The Department of Rice previously known as “Paddy Breeding Station” is a constituent of the Centre for Plant Breeding and Genetics, Tamil Nadu Agricultural University, Coimbatore. This station conducts multidisciplinary research for rice improvement. In 1912 during the British colonial period, one Government Economic Botanist (GEB) was posted at Coimbatore to initiate research on this most vital crop of the country. Thus Paddy Breeding Station came into existence at this place as the oldest rice research station in the modern India. Geographically this research station is located at an elevation of 426.72 m, between 11o N  latitude and 770 E  longitude. The station has a cultivable land area of 12.96 ha uniformly laced with clayey soil with a pH of 7.8. The average rainfall is 670 mm per year. This centre is internationally renowned with its record in rice history, headed by British Scientists like F.R. Parnell, R.O. Iliffe and also by the famous Indian Paddy Specialist, Padmashri. Dr. K. Ramiah.  During the initial period, strenuous efforts were taken to collect and conserve the biodiversity of the crop through establishment of local genebank. Primarily, Coimbatore was the National centre for rice germplasm collection  in India which possessed 2000 accessions during 1911- 1914. These accessions differed widely in duration, grain quality, rice texture, flavour, fineness etc., and morphological characters such as stem colour, seed coat etc.

Landmark varieties were developed through Pure Line Selection  from this station which had triggered the growth of rice production in the state. In the post Mendellin era, hybridization was followed among the landraces and then with semi-dwarf donors from IRRI which paved the way for the phenomenal increase in rice production in the state which stood at 15.29 lakh tonnes with a productivity of 805 kg/ha during 1920, increased steadily to the current level of 71 lakh tonnes with the productivity of 3.7 t/ha, despite the marked decrease in the total rice area.  

The first variety of this station, GEB 24 (Kichili samba) released during 1921, played unique and significant role in the subsequent development of rice not only in this country but also in the global level. This variety became very popular with large coverage and attained worldwide distinction and since then has been used in several National and International breeding programmes as progenitor for their varieties. Several other varieties from this station transformed the rice cultivation in the state. Noteworthy among them are blast resistant CO 4 and CO 25, inter-specific cross derivative CO 31, semi-dwarf varieties CO 37 and CO 38, high yielding long duration variety CO 40, salt tolerant CO 43 and CO 47, etc. The recently released, CO(R) 48 CO(R) 49 and Rice CO 51  are fine grain rice varieties that would cater to the current market demands. The Central and State Variety Release Committee approved CO(R) 50 is the “super rice” variety with new plant type characters and high yield.

Significance of hybrid rice technology to bolster the yield potential of rice was realized and the research on hybrid rice at Coimbatore was commissioned in the year 1989. Four hybrids viz., CORH 1, CORH 2 CORH 3 and TNAU rice hybrid CO 4 were developed, released and notified for commercial cultivation in the state. CORH 3, the latest early duration rice hybrid can yield 25% higher than the pureline variety in that duration group. This is also the first hybrid developed through indigenously synthesized male sterile line. CORH 3 yields non-sticky non-aromatic rice with acceptable cooking quality.  Medium duration TNAU rice hybrid CO 4 maturing in 130- 135 days was released during 2011 recommended for late samba / thaladi season in Tamil Nadu. It is a high yielding hybrid recorded the mean grain yield of 7348 Kg/ha with fine grain cooking quality characteristics. 

The contribution of this department includes 23 purelines, 27 hybrid derivatives, one spontaneous mutant (GEB 24), one introduction (Bhavani) and four hybrids which have remarkably improved the rice cultivating horizon of the state. 

Last update: 24.03.2016