THIRD STEP: TREATMENT
Field preparation and planting is followed by the 3rd phase of rice cultivation: the seedling must be protected from the attacks of pests and the spread of weeds. The most common technique is to interchange cycles of submergence (harmful to the development of some weeds) with dry cycles (harmful to the development of some insects).
But that is not enough. In the past female workers were doing the manual cleaning of the rice paddies, whereas today we use the combination of mechanical, biological and chemical systems.
Now we are going to tell you what has changed!
Chemical treatment mechanized
hand weeding = 350 hours per hectare
Until 50 years ago the female workers had been evicting the weeds all day in paddy fields with their back bent
• Manual Labor -> hard work and sweat
• Long time -> a great number of workers
• Cultivation according to nature = low environmental impact + product quality
YESTERDAY: HERBICIDES AND CHEMICAL FERTILIZERS
chemical treatment mechanized = 20 minutes per hectare
Mechanical means such as chemical fertilizers and herbicides (distributed before and after seeding) have been used since 1950.
• Motorized means and chemicals -> less fatigue
• Less time -> limited labor
• Forcing nature = high environmental impact + product of a lower quality
TODAY: INTEGRATED TREATMENTS
Our aim is to improve the quality of rice by reducing the use of chemicals. For example, the use of crop-rotation is introduced, which controls wet and dry cycles and practices dry planting that enables the rice to be well planted in the soil reducing the development of harmful aquatic organisms.
• Conventional farms: use of mineral fertilisers and reintegration into the ground of all the crop residues. -> High quality, productivity and competitiveness.
• Organic Farm: use only fertilizers and natural products (tilling, droppings and natural fertilizers). -> Excellent quality, but lower productivity and competitiveness.
FOURTH STEP: HARVESTING
The last phase of the rice cultivation is harvesting, which is carried out between early September and late October, depending on the variety, time of seeding and weather conditions. Today, modern combine harvesters cut the mature rice (harvest) and separate it from the straw (threshing), while the trailers bring it to the drying kiln .
Yesterday, the harvest was done by using sickles, where sheaves were left to dry in the sun. Threshing was done manually by beating the stems against the ground, or trampled by the horses’ hooves (a lot of grains got damaged).
Threshing reaper = 1 person and 1 combine
Depending on the method of threshing, we can distinguish the following methods: the first one -cutting method that involves cutting off the top part of the ear of the stems of a variable height, and the second one – stripper method that involves unbroken stems from which rice is ‘shelled’. Both micro-environments that are formed due to these two techniques create an optimal place for several species of birds. In particular, during the period of a large-scale migration in autumn, the stubble fields make a perfect place of interest for birds.
Find out more about other stages of the Rice Road: