In a meeting with agricultural editors prior to a company field day, RiceTec officials said they intend to change the company’s packaging from 45-pound bags to bags that contain a standard 900,000 seeds.

"Historically, people have talked about the seeding rate for rice in terms of pounds per acre," said Federico Cuevas, vice-president of development and technical services for RiceTec.

"While this recommendation is easy to communicate, it fails to take into account the wide range of seed sizes that exist between different hybrids and varieties. Even the same hybrid or variety can have a wide range of seed sizes. We have seen as much as a 20 percent difference within the same product, produced in the same year."

This difference can represent a 20 percent swing in seeding rates and cost per acre to farmers who plant their seed based on pounds per acre without making adjustments for size.

"As an example," says Cuevas, "XL7, XL8 and Clearfield XL8 (all RiceTec hybrids) have average seed sizes for a hybrid. Yet, our XP710 – an advanced experimental hybrid in 2003 - has large-size seeds."

RiceTec's new 900,000-seed packaging will eliminate seed-size variables from the planting and pricing equations, enhancing growers' planning and management accuracy, he says.

The packaging change and new seeding recommendation will ensure that customers clearly understand how best to optimize the performance of RiceTec hybrids, according to Jim Thompson, seed sales and marketing manager.

"By establishing an assigned number of seeds per bag – and a standard seeding rate recommendation based on seeds per acre (600,000) for our hybrid rice products – equity is maintained regardless of the hybrid being planted and the seed size for a given seed lot," Thompson notes.

"We feel an obligation to deliver an improved seeding recommendation for our hybrids - one that offers producers the utmost in clarity, pricing fairness and cost efficiency."

The new recommendation, however, would not work as well without the change to 900,000-seed bags. "They are completely compatible with the seeding rate of 600,000 seeds per acre," says Thompson. "This combination means one bag of RiceTec hybrid rice seed will plant 1.5 acres."

Based on extensive testing with commercial producers, drills can be accurately calibrated to plant 600,000 seeds per acre, regardless of seed size. RiceTec will provide information and support to assist customers and local outlets with the transition from 45-pound bags to seed-count packaging, as well as assistance with the new seeding recommendation and information on adjusting drills for the correct number of seeds per acre.

Seed-count packaging and precise planting recommendations are techniques whose time has come in high-value seed products like hybrid rice, according to Thompson.

"We are very confident in the equipment and procedures being put in place that will allow us to do precision seed-count packaging," he says. "Hybrid rice seed offers growers increased yield and stronger disease resistance.

“Our new seed-count packaging and seed-per-acre seeding-rate recommendation enhances the value of RiceTec hybrid rice seed by offering producers greater efficiency and accuracy at planting, giving them more profit potential."

RiceTec, Inc. is an integrated rice company specializing in the breeding, development and marketing of high-value rice products. Headquartered in Alvin, Texas, the company operates the primary research center of RiceTec AG, an international rice technology venture.

RiceTec, Inc. is the first company to commercialize hybrid rice seed in the United States. It is also a leading producer and marketer of specialty rice products, which are sold under RiceSelect brands in over 20,000 supermarkets throughout North America. For more information, please visit the company's website at www.ricetec.com.

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