RICE FARMING: Proven guide to grow rice ( with pictures)
Have you ever wondered how rice is grown?, or are you trying to find a way to grow rice? if yes, then you are definitely in the right article, as you will learn the complete step by step guide on how to farm or grow rice. Actually, to grow rice is very simple.
Rice need to be grown on a wetland or a well irrigated land with good amount of sunshine and with enough soil fertility, take care of it and harvest in four months.
Rice is the second most popular cereal in the whole world after maize (corn).
It is the seed of the grass species Oryza sativa (or Oryza glaberrima for African rice). It’s leave is 20 to 30 inches tall.
This plant could be 3 feet to 6 feet tall or above, depending on the variety and the type of weather and soil involved.
It serves as a staple food for the world.
The largest rice producing continent is Asia, championed by China, Thailand, Malaysia, etc.
Asia produces the highest amount of rice, yet they are the largest consumer of it.
In Africa and America, USA do import rice in a larger amount and Nigeria is the largest importer of rice in Africa and also the largest producer too.
Rice is consumed all over the world, but it is grown only in some places that has the conducive environment for it to be grown on.
In USA, growing of rice is hard, unless in the southern states like carlifornia, where the weather is some how balanced for it’s cultivation.
The type or suitable soil for rice cultivation are: Sandy loam to loamy sand to silty loam to clay loams, silty to clay loam soils with low permeability, free of sodicity are considered best for rice farming.
It is a very good drinker, so It require a damp or waterlogged land, as I have stated above.
It also require or does exceptionally great on hot temperature of about 70°F.
Rice is very rich in carbohydrate, vitamins and some Varieties contain some amount of protein and it is very low in cholesterol, making it a widely accepted food since more than 5,000 B.C till date.
It comes in many colors which includes white, brown etc.
And it is used as a raw material to manufacture liquor, rice flour etc.
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With all said, now let’s dive into the main topic, on how to grow rice.
LOCATING THE LAND/LAND PREPARATION
When starting a rice farm, the first and the most important thing to look out for and consider is the location of the land ( farm).
This is very important because it will determine the outcome (yield) of your crop.
When choosing the land or place to grow rice, the place should contain a water body such as lake, river or even stream or sea or at least the place should have a good irrigation system in case it doesn’t have any water body. This is due to the fact that rice is a heavy drinker and it does require to be grown on a wet and waterlgged land, and even inside the water (flooring rice).
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Apart from having enough water, rice plant also require full and un- interrupted access to the sun.
This is because rice does great in a warmth environment and detest cold environment, (frost) that’s why this plant could hardly be grown in some regions of the world that has a very cold environment, such as the Antarctica etc.
So when selecting the location of the rice farm, make sure the place is adequately exposed to good amount of sunshine.
Although rice could be planted anywhere, be it lowland, on top of a hill, etc, but for the fact there is enough water involved. Also it should not be in anyway grown in a place that has a very tough wind. Wind could blow the plant apart and even uproot it.
When siting the rice farm, the land or soil should be any type of loamy soil, be it clay, sandy, etc, but for the fact it has enough fertility and could be able to retain good amount of Water, the rice will do just fine.
The soil pH should be between 5 to 10 and could be supported with both organic manure and artificial fertilizers if necessary.
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When the good or conducive land is selected, the next process is to prepare it for the rice farming.
When growing rice on dry land, with the help of irrigation, the land should be prepared adequately by clearing the bush, if any and plouging the land.
The bush could be cleared with either manual tools such as shovel, rake, wheelbarrow, Cutlass or with the help of a machine (tractor) which makes the work easier.
When ploughing the land, machine could also be used to soften the hard work or it could be done manually with the help of tools such as shovel, hoe.
After ploughing and softening the soil, organic manures such as animal dungs ( cow,goat,chicken,pig dungs etc) should be sprayed on the empty land and a maximum of 3 weeks or a month should be given before the rice could be sown. This is to enable and give the manure enough time to break down and dissolve into the soil.
One very unique thing about growing rice on dry land is it is very suitable for growing of rice in the dry season.
Rice is also grown in the water. To prepare for this method of rice farming, a small body of still water ( non moving water) is needed. The deepness of the water should not be higher than 9 inches.
Usually, this type of water is constructed from the main water bodies.
Rice could be transplanted, if the direct sowing method is not necessary. In fact, the transplant method is very popular and widely used in Asian countries.
This method reduces the possibility of the rice not germinating to a very minimum level and requires a smaller amount of rice compared to the direct sowing method.
