Our tractors are ready to plant rice but without much rain we have to ask: where’s the water? Here are 3 key Ingredients for planting rice in California: tractors, dirt and water.
1. Tractors: I’m going to explain how we service our tractors and planting implements so that once we enter the fields we can run most efficiently. Included in our tractor fleet is a Case Magnum 340, 2x Case Magnum 260, Case 240, Case 7240 and a John Deere 9660. We’ve changed all the engine oil and replaced all the filters. We also serviced our pull-chisels, discs and land-planes–all planting implements to be pulled behind our tractors.
2. Dirt: In a previous episode of Rice Farming I explained how we drain the winter water off our rice fields that was decomposing last year’s remaining straw. Once the March rains let up we will allow the fields to continue to dry until we can enter with our tractors and planting implements.
3. Water: With far less than average rainfall in California things we not looking good going into March. Lake Oroville Dam sits at a 59% capacity of average. The snow pack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range, above the lake, was at a dismal 7% of average. Luckily all this rain and snow we are getting in March has boosted that snowpack up to 39%. What does that mean for us and our 2018 rice crop? I explain in the second half of this episode.