How to Grow Rice in the Great California Desert!

How to Grow Rice in the Great California Desert!


No bigger idiocy in California than allowing
rice farming. People are stupid. California has water issues and they’re
growing rice. Wow, what a WASTE of water! And again I ask, why are we growing rice in
California. Just because we can doesn’t mean we should. Rice farming in a desert, with scarce water
is only something morons would think was a great idea. These, and more like them, are messages I
received just this past month in the comment section of my seeding rice by airplane episode. Many of you enjoyed it and, in some cases,
learned a little something. Others, not so much. So, today on Rice Farming TV I’m going to
give you an update on our crop. And I guess I’m going to show you how to
grow rice in a desert. Rice farming in a desert, only with government
subsidized cash and cheap Mexican labor plus free land is this possible. [music] Now, before I address those interesting comments
and catch you up on my rice crop let’s do a little review. After all the tractor work we flooded our
fields with irrigation water, two inches deep. We then flew on our rice seed with great service
from our local ag-pilots at Williams Ag Service. And the growing season began. Our first field was planted on May 4th and
our last on May 17th. Pretty excellent planting window considering
we had late rains in March and April. Remember, our fields reflooded before we could
even start our tractor work. That was when even some of the back county
roads flooded. It was right around the time when the Department
of Water Resources, out of precaution, started releasing water from the Oroville Dam because
the reservoir was reaching concerning levels, near capacity. Yeah, that May 4th to May 17th planting window
was pretty good considering how wet it was. We had to start working the soil in less than
ideal conditions. We had to start the tractor work with portions
of the fields still muddy. Remember when I mentioned that in the John
Deere 8640 Saves the Day episode? Man, I can remember that like it was yesterday. And thank goodness we did start as early as
we did because in the third week of May, just after we seeded our last field, it started
raining again. And hard. I can remember going to work that first day
of the storms. I remember knowing that it was going to be
bad. Just not knowing how bad. I mean I had an idea: 2” of rain was called
for that day. Yeah, 2” of rain was forecasted. Although, remember the seeding episode, we
only want 2” of irrigation water in our newly planted fields. As I mentioned, it’s a crop-care strategy
to avoid drift, to keep the baby rice plants out of the scum, not to elongate the plant’s
leaves and to promote root growth. So we had 2” of irrigation water out there
and on that day the forecast called for an additional 2”. We got an additional 4” of water in that
one storm. We suffered drift. The baby rice was engulfed by scum. The leaves began to elongate. More rain was forecasted. Our baby rice was being stressed but at least
we were planted. Those fellow rice farmers still preparing
the soil had it worse. They had to stop, pushing their anticipated
plant date further into May or June. No one wants to plant rice in June. Because he growing season is cut short by cooling temperatures and potential rain in the fall. Both are detrimental to yield. But with all the rain that came in late May. Some would have to plant into June–into mid-June. Or worse yet, some would have to leave their
fields fallow, unplanted because of too much rain. Because of too much water. We had too much water. That’s right. Our rice fields, specifically, had too much
water and it kept raining and we were looking for solutions. Easy answer: get rid of the water, right? Send it downstream, just like the reservoirs
were doing. Why not pull the boards from our drain risers
and let it flow. Impossible. You see to combat early season weed pressure,
like watergrass, we needed, as usual, to fly on a pest management application. The particular treatment comes with a 30 day
water hold. No water can leave the field for 30 days–no
irrigation water, no rain water. The waterhold is in place so that the pest
management application has time to be effective, but also, and more importantly, has time to
breakdown. So our rice fields are locked down. They become a holding cell, a filter for the
environment and municipalities. We board up our water boxes between each section
of the field. We board up our drain risers and dump mud
in front of them so not a drop of water gets through. When the rain finally stopped in May our fields
we 8” deep. 6” deeper than we wanted them. All that water and no where to put it. Not for 30 days anyway. What were we going to do? After the plowing, the tillage, the landplaning,
the fertilizer, the seed, after all that time and money was it eventually all going to go
down the drain with this extra rain-water? In our eyes our plants were potentially drowning
and our year’s investment was sinking. Then pops had an idea. Pops always has an idea. An idea that required a backhoe. And the Picasso of moving dirt, none other
than backhoe Joe. You remember him! We couldn’t drain our fields that were under
a waterhold. But we could drain one of our later planted
fields where our watergrass treatment had yet been applied. It had been seeded but the rice was too young
for the pest management application. We could drain that field, put the seeds in
the mud, block up and seal off the field for a water hold, and then prepare to move the
treated water to that field. Skim some of the rain water off the top of
our treated fields and send that water down to this seeded but dried-out field. To do that we still needed to, obviously,
abide by the water hold. Backhoe Joe plugged up every drain riser on
the rice farm that would otherwise send water into the county’s irrigation system, creeks
or canals. We needed to create a completely closed system
for the entire farm, rather than just the individual rice field. We then needed to cut roads in order to move
treated rain water to the dried target field. We needed to dig out the mudded drain risers
of the treated fields so that excess rain water could flow out from these deep fields. [Music] We needed to dig out the side of a rice field
that otherwise wouldn’t naturally flow to that targeted field. We needed to contact the county ag commissioner
for approval and oversight. We needed to work fast. We needed to get the rice out from below the
