How to Grow Rice in California Great Desert in N0 Time?

How to Grow Rice in California Great Desert in N0 Time?

84 / 100

No bigger idiocy in California than allowing

rice farming.

People are stupid.

California has water issues and they’re

growing rice.

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

great idea.

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

roads flooded.

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,

near capacity.

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

ideal conditions.

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

raining again.

And hard.

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

additional 2”.

We got an additional 4” of water in that

one storm.

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.

That’s right.

Our rice fields, specifically, had too much

water and it kept raining and we were looking

for solutions.

Easy answer: get rid of the water, right?

Send it downstream, just like the reservoirs

were doing.

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

water hold.

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

a waterhold.

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

Agriculture world