Plant Breeders at Texas AgriLife Research continue to develop and release new and improved cultivars and germplasm. The director recently approved the release of Sabine crimson clover, TexFirst peach, Antonio and Colorado rice, and Tx3362 sorghum germplasm line.

All of these represent genetic gain in yield and/or quality of genetic material available to Texas producers.

Ray Smith and Gerald Evers developed and released Sabine crimson clover, selected for late flowering and improved frequency of hard seeds. Sabine is a synthetic cultivar that traces to Chief crimson clover, which was developed in Mississippi and released around 1960. The goal of Smith and Evers was to develop a crimson clover cultivar that matured closer to the maturity time of annual ryegrass in East Texas. Release of Sabine will allow cattle ranchers to graze the ryegrass-clover mixture about a week longer in the spring and still gain excellent clover reseeding for the next season.

TexFirst is a new peach cultivar developed by David Byrne at AgriLife Research. This new peach will provide a low-chilling, commercially acceptable peach that ripens about a week before Flordaking. TexFirst is a yellow-flesh peach that will ripen in late April to mid May in the low and medium chill zones of the United States. Byrne noted that the seed parent of this new cultivar was ‘Thai Tiger,’ a joint release of Texas AgriLife Research and Kasetsart University in Thailand.

A planting of open-pollinated seed from this cultivar was established at College Station in 1996, from which TexFirst was selected for its early maturity, productivity, yellow ground color, round shape, high red over-color, and excellent firmness. TexFirst peach will flower and leaf in about the same time frame as TropicPrince and 15 to 21 days before Flordaking. Its chilling requirement is about 150 to 200 chilling units (hours below 45 Fahrenheit).