No bigger idiocy in California than allowing
People are stupid.
California has water issues and they’re
Wow, what a WASTE of water!
And again I ask, why are we growing rice in
Just because we can doesn’t mean we should.
Rice farming in a desert, with scarce water
is only something morons would think was a
Read about x ray tech salary.
These, and more like them, are messages I
received just this past month in the comment
section of my seeding rice by airplane episode.
Many of you enjoyed it and, in some cases,
learned a little something.
Others, not so much.
So, today on Rice Farming TV I’m going to
give you an update on our crop.
And I guess I’m going to show you how to
grow rice in a desert.
Rice farming in a desert, only with government
subsidized cash and cheap Mexican labor plus
free land is this possible.
Now, before I address those interesting comments
and catch you up on my rice crop let’s do
a little review.
After all the tractor work we flooded our
fields with irrigation water, two inches deep.
We then flew on our rice seed with great service
from our local ag-pilots at Williams Ag Service.
And the growing season began.
Our first field was planted on May 4th and
our last on May 17th.
Pretty excellent planting window considering
we had late rains in March and April.
Remember, our fields reflooded before we could
even start our tractor work.
That was when even some of the back county
It was right around the time when the Department
of Water Resources, out of precaution, started
releasing water from the Oroville Dam because
the reservoir was reaching concerning levels,
Yeah, that May 4th to May 17th planting window
was pretty good considering how wet it was.
We had to start working the soil in less than
We had to start the tractor work with portions
of the fields still muddy.
Remember when I mentioned that in the John
Deere 8640 Saves the Day episode?
Man, I can remember that like it was yesterday.
And thank goodness we did start as early as
we did because in the third week of May, just
after we seeded our last field, it started
I can remember going to work that first day
of the storms.
I remember knowing that it was going to be
Just not knowing how bad.
I mean I had an idea: 2” of rain was called
for that day.
Yeah, 2” of rain was forecasted.
Although, remember the seeding episode, we
only want 2” of irrigation water in our
newly planted fields.
As I mentioned, it’s a crop-care strategy
to avoid drift, to keep the baby rice plants
out of the scum, not to elongate the plant’s
leaves and to promote root growth.
So we had 2” of irrigation water out there
and on that day the forecast called for an
We got an additional 4” of water in that
We suffered drift.
The baby rice was engulfed by scum.
The leaves began to elongate.
More rain was forecasted.
Our baby rice was being stressed but at least
we were planted.
Those fellow rice farmers still preparing
the soil had it worse.
They had to stop, pushing their anticipated
plant date further into May or June.
No one wants to plant rice in June.
Because he growing season is cut short by cooling temperatures and potential rain in the fall.
Both are detrimental to yield.
But with all the rain that came in late May.
Some would have to plant into June–into mid-June.
Or worse yet, some would have to leave their
fields fallow, unplanted because of too much
Because of too much water.
We had too much water.
Our rice fields, specifically, had too much
water and it kept raining and we were looking
Easy answer: get rid of the water, right?
Send it downstream, just like the reservoirs
Why not pull the boards from our drain risers
and let it flow.
You see to combat early season weed pressure,
like watergrass, we needed, as usual, to fly
on a pest management application.
The particular treatment comes with a 30 day
No water can leave the field for 30 days–no
irrigation water, no rain water.
The waterhold is in place so that the pest
management application has time to be effective,
but also, and more importantly, has time to
So our rice fields are locked down.
They become a holding cell, a filter for the
environment and municipalities.
We board up our water boxes between each section
of the field.
Read more about rice production.
We board up our drain risers and dump mud
in front of them so not a drop of water gets
When the rain finally stopped in May our fields
we 8” deep.
6” deeper than we wanted them.
All that water and no where to put it.
Not for 30 days anyway.
What were we going to do?
After the plowing, the tillage, the landplaning,
the fertilizer, the seed, after all that time
and money was it eventually all going to go
down the drain with this extra rain-water?
In our eyes our plants were potentially drowning
and our year’s investment was sinking.
Then pops had an idea.
Pops always has an idea.
An idea that required a backhoe.
And the Picasso of moving dirt, none other
than backhoe Joe.
You remember him!
We couldn’t drain our fields that were under
But we could drain one of our later planted
fields where our watergrass treatment had
yet been applied.
It had been seeded but the rice was too young