Rice production is an important part of the agricultural industry in the southern United States, especially in the major producing states of Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, and Texas. The mechanized production of rice began in the 1880s in southwest Louisiana, when farmers started to use some of the new agricultural implements invented during this period. From the earliest beginning of this industry, production was plagued by a weedy relative of commercial rice called red rice, which came in with the first seed used by the fledgling industry.
Most red rice biotypes are characterized by a red pericarp or outer covering. Thus, if the grain is harvested, and makes it through the milling process, it reduces the quality of milled white rice. However, much of the red rice produced in a commercial rice field will never make it through the combine harvester because red rice tends to shatter as it matures. Also, its seed can be dormant for a longer time. Because of its shattering and dormancy traits, once a field is infested with red rice, the seed will remain viable and problematic for many years. Since commercial rice and red rice are so closely related, it has been difficult to develop a conventional herbicide that can control red rice without significantly damaging the commercial rice crop.
However, work initiated by Dr. Tim Croughan and his associates in the 1980s at the Rice Research Station in The adoption of Clearfield technology brings positive changes to the U.S. rice industry Crowley, Louisiana, USA, eventually led to the development of Clearfield® rice production technology, which can control red rice in commercial rice production.
The Clearfield technology has dramatically improved rice producers’ ability to control red rice and many other problematic weeds in rice production. In addition to improving weed control, Clearfield technology has greatly reduced soil erosion and improved water quality and overall environmental stewardship.