Rice Planting Season approaches
By Tim Johnson
Spring rains in the Sacramento Valley are not unusual. This time of year, however, farmers like their rain stored behind reservoirs and in an ample snow pack.
The cool days and weekly rains we have been seeing in March and now April delay field work and ultimately will set the start of planting back. Normally, we would already see tractors pulling discs and chisels through the fields to open up and dry the soil. This year those tractors are still in the barns are waiting for the water from the early April storms to disappear.
Another challenge can be seen in those fields that are adjacent to the rivers and flood bypasses. High waters cause seepage into the adjoining fields, further delaying drying.
On the positive side, we were able to get through similar wet conditions several years ago. Tractors are bigger as are the implements they tow. Less time is needed to prepare the fields than a decade ago.
Farmers, sushi lovers and all of the wildlife that use California rice fields are all anticipating the start of those bright, sunny California days so we can get about the business of planting this year’s crop.