NEW for 2020 “Heritage Variety”
Agostano is an older cultivar from the Piedmont region of Italy. It was entered into the USDA’s NPGS in 1938. I obtained my initial seed from the USDA and this variety was part of my 2019 rice trials wherein early maturing lowland varieties were grown in upland conditions. Agostano did great under upland growing conditions. It had an average yield of 7 pounds of paddy per 100 square foot.
Agostano is an awnless variety that has a brown bran color and is classified as a medium grain type. It flowered 60 days from transplanting and matured 123 days from transplanting. The plants reached a height of 4 1/2 foot and had no lodging issues during periods of heavy rainfall. The Agostano was grown in a part of my field that experiences mid afternoon shade, as it borders a southern wooded area. The yields could quite possibly have been greater in an area that experiences full sun, but I am finding that rice can tolerate some shade in either the morning or afternoon.
*Agostano cooked up wonderfully and would be suitable for any medium grain rice dish. I made Spanish rice with some pearled Agostano. The end result was perfect and the grains did not stick together making for just the right texture. I believe this variety would also make great fried rice.
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!
- Agostano Rice
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