Rice Varieties Tested for Suitability in Bootheel

MALDEN, MO - Most of Missouri's $100 million rice crop grows in the Bootheel and new varieties are being tested to determine which are best suited for the region.

More than 1,000 varieties of rice grow in small plots on a farm west of Malden, where researchers are checking for soil fertility, insects and weeds.

The farm is owned by the Missouri Rice Research and Merchandising Council, whose rice producers underwrite the research.

A small amount of rice is grown in Cape Girardeau and Scott counties, but the bulk of Missouri's rice crop grows in Butler and Stoddard counties.

The effect of the recent long run of high temperatures in southeast Missouri is yet to be determined.  Researchers say hot temperatures can hurt pollination.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press.  All Rights Reserved.)