Rice Breeding-77



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Project Leader and Principal Investigators

Development of Improved Varieties

H.L. Carnahan, California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation, Biggs, CA

C.W. Johnson

S.T. Tseng


Genetic and Physiological Determinants of Yield and Quality

M.L. Peterson, UC Davis

J.N. Rutger, USDA

David Jones

J. Board

Tran Van Dat

B. Pinheiro

K. McKenzie

Carol Lindquist


Rice Drying and Storage

R. Paul Singh, UC Davis

G.E. Miller


What the rice research program is doing for you

In 1969 and in 1973 California rice growers voted overwhelmingly for the Rice Research Program. Forty-four farmers have served on the Board so far - without pay creating and conducting a remarkably productive research program. They have had the dedicated help of many University of California, USDA and Rice Station scientists and individual rice growers who have voluntarily provided land, labor and equipment for field experiments. Within two years the program increased annual rice income far in excess of its yearly $1.40 per acre cost. The following pages chronicle the program's progress in reaching our original research objectives. Except for varietal development, which was given top priority, these objectives are all considered equally important to our industry.


Provide California rice growers with better short-, medium-, and long-grain varieties which: a) are high yielding, b) resist blanking, c) are earlier-maturing, d) have good seedling vigor, e) are short-statured and lodging-resistant, with less straw to manage, f) have disease and insect resistance to reduce needs for chemical pesticides, and g) have the grain qualities preferred by consumers.

New short and tall rice varieties, given top priority in our research, are now available. Experimental data indicate that they outyield old varieties by 10 to 20 percent and produce 15 percent less straw. Any one of the five new varieties, being planted as fast as seed becomes available, can increase returns by $35 to $70 per acre.

Variety Year Grain type Hull type Mature
S6 1974 short smooth tall Smooth hull, 13% more yield than Colusa
M5 1975 med. smooth tall Smooth hull, 10 days earlier than CS-M3
1976 med. rough short Short stature, cold-tolerant, 10-15% more yield than CS-M3 or Calrose, more awns than Calrose
M7 1977 med. smooth short Smooth hull, short stature, cold-tolerant and 10-15% more yield than CS-M3
M9 1977 med. smooth short Smooth hull, short stature, 10-15% more yield than the best current early varieties

Varieties expected to be available to seed growers in 1979 and 1980 include:

  • a high -yielding, short-stature, very early medium-grain variety with outstanding seedling vigor for colder areas;
  • a short-stature pearl of S6 maturity with increased yield, more resistance to lodging and blanking, and more uniform ripening than S6;
  • a short-stature, medium-grain variety of M5 maturity with less lodging, increased yield and more attractive grains than M5;
  • a sweet rice otherwise similar to S6.

Progress also is being made in developing a long-grain variety for California. The experimental 7213764 has been released for use as germplasm. In 1978, it will be grown on approximately 2,000 acres.


The rice flower at pollination time. The six tall structures are the anthers which produce the pollen. The fluffy structure at the base is the pistil, which includes the ovary, or female part. To produce a new variety or hybrid plant, breeders have to carefully remove the anthers before they produce pollen and then dust the pistil with pollen from the selected male plant.


Calrose is 46 inches tall vs. Calrose 76 at 36 inches. Double Dwarf 1 and D66 illustrate other heights of potential varieties.


Most new varietal releases, including M5, S6, M7 and M9 have smooth hulls and leaves. Note differences in hull types. Smooth varieties are less wearing on harvesting and rice handling equipment and less dusty to thresh and mill. Thus, they reduce air pollution and improve working conditions.

H.D. Josiassen (left) of Richvale, and C.M. Wick, Butte County farm advisor, examine the record on Josiassen's seed field of M9. Butte County seed growers obtained dry weight yields of 7,000 to 9,000 pounds per acre with the new varieties M7 and M9 in 1977.


UC's Imperial Valley Field Station at El Centro, isolated from California's rice growing area, expedites the introduction, growing and screening of more than 12,000 genetic lines of rice from all over the world. UC's Dr. William H. Lehman (1.) and USDA's Dr. C. Roy Adair are making nursery selections for breeding programs at UC Davis and Biggs.


Rice Station scientists (1. to r.) Drs. Howard L. Carnahan, S.T. Tseng, and Carl W Johnson examine long grain lines. The line 721 3764, although high yielding, did not produce acceptable quality.


Note the varietal seedling vigor in this Yolo County test, located in a cool rice growing district. UCD's plant physiologist Dr. M.L. Peterson and Dr. Rutger collaborate on experiments to find lines with improved vigor, cold tolerance and blanking resistance.


USDA's Dr. J. Neil Rutger shows the range of plant height now available in his mutation breeding program. His basic genetic studies have expedited variety development by breeders at the Rice Station.


Dr. M. L. Peterson and plant breeders have made progress in solving the problem of blanking shown here. Genetic resistance to blanking has been found and is being incorporated in experimental varieties.
The research on blanking also has confirmed grower experience that blanking can be reduced by raising the water depth 3 weeks before heading. The new, short varieties Calrose 76 and M7 blank less than other varieties. Because of their short plant height, their developing panicles are protected longer by the warm paddy water.


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