excess water. Excess water! Rice farming in a desert, with scarce water
is only something morons would think was a great idea. We needed to work fast. We needed to get the rice out from below the
excess water. And we did it. [Music] We may have lost a little to drift, we may
have stretched out the rice plant’s younger leaves, we may have lost some pest management
efficacy from dilution, we definitely had to do a lot of extra work. We were definitely stressed. But we did it. We have a beautiful crop that is now in the
reproductive phase. Quite frankly, we have a crop that looks absolutely
gorgeous. We’re now able to take a breath and enjoy
our surroundings. Like this fox that was hanging out by an old
abandoned rice dryer. He’s a cute little guy. Or this gopher snake causing a traffic jam
on our old dirt road. Or atching this train slowly cruise passed
where we’ll eventually deliver our harvested rice this year, Red Top Rice Dryer. The ag-planes flying through the clear blue
sky, passing above us. Now, what were we talking about a the top
of this episode, before the crop year recap? Oh yeah that’s right: Rice farming in a desert, only with government
subsidized cash and cheap Mexican labor plus free land is this possible. Wow! I don’t know how other rice farmers would
respond to such a comment. Or any other of the comments I read at the
beginning of this episode. What I do know is that I’m proud to be a
third generation California rice farmer. I’m proud to work alongside my fellow rice
farmers, family’s that have been growing rice in the state for over a 100 years–drought
years and flood years. This is a sustainable crop. Rice farming in a desert… California’s terrain is diverse and not
just a large desert. The state’s rice growing region is located
in the water rich northern Sacramento Valley. We have several reservoirs and an intricate
irrigation system running through our cropland. But even before all that infrastructure this
region was a natural flood-plan, a wetland habitat—and our rice fields are now the
closest thing to that natural habitat–supporting over 200 wildlife species, including millions
of winter migratory birds traveling along the pacific flyway. Do you know how much it would cost to acquire
that amount of land and turn it into a comparable habitat for this wildlife? Just 3 billion dollars. Rice farming in a desert, only with government
subsidized cash… Government subsidies? Nope, only in the case that the price of rice
drops to a dramatic low would the government subsidize us with price support, so the floor
doesn’t drop out beneath us. The price would be so low that, even after
the subsidy, we’d probably break even on our crop. So the government is not sustaining us. What is sustaining us and has sustained us
for over 100 years of rice farming is the efficient use of resources, including water,
as well as science and technology. And hard, very hard work. Rice farming in a desert, only with government
subsidized cash and cheap Mexican labor… Cheap labor? State regulated minimum wage is increasing
annually now. Labor is not cheap nor should it be though
to find good, dependable help. And ethnicity has nothing to do with it. Rice farming in a desert, only with government
subsidized cash and cheap Mexican labor plus free land is this possible… Free land? No. I’m sorry but that’s just crazy. That’s actually the crazy cherry on top
of the crazy cake, man. Don’t be crazy. You want to make a case for abolishing the
California rice industry due to water usage? 2019 is not the year. As you watch this, reservoirs are full, above
historical average. The deep snowpack in the Sierra Nevadas are
melting and supplementing these already full reservoirs. Water is being released because of this; and
guess what–our crop year and water needs is almost over. We’re going to drain these fields in a matter
of weeks. And as I suspect, much of the water being
released by the reservoirs in going out into the San Francisco Bay, unused. Our water storage is full. We have a surplus of water. Do we need more water storage in the north
state? Yes, absolutely. So, spend your voting power wisely. But just for fun, say we do abolish rice. Rice is a dietary staple and the California
rice industry obviously supplements the global food supply. In the state we produce around 4.5 billion
pounds of rice a year and sell 50% of it domestically. Take that away and where are we going to get
it? China? China? China? Okay. But what about the 100s of small rural towns
that the rice industry supports? The mechanics, tractor operators, ag pilots,
small business owners diners, hardware stores, machine shops. 1,000s of jobs. Where are you going to make up that half a
billion dollars the California rice industry contributes to our state’s economy? And what about the wildlife benefit I mentioned
before. What’s going to happen when this ground
goes unplanted and barron. Just like those fields that were left out
this year due to those late rains in May. Look at them. They’re contributing next to nothing. That’s what you want? Maybe you want Mother Nature to calm down. The state seems to be in either in a drought
situation or a flood situation. Either way, if water is your concern than
we need more storage to help alleviate both scenarios. Look up Sites Reservoir. We’ve been pushing to have it built for
years. If it had been built before this past winter,
it’d be full right now. 580 billion more gallons of water for the
environment, municipalities and agriculture. I mean that would be one solution towards
a lot of people’s anxieties of water Storage. And I always think it’s better to build
up rather than tear down. What do you think? You think anyone who would say in the previous
episode, “Wow, what a waste of water”–made it this far in this episode? I hope so. I hope someone was educated. And speaking about education, more to come
on rice farming Tv, my friends. Remember, we bought a beautiful yellow school
bus! Also, I’ll be scouting my fields with the
Quantix hybrid drone and sharing my experience. That’s all coming up soon. Thanks for watching. Thank you for all your supportive comments. And don’t worry. I’m not bothered by the negative, uneducated
ones. But I do feel they need to be addressed. I hope this didn’t come off to ranty but
I needed to give you an update on the rice fields, an update on how I was feeling and
just share a little bit more about the California rice industry as a whole. Until next time! Much love. Thumbs up! [Music]

