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Rice Paddy Preparation – Fertilizing and Wet Tilling

April 29, 2013
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A Japanese farmer fertilizes his rain soaked rice paddy prior to eventual flooding and planting of the plot.

A Japanese farmer fertilizes his rain soaked rice paddy prior to eventual flooding and planting of the plot.

Spring SeasonWith the coming of Spring is the coming of Spring storms in Japan.  The storms, along with the initial drenching rains of the season loosen hard, dry soil and partially flood rice paddies.

Farmers finish the final preparations of their paddies before planting rice seedlings.

Depending on soil requirements, both inorganic or organic fertilizer is often spread broadly across the now boggy paddies.  This is done either by hand, or by tractor, depending on the size and capitalization of the farming operations.

Additional water is then added to paddies from the vast surrounding network of spigots, pumps and water channels that service farming areas in Japan.  Water floods the rice paddy plots to a depth of approximately 2-4 inches above the mud level.

Paddies were already dry tilled  in late Winter to loosen soil while the paddies were dry.  Following flooding, most paddies require final leveling of mud beneath the water level before rice seedlings can be finally planted.  The wet tilling process is also usually carried out by tractor.

Wet tilling ensures all seedlings are covered with a similar depth of water for growth.  Seedlings will otherwise dry out if planted in mud that is too shallow, or drown if planted too deep.

A Japanese rice farmer wet tills his rice paddy to level the mud beneath the water's surface.

A Japanese rice farmer wet tills his rice paddy to level the mud beneath the water’s surface.  In the above photo, the foreground area of the rice paddy is yet to be wet tilled, while the background area is level and covered with 2-4 inches of water.

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