot stages; and Grain Quality. The markers developed will be used to identify those plants that have these specific characteristics desired by the breeders. This will eliminate many candidates early in the process and leave time to focus on the most resistant material.
Controlling “Bakanae Disease” in Rice Seed Using Ozone: Over the last few years the RRB has participated and supported finding an efficacious seed treatment for Bakanae. The result has been a chlorine treatment that is effective and in time for the season. The number of possibilities examined were limited to surface sterilizers or fungicides that had a history of working. This project seeks to examine another treatment possibility – ozone. Ozone is reported to be far more effective than chlorine, but the best method of treating rice seed is unknown. Lab scale trials will be used to determine effective levels of ozone needed on soaked rice seed. Preliminary tests have shown that dry seed treatments are ineffective. Questions about exposure time and concentration under several mixing arrangements will be examined for the best treatment method. Replicated field trails will also be included to verify that the treatments work.
At a recent meeting explaining the use of chlorine as a rice seed treatment to control bakanae, there seemed to be many questions about its effectiveness compared to other methods. Jeff Oster at RES was kind enough to make up a table that summarizes a mountain of work performed over the last two years. This table shows you the significant methods and products tested, and how they rate in bakanae control, stand injury and growth reduction. You can see from this table why the 5% Clorox solution was selected.
Remember that the present 5% recommendation was made because it works.
Treatments are presently being tried at a variety of concentration levels to see
if there is a more economical level of treatment. As with any branch of real
science, you must both test and verify that something works before telling the
world about it.
It is important for you, the grower, to know where your assessment dollars are going. You are all aware of the toll exacted by higher input costs and low prices. Every grower has found it necessary to be very prudent in his purchasing decisions. In the same way, I am confident that you want the RRB to be as prudent in how your funds for research are expended. For this reason, from time to time I include a graph that shows where your money is going as a part of the Board's accountability to you the grower.
In the chart, you see that for 2003, 89.3% of the RRB budget will be spent on research. This includes support for the Rice Experiment Station, UC Davis, and USDA. Other minor items are funds set aside for a replacement plot harvester (the current one is 20 years old), straw for research purposes, membership in the national rice foundation and the CAAA aircraft certification program.
Moving round the circle you see the Burning Monitor program. This activity consumes 2.5% of the budget to provide weather forecasting for the fall straw burning. Without this program, officials allocating acres would be “flying blind” and likely allow fewer acres to be burned while having more incidents of smoke in the cities.
Because we are a State sanctioned program, we pay for the services of CDFA to oversee our activities. About 0.9% of the 2003 budget is taken up by this.
Finally, 7.3% of the budget is used to run everything else. From newsletters, phone bills, office rent, insurance, annual reports, management, equipment, postage and travel - it's all covered in this amount. This is what is used to run your organization.