New Rice Is Hot Item on Seed Companies
March 13, 1997
1997 is turning into a very good year for Jefferson, the new long-grain rice
released to industry just last year by scientists with
Agricultural Research Service at
The Texas Rice Improvement Association reported earlier this month that it
had sold 201,500 pounds of Jefferson seed worth about $161,200 to commercial
seed companies that turned in orders for the cultivar. The companies will
propagate the seed further for sale to farmers in Texas, Arkansas and other
southern rice-growing states.
High demand for Jefferson stems from its durable resistance to two serious
fungal diseases, sheath blight and blast. Both diseases are prevalent in rice
throughout the South as well as around the world.
Severe outbreaks can cause losses of up to 50 percent. But a potent package
of resistance genes protects Jefferson plants from Pyricularia grisea
fungi that cause blast and Rhizoctonia solani, the culprits behind
ARS scientists produced Jefferson by crossing Rosemont, a conventional
long-grain cultivar, with B 82-761, a disease-resistant germplasm line.
Jefferson generally matures in about 125 days and offers yield and milling
quality comparable to longer season varieties such as Cypress and Gulfmont.
Because Jefferson matures 1 to 2 weeks earlier than other popular varieties,
growers can harvest the second (ratoon) crop sooner--a boon in Gulf Coast
states during the hurricane season.
Jeffersons cooking quality is typical of U.S. long grains, making it
suitable for both domestic and export markets.
Scientific contact: Anna M. McClung or Anthony Marchetti, USDA-ARS
Rice Research Unit, Beaumont, Texas, phone (409) 752-5221; e-mail