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To prepare for this method, a well Irrigated small land is needed. plough the land or make beds there, where the rice will be sown temporarily, and once they germinate and grow to some level, then they should be transplanted!.
GETTING OF RICE/PLANTING
The method is direct sowing, once the land has been prepared and the manures has dissolved into the soil, the next phase is to get the rice and plant.
To get the rice to plant, it is very important to order it from a very reputable seed company, store or from a local government because the quality of the rice will determine the outcome of the plant. Although there are many varieties of rice, and so the type of rice to be grown in a particular environment is determined by the environment, so find out from the seed store or local government before purchasing.
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When the rice have arrived, applied fungicide and pesticides on them, then take them to the prepared land and sow.
If the method is transplant, also rob them with fungicide and pesticides, then take them to their temporary farm and plant them.
Some people do use a very transparent nylon to cover the whole of the farmland immediately the rice has been sown, it is because the nylon will help to heat the soil which will aid the germination process of the rice.
With the transplant method, once the rice have germinated and must have grown strong enough to be transplanted, then they should be uprooted and transplant to the permanent place ( farmland).
To do this, tools such as farm shovel is needed to uproot them.
Adequate care should be taken while uprooting them in order not to damages the roots with the tools.
CARE OF RICE FARM
There is an adage that says ” rice is not a plant and harvest crop”. This is very true because once rice has been planted and germinated, the work doesn’t just stop there, in fact this is when more effort is needed, so that the rice could be adequately be taken care of and thus grow well enough for good yields and profit.
There are many ways in which rice plant could be taken care of, they includes:
Providing Enough Water For Them: As I have been mentioning it above in this topic, water is the most important factor in rice production ( farming).
Rice do require unlimited amount of water, that’s why it is best grown inside a water or very close to a water body, so that the land could be wet always.
When farming rice on a dry land, enough irrigation system should be put in place to enable uninterrupted supply of water to the farm.
When watering a rice farm, no matter the the size of the land, wether small or large, the use if manual watering system is very unnecessary and unneeded.
This is due to the fact that rice farm needs to be wet always and at the same time under heavy sun heat, so no amount of manual application of water could keep the soil wet for a long time.
The best way to irrigate rice farm on dry land is to channel a water hose to a water body or a bore-hole or well, where the hole will have unlimited amount of water, which will be used to provide the plants with good amount of water.
The rain could also be of great help with the irrigation process, that’s why it is very advisable to start planting rice when the rainy season is about to start.
This will go a long way to help on subsidizing the amount of water being applied and thereby doing some of the work for you. ( Although rice could be farmed at any season).
Exposing to Sunlight: Another great way to take care of the rice plants is to expose them to good amount of sunshine by locating the farmland where there is enough sunlight and warmth.
Sunlight and heat is the reason most regions don’t produce ( cultivate) rice because this plant can’t survive in a place where there is no good amount of sunshine per day.
Application Of Manure/ Chemical Fertilizers: Manure or Fertilizer is very important in rice farming, due to the fact that rice do require enough nutrients in order to grow awesomely well and give a bountiful harvest (yield).
As I have mentioned earlier in this article, before sowing the rice on a dry land planting method, first of all, the land should be ploughed and some manures applied on the empty land and allowed to dissolve. ( it could take 3 weeks or a month to dissolve).
When the Manures have dissolved, then plant the rice.
With this method of fertilization, the land will stay very fertile and give the plants that initial boost which goes a long way to determine the total outcome of the harvest.
In about a month later, apply again and do the same the upper month which is the final before the plants are harvested.
If Chemical Fertilizer is being used, it should be applied in the first month of the germination of the plants.
About an acre of rice farm requires about 15kg of nitrogen, 12 kg of Phosphorus and 12 kg of Potash. So make sure to get Fertilizer that contains all these. It will go a long way in helping the plants.
Chemical Fertilizers should be applied at Lea 2 times and a maximum of 3 times per month before the maturity of the plants.
Pest Control: Pest is a very great obstacle to rice farming and so should be taken care of!.
Rice pests varies depending on the age of the plants.
Before the germination, pests such as insects, worms etc do attack and if not properly taken care of could result to a very huge lost. This is the main cause of un- germinated seeds in rice farm.
To control or take care of this, before planting the seeds, fungicide and insecticide should be applied to the rice and also the land should be properly treated. This goes a long way to reduce the amount of pests in the soil and also prevent them from attacking the seeds.
When the rice grows and mature, pests such as squirrel, owl, and so many kinds of birds might feast on the crops if not prevented.
