Puerto Rico is home to a large rice nursery owned by RiceTec, the United States’ only hybrid rice seed producer. Headquartered in Alvin, Texas, RiceTec also produces specialty rice products for consumers.
The nursery near Lajas, Puerto Rico, encompasses 2,000 acres of land, which includes leased fields. Station manager Jaime Suarez Feliciano says they are able to grow three cycles of rice a year in research plots in the tropical climate. This enables the company to bring new seed products to the market more quickly.
The southern area of Puerto Rico where RiceTec is located receives 40 in. of rain from October to May. The volcanic soil is very rich and productive, Feliciano adds.
The rice plots are flooded with water. And because rice cannot be planted following rice, RiceTec is testing a rotation with soybeans.
RiceTec uses only traditional traits and no GMOs. Feliciano says they target improving yield and milling traits for genetic improvements.
This is the 3rd piece in our "Week in Puerto Rico" series. Check back for more videos, photo galleries and stories in the series at www.farmindustrynews.com.
Piece 1: Video: Soybean, seed nursery business thrives in Puerto Rico
Piece 5: Gallery: Bayer CropScience expands seed research, nursery in Puerto Rico
Piece 6: Story: Move over Hawaii – Puerto Rico takes over U.S. winter seed work