We have had a healthy rice crop. Here is insight into the crop cycle and some risks that the crop faced. Please read the planting spotlight for a view from Aug 21 - this is a sequel.
Healthy Rice Crop has Fared Well
The happy headline is that our organic rice crop has fared well this season and we have completed harvest as of November 21. This season has seen incessant rains like never before in recent memory. A lot of crops – vegetables, cotton, maize etc. – in the entire state have been damaged significantly.
Fortunately rice crop can tolerate some level of excess water except when it is too heavy to cause lodging of the crop, especially in its later stages. Here is some recounting of the crop over the last couple of months.
Manual Weeding Completed
One month after transplantation, we completed manual weeding with women labor. As you know, no weedicides are used in our organic crops and complete reliance remains on manual labor to identify and zap weed plants, so that the rice plants have the fullest access to resources to grow and yield well.
Fortunately, the weed pressure was not too high and did not require a second weeding, which becomes necessary in some seasons in some fields.
Pests and Diseases on Organic Rice
We have monitored the crop for pests and diseases continuously. Pests and diseases are a complex function of environmental factors, pest load and crop health. The season has been relatively free of a lot of pests and diseases.
Our organic crops are typically healthier, well balanced and are more resistant to issues. Our natural preventive biological protectants have additionally helped keep ours a healthy rice crop.
Harvesting Between the Rains
The non-stop heavy rains this season hit many farmers very badly. It has been terrible to see paddy grain spread for drying and taken to markets completely destroyed by unexpected rain, devastating the hopes of the producers in an instant.
We have been fortunate to have been spared from the fury of nature to have the paddy on the crop not soaked in the rains too much and to be able to harvest in time. Wet soil does not even permit the harvester machine to enter the field and untimely rains would have simply prevented a harvest.
We harvested the bulk of the crop area with a harvester and a small wet patch (where the harvester got stuck) with manual labor.
Drying the Grain
Protecting the grain from a sudden burst of rain and keeping it protected from dust, insects and soil needs careful drying. We had dried the grain in tarpaulins to keep it hygienic, having standby tarpaulins and our team always on the alert to cover the grain up at a moment’s notice.
Stacking the Hay
The hay from the crop is fodder for our desi cows and will sustain them for a long time in the year. We engaged labor to gather the hay using sticks and created a heap close to the cow shed for easy access.
Storing the Organic Paddy
We bag and store the thoroughly dried paddy in our godowns for many months before we mill it to brown or low polished rice. This duration of storage is essential for the rice to gain good cooking quality for the Indian palate. Chemically amylose in the rice responsible for stickiness in new rice gets reduced when stored for a few months.
So here is our organic paddy neatly stacked away until the next year, while we plan the next crops in the rice fallows.
That was how the organic healthy rice on the table makes it there!
Our rice from previous seasons is available to order here: