What's happening at IRRI
Thursday, April 14, 2016, 01:15pm - 02:15pm
University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture Rice Breeding Program
Professor, Crops Soils and Environmental Science University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture & Rice Industry Chair for Variety Development
Karen Moldenhauer, Xueyan Sha, and Ehsan Shakiba
In 2014, Arkansas accounted for 51% of rice production and 53% of the rice grown in the U.S. The state’s rice production has been steadily increasing over time, with a state record of 8,467 kg/ha in 2013 and 2014. There has been a shift in the type of cultivars grown in Arkansas and the southern U.S. with the advent of Clearfield technology and hybrid rice.
The rice breeding program in Arkansas has similar objectives to those of other U.S. crops. These include increasing production through higher yielding cultivars, conferring resistance to/tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses via genetic resources, and improving seed quality characteristics. Cultivar development is a team approach that involves breeders, geneticists, pathologists, entomologists, agronomists, economists, soil scientists, food scientists, weed scientists, physiologist statisticians, and extension specialists with inputs from producers, consumers, and the rice industry.
Plant breeding, broadly defined, is the art and science of improving the genetic pattern of plants in relation to their economic use (D.C. Smith, 1966). As in so many areas of science today, there is an art to the techniques and the interpretation of data. Data comes from visual selection, agronomic measurements, and molecular information.
Plant breeders are always looking to the future because it takes at least 8 to 10 years to develop a new cultivar and get it to producers. In the words of Henry Beachell (2001), “We need to anticipate future needs and strive for goals not easily pictured by others—farsightedness and tolerance of uncertainty are useful attributes; long-term commitment and patience are required.” In the University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture rice breeding program, hybrid rice is one of our future goals. We also consider improving disease resistance, earliness, and quality characteristics as intermediate goals. Since majority of U.S. rice cultivars belong to the tropical japonica subspecies, our long-term goal is to increase the genetic diversity of these cultivars through the introduction of new germplasm from all available sources, including indica subspecies and other species, to develop a new generation of high-yielding cultivars that show resistance to/tolerance of biotic and abiotic stresses.
Havener Auditorium, International Rice Research Institute, Los Baños, 4030 Laguna, Philippines