Novelli Gigante Lowland Rice

NEW for 2020     “Extra-Long Grain”

Novelli Gigante is an “extra-long grain” landrace rice from the Emilia-Romagna region in northern Italy. It was entered into the USDA’s NPGS in 1939. 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. Novelli Gigante performed well under upland conditions. I did have problems with rodent predation as the crop began to mature in early October. Despite my best efforts to control the problem, in the end I lost 80% of the potential harvest. The 20% I did manage to save will be offered here in 4 gram packets. I have a limited supply for this amazing variety which has some very large grains compared to other varieties.

Novelli Gigante flowered 77 days from transplanting and reached initial maturity at 130 days from transplanting. It is an awned, long grain rice with brown bran. I grew to 4′ in height with a good amount of tillering and had no lodge issues during periods of heavy rainfall. I would have predicted it’s overall yield to be around 10 pounds of paddy per 100 square foot. This variety was grown in an area of the field that receives mid afternoon shade.

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.


  • 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!


Novelli Gigante rice
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14 grams$4.50
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