The busy rice planting season is just around the corner. As such, rice paddy planting preparations have been proceeding at a furious pace in the last few weeks.
While the weather is not yet warm enough to set rice seedlings out into the paddies, many farmers would at least be comforted by the thought that the preparatory jobs are largely complete in many growing areas.
The paddies have been left dry throughout the entire Fall and Winter season. In preparation for this year’s re-flooding, the dried grass from the previous season has been overturned into the soil. Tilling also levels the small rice growing plots from one embankment to the other. This is important as water will later need to cover newly planted rice seedlings to an even depth across the entire paddy area.
Water containment embankments on the sides of the rice paddies have also been repaired and strengthened where-ever damaged or weakened, so water spigots can later be safely opened for re-flooding of the plots, without concerns the water might break the banks and quickly drain away. Drainage channels and systems are also checked and cleared of debris.
While rice paddies have been prepared outside, trays upon trays of new rice seedlings all across Japan have been prepared inside under the protective cover of greenhouses. The seedlings’ earlier germination and growth is timed during Winter so the seedlings develop to a size where they are ready for re-planting into freshly flooded paddies as soon the new season’s weather allows.
It is a busy and important period for Japanese farmers. All related paddy preparation tasks must be completed and timed together to help ensure the rice growing season gets off to a good start with no problems or delays.