To control this, measures such as keeping of scarecrows in the farm should be implemented, or the farm should always be watched and protected from pests.
Weeding: Weed is another great disturbing factor that may destabilize the over all growth and development of the plants if not taken care of.
Based on the fact that rice farm should be very wet and fertile, this does not have the tendency to boost the rapid growth of the plants, also it does attract good amount of weed.
Within a short period of planting the rice, weeds of all type may start sprouting from every angle of the farm and if not properly taken care of will have to compete with the crops in terms of sucking off the soil nutrients and the water which the plants require to grow and develop.
To take care or Control the weed, it could either be done manually or with the use of chemicals.
To control it manually, tools such as weeding hoe, wheelbarrow, rake and farm shovel is needed to uproot them, then rake and pack them in a wheelbarrow and be disposed off!.
This could be done at least 2 times, depending on the type of land before the maturity of the plants.
To control weed with chemicals, I normally apply chemicals such as herbicides on the empty farm land before even sowing the rice. This does prevent the immediate sprout of weeds and thus giving the plants the chance to grow up without any atom of competition.
Although chemicals could be applied when the plants might have grown already. In fact at anything the weed sprout out.
Apart from deadly pests, rice also have some diseases/viruses that do attack it, such as rice blast (Pyricularia oryzae Cav) and Brown spot (Cochliobolus miyabeanus) etc. These diseases should be looked out for and any sign of them should be taken care of by contacting the local government authority near you or any specialist you can get hold of.
When all the hard work is done, the next step is the most exciting step, which is the harvest stage.
Rice plant do reach maturity stage in average of 4 months, depending on the variety and also on the type of soil and farming system involved.
When the rice plants turn from Green to yellow,brown, then it is ready to be harvested. Or when the moisture content into the grain reduces to 20 to 25 percent.
To harvest a rice farm, there are two methods involved, they are the use of the traditional way which is the manual method and the use of machine.
Rice harvesting activities involves cutting, stacking, handling, threshing, cleaning and hauling.
To harvest manually, is very labor intensive and does require alot of time and energy.
Tools such as suckles and Knives are required to cut the rice, cut the stalks.
When they are cut, they should be piled up in a wheelbarrow or truck and taken to the place where they will be processed.
To harvest rice farm with machine, machines such at reapers or harvesters ate needed, depending on the largeness of the farm.
This method of rice harvest is the easiest and the fastest, and it require no labor.
When machines are used for this, a larger amount of rice is farmered and harvested. So many developed countries such as China, USA etc utilize mechanized method of farming and harvesting to produce large quantity of rice.
If everything goes well, an acre land should produce between 1500kg to 3000kg of rice, which is very huge.
PROCESSING/STORAGE OF RICE
Rice farming doesn’t end in growing and harvesting. After harvesting, the next step is to process and store them.
In many countries, there are so many rice Mill where rice is processed, but it could also be processed manually at home.
The manual processing method greatly depends on the quantity of rice produced.
To process the rice manually, after harvesting, allow them to dry by wrapping them in a newspaper, for a period of two to three weeks in a warm, dry place.
Once the rice stalks have dried, roast them in a very low heat oven under a temperature of 200 F./93 C for about an hour, then remove the hulls by hand.
To store them, after processing, pack them in a dry bag and keep in a dry and we’ll ventilated place.
When stored properly, it could last for many years without spoiling. Also check out for the activities of pests such as rat and cocroaches which might break the bags and eat them.
IMPORTANCE OF RICE FARMING/IT’S USES
I cannot explain how to grow or cultivate rice without stating the importance and what rice is used for.
There are many benefits of rice which you may know or which you may not have discovered yet, some of them are:
Rice is used to make alcoholic drinks. The Chinese are mainly the producers of this type of liquor which it’s raw material is from rice.
It is used to make flour. There is a special rice flour which is made from grounded rice and it is used for baking.
One of the main reasons for rice farming is because not it’s economic benefits. We all know that rice is the second most popular cereal in the whole world, which makes it a very great cash crop and source of income for both many countries and individuals, hence they engage in large rice farming for the economic benefits.
Rice is eating as food and it is also used to produce so many types of different foods in the industries.
It has many health benefits such as vitamins and minerals, large quantity of carbohydrate which is very good for the brain and the body in general, some varieties contain protein.
Apart from human consumption, rice is used to feed some animals and even used in the Industries to produce animal feeds.
With the explanations above, I hope you have learned alot from it and you could be on your way to become a successful rice farmer.
Good luck to you as you explore this agricultural giant cash crop ( rice farming).
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