Rice: From The Paddy Fields To Your Plate

Groceries and supermarkets have made food shopping so easy that we often don’t think about where our food comes from.  Meat, vegetables, grains, and other goodies just seem to appear magically in our markets and we reap the benefits.

But something even as simple as rice undergoes a complicated process in order to get to our grocery stores.  The process is pretty interesting and it might make you re-think the way you look at that next bowl of rice.

It might make your dishes even more satisfying to know so much care and effort has gone into getting the rice to your kitchen. Therefore, it is rather good for you to know how do paddy fields work.

How does rice grow in paddy fields?

Before planting rice, the soil in the paddy must be turned over to make it soft. This process can be divided into three stages: rough tillage, fine tillage, and leveling.

In the past, animal power and plow tools were mainly used. Animal-like buffaloes are used to prepare the soil for plowing, but now they have been replaced by machines for plowing.

paddy field
paddy field

Preparing

Even before the rice is placed into the ground and grown, there is an elaborate preparation process that takes place.  Rice needs very specific conditions in order to grow and fields have to be leveled and surrounded by water dikes.  The fields are then plowed and watering equipment is then installed into the rice fields.

Planting

After the seeds are washed, they are either planted into the ground by hand or by airplane.  In most Asian countries rice is still planted by hand because most farmers are poor.

Laborers will painstakingly plant each seed by hand, making sure to leave enough space between seeds.  After about a month these seeds are moved from nursery beds to paddy fields.  In the States, rice seeds are usually planted by a low-flying airplane.

Harvesting

Ever wonder how long does it take to harvest rice? Well, generally, after three months of growth, rice is ready to be harvested and picked.  The water is drained from the paddy fields which cause the rice grains to further ripen.  In Asian countries, these seeds are harvested by hand while in the States, there is usually elaborate equipment that can harvest the seeds mechanically.

The grains are then put into racks that are either placed under the sun or under a mechanical heater.  This takes away more moisture from the grains and allows the rice to further ripen.

Hulling and Milling

The rice grains then go through a process that removes the outer hulls from the inner grains.  Hulling is basically a rough process that bangs and smashes the hulls from the centers.  Some farmers do this by hand using stones while others rely on equipment to perform this task.

Once the hulls are removed they are thrown away and the rice grains are left behind.  In some cases, a thin layer of glucose is added to the grains to add sheen and color.

Enriching process

Because most of the nutrients in rice lie in the hulls, an enriching process has to be done in order to add the vitamins and minerals back into it.  The pressure is often used in order to transfer the nutrients from the hulls into the kernels.  In some cases, rice is placed into a nutrient-rich bath that further infuses the kernels with vitamins and minerals.

rice
rice

Packaging

The rice is then left to dry and placed into large satchels or bags that are sent to our local markets and grocery stores.  Pricing depends largely on the region where the rice has come from and the types of kernels that have been harvested.

As you can see, there’s a lot that goes on in order to get this seemingly simple grain onto your plate.  It takes a lot of time and manpower in order to access these delicious grains.

Your Dinner Table

The rice you’ve purchased at the supermarket has gone through an incredible journey. But now it’s going to its most exciting adventure yet. It’s about to be turned into a delicious dish for your family to enjoy.

Rice is a great food to work with because it offers a lot of versatility while absorbing all of your favorite flavors. You can use it as a side for scrumptious meals this feature prime rib or baked salmon.

You can also feature it more prominently with a hearty dish is like risotto. It also provides wonderful opportunities to explore other cultures and their cuisine, especially Asian ones. How about homemade sushi for your next family meal? Would congee hit the spot? It’s all made possible with rice.

What is the difference between rice and paddy?

The difference between rice and paddy is the field that grows the paddy is called paddy field. The entire plant that grows from the paddy field is called paddy. The crop that can be harvested and eat is called rice.

In Chinese, paddy before cook is call mi (米), after cooked is called fun(饭). But in English, it is called rice doesn’t matter whether it is before or after cook.

paddy rice

How to increase paddy yield?

At present, most farmers cultivate paddy fields by laying paddy stalks in the fields and then insert into the soil. The farmers will then planting green manure plants in the paddy fields, and waiting for two to three weeks before transplanting. After that, the green manure is stirred into the soil.

Decomposing these natural fertilizers by microorganisms in the soil can not only achieve the purpose of conserving paddy fields but also reduce the negative effects of chemical fertilizers. It is a two-pronged approach to increase the yield of the paddy!

How do paddy fields produce methane?

The amount of methane released is affected by photosynthesis of paddy plants. Paddy growth produces methane gas by feeding microbes living under the paddy fields.

Rice farming is one of the main causes that generated methane gas. In a world that is affected by climate change, growing rice is becoming less environmentally friendly.

Higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere cause rice in paddy fields to grow at a faster rate. This, in turn, accelerates the microbes living under the rice fields and causing more methane to enter the atmosphere.

In addition, rising temperatures will reduce rice production, which means that more methane is produced in the paddy field.

However, if the farmers adopt new farming techniques, this problem can actually be solved.

For example, since 2000, Chinese rice farmers have begun to drain rice fields instead of flooding rice fields in the middle of the growing season and using different fertilizers which have greatly reduced methane emissions.

Other recommendations from scientists include switching to heat-tolerant rice and changing the dates for planting and harvesting. This will help alleviate the problem of reduced production and effectively reduce methane emissions of paddy field.

Read also: Innovative New Farming Methods To Boost Production

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