The update on ROXY rice research was one of the most intriguing portions of the annual Rice Field Day that was held on August 30, at the Rice Experiment Station. It was an opportunity for industry members to gather and hear about the latest research developments.
The day began with a General Session, where Dr. Albert Fischer, a weed ecophysiologist at UC Davis, was presented with the California Rice Industry Award for his research contributions. Afterward, participants had the opportunity to observe a display on weedy red rice, which was a major focal point this year.
The event was sponsored by the California Cooperative Rice Research Foundation and the University of California with support from many agricultural businesses. Attendees had the chance to tour research fields, review progress made with the Rice Pathology Project, and receive information on new and experimental herbicides.
Weed control was the biggest topic covered during the field day. UC Rice Farm Advisor Whitney Brim-DeForest noted there are several new herbicides in the research process right now. “Some of them are several years into the process, so there’s a pretty good idea now of weeds that they control and the fact that they work on rice at all.” The rice herbicide benzobicyclon known as Butte was also discussed, as it was released to growers earlier in the year.
One of the significant points of interest this year was the progress made with a medium-grain variety called ROXY rice, which stands for “resistant to oxyfluorfen.” The ROXY special project was underwritten by the grower-funded California Rice Research Board. “It’s been in development over several years. It’s being developed by the Rice Experiment Station, specifically the Director, Kent McKenzie,” Brim-DeForest stated.
Researchers are pleased with how the variety is coming along, but there are still some challenges that will need to be overcome before ROXY rice will be commercially available for growers. The biggest issue pertains to oxyfluorfen. “In order to be able to be used in rice, it needs to be registered,” Brim-DeForest said. “It will go through the Department of Pesticide Regulation here, so it’ll take a little while.”
Listen to the interview below.