NEW for 2020 ” Early and Cold Tolerant”
Niquen is a cultivated variety developed in Biobío Chile. It is noteworthy for its extreme earliness and cold tolerance. In all my trials to date, Niquen has proven to be the earliest maturing variety at 84 days from transplanting. My seed was sourced from the USDA. This variety was part of my 2019 rice trials wherein early maturing lowland varieties were grown in upland conditions. While the yields were modest compared to most other varieties, I am still intrigued at this varieties earliness and cold tolerance, which I am hoping extends to the period when rice is pollinating and vulnerable to cold temperatures. Niquen would likely benefit from more frequent irrigation or by being grown in a flooded paddy system.
Niquen flowered 46 days from transplanting and was harvested 84 days from transplanting. It is a medium grain, brown rice. The plants reached 40″ in height and had some minor lodging issues after periods of heavy rainfall.
*The flavor of Niquen delicious! I did pearl this rice before cooking. The texture was creamy and a bit chewy, the expected result with a medium grain rice. Not the best candidate for “fried rice”, but excellent with veggies and a bit of soy sauce, garlic and chile peppers.
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!
- Niquen Rice
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