Nowhere in the world is rice production more advanced than in California. Careful attention to every step in the cropping cycle and milling ensures that rice produced in our warm Mediterranean climate meets - and often exceeds - our customers' expectations for great rice.
Premium organically grown rice begins with the proper preparation of the soil. This process begins at the end of the rice season in late winter to early spring. After the rice harvest is completed, the rice straw is chopped and integrated back into the soil. Polit Farms organic fields are never burned. The field is then flooded to decompose the straw faster and restore lost nutrients to the soil.
During these winter months, cover crops such as Purple Vetch are planted to improve the soil fertility and tilth. Cover crops add a substantial amount of organic material and nitrogen to enrich the soil. Lastly, compost is added to the soil for further fertilization before the rice is planted.
In the early spring the rice fields are prepared for planting, the fields are first chisel-plowed, followed by discing and finally laser planed to form the seed bed. The primary method for seeding the fields is to flood the field and broadcast the seed by airplane. This method aids in control of water grass weeds. Another form of planting is to drill the seed into the soil which helps control broad leaf grasses. The heavy seeds sink into the furrows and are now ready to grow
Maturation of Rice
The rice grows rapidly, ultimately reaching a height of 3 feet. During this time, farmers are careful to maintain a consistent water depth of the same 5 inches. By late summer, the grain begins to appear in long panicles on the top of the plant. By September, the grain heads are mature and ready to be harvested. On average, each acre will yield over 8,000 pounds of rice!
Weed and Pest Control
We use natural weed control such as pre-irrigation, deep water and crop rotation. Another method we use after rice has established a stand is called the "Dry up Method" which is used to kill broadleaf and sedges. It involves close monitoring during dry up and helps the young rice plants to compete with weeds for ground space.