HOW IS RICE GROWN?
QQQQQFIELD PREPARATION During spring, farmers begin to prepare their fields for planting. First, fields are carefully levelled with precision, laser-guided grading equipment. Fertiliser is then added, and shallow furrows are rolled into the field. About a month later, the fields are ready to be planted.
FLOODING AND SEEDING Water is run into the fields to a depth of only 5 inches. Consistent water depth has been shown to improve the rice plants’ ability to compete against weeds for nutrients and sunlight, reducing the need for herbicides. Rice seeds are then soaked to remove buoyancy and loaded into planes. Flying at 100 mph, these planes plant the fields from the air. The heavy seeds will then sink into the furrows and begin to grow.
MATURATION OF RICE The rice seedlings are now ready to begin their four to five-month journey to maturity. The rice grows rapidly, ultimately reaching a height of 3 feet. By fall, the grain heads are mature and ready to be harvested.
HARVEST Before rice harvest can begin, the fields must be drained. Once the fields are dry, state-of-the-art harvesters enter the fields to collect the perfectly ripe grain. Because quality is so important, these harvesters are designed to both gently and rapidly bring the grain in from the fields. Specialised tractors come alongside, receiving the rice and delivering it to waiting trailers so the harvesters can continue without having to stop to unload. MILLING AND STORAGE Next, the rice is carefully dried to an ideal moisture level and stored. At the mill, the hull is first removed, leaving brown rice. White rice is the result of gently removing the bran layers to leave just the inner, pearly grain. Rice mills in California are among the most advanced in the world, with specialised equipment to mill, sort and package rice to meet the highest quality standards.