The Foundation Seed Program had its
beginning in the spring of 1941. At that time the Beaumont Center was still
located at the old site in Amelia. Researchers had a small quantity of a newly
developed rice variety and several barrels of an improved strain of Blue Rose,
but lacked the land to grow out an increase. Researchers met with A.H. Boyt,
President of The American Rice Growers Association in Beaumont, D.W. Edwards
who was manager of the Texas Public Service Farms Company and a few local
It was agreed that the Texas Public
Service Farms Company would grow the seed on their land, under the supervision
of the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station. Soon after, 28 acres of land near
Nome was planted, with all expenses covered by the Texas Public Service Farms
Company. Sales for that first crop of seed rice amounted to $2,316.00.
Seed production continued, and in July
of 1943 a State Charter was granted and the Texas Rice Improvement Association
(TRIA) officially became a voluntary, non-profit association. It was formed
primarily for the purpose of producing and distributing seed of new varieties,
and giving financial support to experiments dealing with rice improvement. The
list of incorporators included A.H. Boyt, J.C. Dishman, E.T. Fuller, Jr., H.R.
Hunsucker and E.V. (Pat) Boyt. In 1945 the Beaumont Center moved to its present
location west of Beaumont, with land financed by this core group that made up
TRIA. Currently, the organization owns approximately 525 acres at the Beaumont
and 78 acres of land at the Eagle Lake Research Station. All told, TRIA has
provided over $10 million for research, and created the Rice Quality Lab, two
field labs, cold storage facilities, the implement shed, storage barn, seedsman
home, and the seed processing plant.
Mike Doguet is the current
president of the Texas Rice Improvement Association. Brenda Setliff is
Secretary/Treasurer. Brenda Setliff and Foundation Seed Manager Julio
Castillo shares offices on-site at the Beaumont Center. As
Secretary/Treasurer, Brenda Setliff is responsible for keeping financial
records, recording meeting minutes, maintaining historical documents and
insuring that the charter requirements for the organization are met.
Julio Castillo has been the
Foundation Seed Manager for TRIA since 2006. His duties span the gamut from
tractor work to supervising employees in the care and upkeep of foundation
fields. Each year, approximately 150 acres at the Center are dedicated to
foundation seed production. And while the planting scheme has varied over the
years, Castillo currently practices a 3-year rotation, as required by
state law. This insures that fields are kept clean, especially from red rice,
and the foundation seed produced is of the highest possible quality.
Foundation fields are planted between March 15th and
April 15th. The seeding rate is 50 to 80 lbs/ac depending on the variety. Seed
is treated with Icon (for rice water weevils), Release (growth hormone),
Vitavax (warm season fungicide), Allegence (cool season fungicide) and zinc
(seedling vigor and development.) For the base
fertilizer, Castillo incorporates 200 lbs/ac of diammonium phosphate
(18-46-0) two days prior to planting. Soil tests are performed every other
year, and if a need is indicated, special fertilizer blends are applied. After
planting, the fields are rolled and the herbicide Command is applied for grass
control. The fields are then flushed and drained. If needed, a 33-0-0 urea and
ammonium sulfate blend is applied during flushing after the three-leaf stage.
While this source is more expensive, Castillo feels that the nitrogen
stays in the tissues longer, creating healthier plants.
At the 5-leaf stage a foliar application of Gibberellic acid tank mixed with an
herbicide may be applied to boost growth and reduce weed populations. The day
before permanent flood urea is applied at a rate of 100 – 200 lbs/ac, depending
on the variety and stand count. Permanent flood is established roughly 30 days
after seedling emergence. The fields are thoroughly rogued for off-types
throughout the growing season, beginning at PD. The last urea applications are
made at panicle initiation (PI), 100 lbs/ac, at panicle differentiation (PD),
50 - 75 lbs/ac, and 10 days after PD, 50 – 75 lbs/ac.
Pest populations are closely monitored,
with stinkbugs being the main threat. The fields are watched closely from first
flowering through the milk stages and Karate is applied at a rate of 4 oz/ac
every 15 days if needed. There is a new product introduced for rice in October
of 2001 called Fury. It is similar to Karate, and labeled for the same pests.
Castillo is considering rotating the two, to avoid build up of resistant
pest populations. Fungicide is applied as a precautionary measure 7 – 10 days
The Texas Department of Agriculture
inspects the fields no more than 4 days prior to harvest, looking for off-types
and red rice infestation. In addition to this, a 10 lb bulk sample must be sent
to the TDA lab in Giddings for further evaluation before the seed is approved.
Harvest begins in July, and anything harvested before August 15th may be
ratooned, although this rice is not sold as seed. The grain is dried and stored
at the Center, with extreme care taken to maintain the purity of the seed rice.
The combines are thoroughly disassembled and cleaned after each variety is
harvested, removing the header and all the screens, to insure that cross
contamination does not occur.
the 2001 crop year Saber, Jefferson, Bolivar, Lemont and Della were produced by
the foundation seed program. A commercial field of Dixiebelle was also
produced. The TRIA board will meet in January to decide which varieties will be
grown in 2002, but indications are the list will include Saber, Bolivar,
Jasmine 85, Cypress and Cocodrie. The deadline for placing foundation seed
orders is January 18th. If the pre-deadline orders for a variety exceed the
supply available, then the seed will be allocated by the TRIA board. After the
January 18th deadline, remaining seed is distributed on a first come, first
served basis. It is to the grower’s advantage to order early, to insure they
will get what they need for that crop year.