P. Samuel Jonathan

Apart from their higher grain yield and pest resistant capacities, the rice varieties are found to have good cooking quality

GUNTUR: Agricultural scientists working at Rice Research Station, Bapatla, have developed two new varieties of rice. The two varieties BPT 2270 (Bhavapuri Sannalu) and BPT 2231 (Akshaya) were released into the market in May after nearly 14 years of research.

Scientists now advocate that farmers can replace the hugely popular BPT 5204 (Samba Masuri) rice variety, which is prone to pest attack, with the two new varieties.

“The new varieties have many advantages. Apart from their higher grain yield and pest resistant capacities, they are found to have good cooking quality. They are also suitable for wetland farms presently irrigated under Nagarjuna Sagar Project command area,” Ch. Pulla Rao, Principal Scientist and Head of Rice Research Station, Bapatla, told The Hindu.

The scientists exploring alternative rice varieties to BPT 5204 began by crossing it with CR 1523, a Cuttack rice variety. The crossing continued for six seasons and the final mutations were combined to evolve BPT 2270.

The BPT 2270 plant is semi dwarf in nature. Each panicle is found to contain 250-300 grains.

The BPT 2270 is found to have the capacity to withstand longer submergence, an advantage in areas probe to frequent cyclones and floods, the superior strength of the shaft and the superior cooking quality.

Field trials in different conditions revealed that the average grain yield of BPT 2270 is 15-20 per cent more that the BPT 5204 variety. Station trials conducted in 2002-2004 showed an average yield of 6.19 tonnes per hectare when compared to BPT 5205 whose average yield was 4 tonnes per hectare. The other variety, BPT 2231 is a fine grain type with slender shafts and its average grain yield was 20-25 per cent more than BPT 5204.

The average grain yield showed 6.39 tonnes per hectare when compared to 4.14 tonne/hectare of BPT 5204.

“We have abundant supply of seeds of these two varieties and we hope that they would find acceptance from farmers,” said Dr. Pulla Rao.