April 22, 2009

Department of Agriculture Advises Rice Growers and Dealers Not to Import from California

Bakanae Disease Drives State Quarantine

(JEFFERSON CITY, MO) – With a shortage of medium grain rice seed this year, some rice growers in Missouri are searching for other seed sources. The Missouri Department of Agriculture is advising growers and seed dealers not to import rice from the state of California or California varieties from other states. Missouri currently has a quarantine against importing seed from California because of bakanae – a seedborne disease common to other countries but first introduced to the U.S. in 1999. Missouri currently has no reported cases of bakanae disease in rice seeds.

Bakanae is caused by a fungus that once established in a new rice growing area cannot be eliminated. Although the current demand for medium grain rice could be an opportunity for increased sales, the Department of Agriculture suggests the importation and planting of California medium grains will be of little or no benefit to the rice industry in Missouri and poses high risk to the rice varieties across the state.

For more information, contact the Department of Agriculture’s Plant Industries Division at (573) 751-2462.