How Rice is Planted in California: Breaking Ground!

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Planting rice in California is easy. What I mean is that the seeding of rice is easy. You call the local crop-duster, tell him the ground is ready and to fly on the rice seed. The difficult part, which is time consuming, critical and taxing is preparing the ground–getting it ready for the rice seed. In this video I will give you an overview of how a California rice farmer prepares his rice fields for seeding. Enjoy.

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Full Transcript:

In this episode I want to give you guys a crash-course in the work that’s involved in planting rice fields here in California.

But first let’s review a little bit. As you guys know from the last couple episodes, we’ve drained the rice fields of the winter water that helped decompose the straw from last year’s crop. We’ve also been working on our tractors and implements so that they’re in tip-top shape and can run this entire planting season, which is just ahead of us.

As you can see, the rice fields have completely dried out. Also I’d like to mention, as many of you know through national coverage of the Oroville Dam Spillway, California had an extremely wet winter. That hasn’t affected us yet because the rice fields are drying out.

However, since it’s the third week in March now, any excessive rain that we get, that could prevent us from starting the planting process. Ideally we’d like to start the planting process in the first week of April. However, unfortunately, as you can see the skies are grey and as you can hear there’s quite a bit of wind. There is rain on the forecast. So we’ll see how that affects us moving forward.

Right now let’s move into the equipment yard and I want to give you that overview of what actually entails planting rice in California.

Now, I think a lot of people assume that when I say, planting rice is hard work and it takes a month and a half. They’re thinking that the actual planting of the rice is what takes all the time. But in fact that’s the easiest part. We just pick up the phone and call the crop-duster and they fly on the seed. The taxing and hard work comes from preparing the ground to fly the seed on. And that’s what I want to give you an overview of.

So these are the tractors, right? These are what are going to be pulling the implements that’s going to break the ground.

Let’s get right into the implements.

So, I’ve introduced these pieces of equipment to you before. These are the pull-chisels. It’s the first implement we’re going to use to initially break the ground. Those chisel shanks down there are going to rip the ground about nine inches deep. And we’re going to do that diagonally across the field once. And then return and chisel diagonally the opposite way a second time. That’s going to give us a good rip deep into the earth.

After the chisels we’ll hook the discs up here, lay the wings out flat and start discing the ripped up ground about 6 inches deep. We’ll go around the entire field in a spiral until everything has been disced. We’ll leave it for three days, letting the dirt dry out a bit, readjust the discs so then we’re only discing about 4 inches deep, further breaking down the dirt clods into smaller even more manageable pieces.

After discing we’ll hook-up these tri-planes here and run them through the field and that will smooth out that soft, broken up dirt.

And that’s essentially the groundwork which goes into preparing a field for planting rice. The next steps would be applying fertilizer, flooding the field and, of course, calling the crop-duster, ordering the seed to be flown on.

And there you have it guys, an overview of how we prepare our ground to plant rice seed. You guys have any questions let me know.

Really quickly I’d like to thank Mark who’s a local crop-duster in this area who contacted me via Facebook and let me know that he was sending me this envelope. Wow! It’s a 64GB pendrive of aerial crop-duster footage from his flights. Mark, so awesome! Thank you very much. I can’t wait to take a look at this footage. And I definitely want to stop by the hanger and do a video with you guys over there.

Folks, thanks for watching. I hope you guys enjoyed this educational video about how we prepare the rice fields for planting. Please share it if you did. I appreciate your comments and support. Thank you very much! Have a great day.