Epamig promotes rescue of floodplain rice cultivars for the Eastern region of Minas

Seeds of the IR 841 cultivar are made available to producers after genetic and sanitary purification

03.05.2021 | 20:59 (UTC -3)
Mariana Vilela Penaforte de Assis/Epamig

The Agricultural Research Company of Minas Gerais (EPAMIG) began in 2017, at the Leopoldina Experimental Field, work for the genetic and sanitary purification of the floodplain rice cultivar IR 841. The demand arose from producers in the Eastern region of Minas Gerais, in special in the microregion that covers the municipalities of Pocrane, Mutum, Ipanema, Lajinha, Aimorés and Resplendor, where cultivation has existed for decades, without renewal of seed sources, which compromises the purity of the cultivar and the health of the grains.

After two multiplication crops and genetic purification, EPAMIG made available, in the 2020/2021 biennium, 500 kg of IR 841 seeds, to producers interested in promoting the recovery of cultivation in the East of Minas. “The purified seeds were distributed to rice farmers in November 2020. Most of them planted the crops in December, using the seedling cultivation system”, says the project coordinator, Plínio César Soares.

The seed offering took place with the support of Emater-MG and the city halls of municipalities in the region. “In the second half of 2020, Emater de Pocrane carried out a registration of producers interested in cultivation. The demand was higher than the quantity of seeds available for planting, which is why a selection of producers who would be included at that first moment was carried out. It was agreed that these would be the multipliers of the action, prioritizing the sale of their seeds to registered producers who have not yet been served”, informs Plínio Soares.

According to the researcher, the characteristics of the grains, which remain loose and soft after cooking, and the aromatic flavor reminiscent of potatoes, motivate rice farmers in the region to continue planting this cultivar. The majority of those awarded are from Pocrane, a municipality closely identified with the cultivar. “There is a phrase on the city’s entrance portal with the following words: ‘Pocrane, the land of IR Rice’. This shows the importance of this cultivar for producers”, he reports.

Other advantages are moderate resistance to blast and good response to nitrogen fertilization. “The IR 841 cultivar, although very old, recommended for the Minas Gerais floodplains since 1975, still maintains a good production standard, above 5 t/ha, when compared to more modern cultivars with productivity of 6 to 6,5 t/ha. ha", adds Plínio Soares.

IR 841 was created in the Philippines by the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) and introduced in Brazil by the Campinas Agronomic Institute (IAC). In Minas Gerais, evaluations began in the 1970s and until 1980 it was the rice cultivar most planted in floodplains in the state. Furthermore, it played a significant role in the opening of new areas recovered by Provárzeas.

The new crops are in the grain filling and maturation phase and are being monitored by local Emater technicians.

Culture in Minas Gerais

Minas Gerais currently has 12 thousand hectares of rice cultivated area (rainfed, wet floodplain and irrigated), with an average productivity of 2,5 thousand kg/ha, a gain of more than 270%, when compared to the figures from the 1976/1977 harvest. . One of the main factors that contribute to increased productivity and production is the use of improved cultivars, adapted to each type of cultivation.

Started in 1975, the Várzeas Rice Genetic Improvement Program in Minas Gerais, developed by the consortium EPAMIG, Embrapa Arroz e Feijão and the Federal University of Lavras (Ufla), has already launched 17 cultivars. Of these, the most cultivated in the Minas Gerais floodplains are Seleta, Predileta, Rubelita and Alterosa. Floodplain crops are most found in the south of Minas (in the micro-regions of Pouso Alegre, Heliodora, Cristina and Perdões); in the Center-West (municipalities of Arcos, Iguatama and Pains) and in the Rio Doce Valley, represented by the municipalities of Pocrane, Mutum, Ipanema, Lajinha and Aimorés. 

In the case of rainfed crops, the rice cultivars most planted in the State are currently Caravera, Relâmpago and Carajás. All were developed by the Integration between EPAMIG, Embrapa Arroz e Feijão and Ufla. Upland rice crops are distributed across several regions, with cultivation predominantly carried out by small producers.

Mosaic Biosciences March 2024