Rice plantings reduced but hope remains

By Punch Haskell

The last airplane pass has been made and this year’s rice crop has been planted. Just like last year, we’re planting 25 percent less acreage this year. That’s not easy to deal with but, factoring in the water shortage, I consider myself pretty blessed.

With a 75 percent planting, we can have all of our employees working, keep up on tax payments and keep the farm going. The goal during this drought is to keep things running – to survive another year until things get back to something closer to normal.

Planting season went pretty well. Normally the problematic north winds stay for three days at a time, but this year they came and went within one day.

We plant fields based on how long the rice variety takes to grow. The longest-maturing varieties are planted first. Additional varieties are planted so that there’s a one to two day space in between our expected harvest dates. The longest maturing varieties take upwards of 170 days to grow.

Now with the rice crop planted, we will work to keep weeds down and continue to maintain our field equipment so we’re ready for the fall harvest.

Punch Haskell grows rice in Colusa County and is part of a family farming operation that began approximately 60 years ago.