Monday, July 4, 2011

Have you ever thought about how Rice grows?

One of the many things I love about Agriculture is how diverse it is.  Agriculture affects every aspect of our lives, and while sometimes here in the midwest when you are surrounded by corn and soybeans, wheat and alfalfa you sometimes forget that in our areas of this country they grown things like rice.  Ott, E spent last week down in the Mississippi and Arkansas Delta and toured some rice fields.  He shared these pictures and some information about what he learned. 

Rice is the second largest worldwide produced crop, behind corn.  While Rice can grow anywhere it does require lots of water so that's why it is best grown in water logged areas as you can see in these pictures. 
Do you see any weeds in and around those rice plants?
Modern rice production in Arkansas and Mississippi is complex, but easy to understand.  Rice is generally seeded on dry land after ground leveling.  Since most fields are not flat or slopping the correct way, fields are often levelled.   
 Many times to aid the rice flooding and eventual water drainage, fields have levees that allow water to flood and drain at appropriate times. Often times these levees are not in straight lines and are called contour levees due to following slightly different elevations in the field.  Once the rice is near maturity, the water is drained and is harvested with a combine.
The water levels reduce the growth of less robust weed and pests and deters critters from eating the rice. Other kinds of irrigation require higher efforts in weed and pest control during growth periods and a different approach for fertilizing the soil.
The yellow plastic you see in these pictures are levee gates that aid the flow and amount of water in certain areas.

This post was linked to Farmgirl Friday Blog Hop


ann said...

We had a landlord that had wet ground and he would tell Hubby just to plant rice it was too wet. Interesting story I didn't know we harvested that much rice

Teresa said...

How interesting! Makes me think I should be growing rice in my back forty!

Lana said...

For a while there this spring, I thought we would have to learn a great deal about growing rice with all the rain we had! Great post!

Rachel @ The Lazy Christian said...

That is fascinating! I always wondered why it had to grow in water and how they harvested it. I didn't even know where they grew it in the U.S.! Neat!

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