Rice cultivation methods


April: Seed Planting and Nursery


Select heavy and well-formed rice seeds and plant them in a nursery. Prepare the rice paddy for sowing the grown seedlings. Plow the paddy with a tractor to aerate the soil. Fill the paddy with water and use the tractor to mix the water and soil, leveling the paddy.


May to June: Planting


Planting is carried out from May to June. When the seedlings have grown, with about 5 leaves sprouting, and the air temperature exceeds 13°C, indicating that the paddy water has warmed up, it's time to plant the seedlings. The seedlings are bundled together, with several seedlings in each bundle, and planted with a spacing of approximately 20-30 cm between each bundle.

In the past, all planting was done manually, which was a labor-intensive task. However, nowadays, specialized rice planting machines are used to plant the seedlings. The seedlings are prepared in advance and placed in dedicated nursery boxes to make them easier to set in the machine.



Tillering


As the rice plant grows, new stems will sprout from the base of the main stem. This process is called tillering, and rice plants continue to tiller until there are about 20 stems.



Weed Control


As the rice grows, weeds also emerge in the paddy. Regularly removing these weeds is crucial. Failure to do so promptly can result in competition for nutrients, which can hinder the growth of the rice plants.

July: Drying the Paddy

 

After the tillering process, typically around July, the paddy water is completely drained, allowing the soil to dry. This helps introduce fresh air into the soil, promoting better rice growth. When the rice plants start producing ears, they will eventually bloom into flowers. It's important to protect the young "inaho" (rice ears) from sparrows.

To deter sparrows, scarecrows are placed in rice fields to protect the crops.



Harvest (End of August to October)

 


When the rice grains become firm and no longer need water, the paddy water is drained. When the rice grains turn yellow, it's a sign that they are ready for harvest. The rice plants are cut using a sickle (kama). After harvesting, the rice is left to dry for a while. Once the rice has dried, the husks are removed from the rice grains, a process called threshing.

Farmers often use a specialized machine called a combine harvester to streamline both the cutting and threshing operations. They separate the husks from the rice grains, leaving only the grains. These grains are known as unpolished rice (genmai). To produce the white rice commonly consumed, the unpolished rice is further processed through polishing.
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