NEW for 2020 “Long Grain”
Java Long Grain was a surprise success this season, being my first true long grain variety with a reasonable harvest. It is a lowland variety from Indonesia, entered into the USDA’s NPGS in 1975. I obtained my initial seed from the USDA and grew this variety as part of my 2019 rice trials wherein early maturing lowland varieties were grown in upland conditions. While the yields would have likely been higher under a flooded paddy system, I was still very pleased with my results. Quality grains and a yield of nearly 5 pounds of paddy from a 100 square foot bed.
This variety flowered 88 days from transplanting. I started early harvest at 130 days from transplanting and finished up 10 days later. 140 days is my upper threshold “maturity window” for transplanted rice here in northern Indiana. This variety is also likely “day length neutral” to be successfully grown in a latitude 41.7 degrees north compared to its original latitude in Java of latitude -7 degrees south. The plants grew to about 3 1/2 foot tall and had no issues of lodging.
I am very excited to highlight this rice variety. This is the first “true” long grain variety I have grown here in Northern Indiana. The bottom line about long grain rice is all about two starches, amylose and amylopectin. Short grain rice varieties are mostly amylopectin, hence sticky in nature. Long grain rice is high in amylose, and is therefore non-sticky with fluffy grains that separate. This also means a better quality rice for making “fried rice”. This rice was pearled, and cooked up perfectly. Not sticky, flavorful and the individual grains separated easily with a fork.
I will be adding extra seed to each packet to compensate for a lower than desired germination rate.
Rice seeds should be soaked in water 24 hours before planting. I start my plants indoors in April in plug flats, 50’s and transplant into beds after the last frost date. I recommend not leaving plants in flats for more than three weeks as the starts will yellow easily and weaken when root-bound. Here in Northern Indiana, I plant my rice plugs the last week of May. I plant into 4′ wide beds. This makes adding bird netting over the tops of the plants an easy chore using 5′ t-posts and twine. The plants are spaced 9″ apart in the beds. Upland rice requires about the same amount of water as corn, around 1″ per week during the growing season. I harvest by cutting the whole plant and bundling into groups of 4. These bundles are then hung in my drying shed for a few weeks until the plant is fully dry. At this point threshing is easy by hand (pulling the grains off) or using a threshing machine. I use a treadle (foot) powered thresher. Rice has an inedible husk that needs to be removed before eating. The most primitive way to accomplish this is by pounding the grains with a stick or mallet on a wood surface (tree stump) in order to loosen the husks. There are small rice dehullers available but very difficult to locate. Brill Engineering offers online tutorials on how to build a small dehuller using easy to locate “off the shelf” parts. http://www.brillengineering.com/
- Alternative planting method. In the spring of 2017 I experimented with direct seeding rice into beds in late May. I had success with early maturing varieties. I recently learned that rice can be direct seeded even earlier; possibly at the beginning of May or late April. I would suggest you conduct some small trials if you are interested in this method. Weed management is critical early on for young rice seedlings!