100 Replies to “How to Grow Rice in the Great California Desert!

  1. Perfect explanation. Hard work and efficient use of resources the key to rice farming( any farming). Support from a organic rice farmer from India.

  2. If California doesn't keep producing something useful except snowflakes and liberals its gonna fall off at the fault line into the ocean

  3. You are one of the best spokesmen for agriculture that I have seen. Keep up this valuable work! Many 👍👍👍👍👍😎

  4. I like the way they say cheap labor. No labor is cheap. But most are too lazy to get out of mamma's basement and get a real job. Or hang around a school with losers like themselves . My cousins look for pickers each summer ,but the people had rather draw food stamps and welfare .Y'all are doing one hell of a job. Shanks in the ground and reapers rollin.

  5. Your rice paddy looks great. What is the variety of the rice you grow? I grow jasmine rice in lower-northern Thailand.

  6. Can you talk more about marketing your rice after you harvest it? Do you sell it to Red Top or do they just dry and hold the rice while you find a buyer?

  7. Keep it coming Matt , you're doing great. There's always the ignorant haters – just ignore.
    We have 27Hct of rice in the Philippines….Trying to get from the current yield of 6.5T/Hct we get …up to the 12T/Hct that you are managing….gradually introducing technology to get there….Wish us luck

  8. Dear Farmer in my home town which is Punjab the north west of India we have digged the ground water level to 400 feet's by growing the rice /paddy . And we don't have any other options other then to use the ground water now with in next 20 years if we didn't do something my home land which is Punjab will turn into a desert with polluted land .if we have that much education and mechanical product s equipments we can save land but no one cares about my home town . if u got time then please type Punjab on Google

  9. wow stupid people,i could listen to you all day,thank you for showing us just how fake news starts.We just celabrated rice puddin day ,rice is a huge staple world wide only since watching you we've looked for Cal rice in store

  10. I once made a comment like that about rice farmers . I apologize . But some crops are being grown in places where they shouldn't .

  11. Keep fighting the good fight Matt! Those comments are precisely why what you are doing via Rice Farming TV is so important to the agricultural industry in California and beyond. The only way to combat ignorance is through education!

  12. 0:07 wrong spelling of "their" it should be "they're".

    BTW do they have any knowledge of geography or even common sense? Not all of California is desert, and anyone who just knows that the state is huge should be able to figure that out through common sense alone. Besides, humans can do just about anything under any circumstance if we try hard enough.

  13. Good explanation.
    I imagine future planting strategy will involve the movement of water from one field to another.
    As far as subsidies go. Anyone receiving water from dam reservoirs is receiving subsidized water. Municipalities, golf courses, lawns, farm ground and industries all receive subsidized water.

  14. People who live in cities who do not understand or even realize what goes on in Farming could ever say the things they said. These same people do not respect those that grow the food that feeds them everyday. But if the food stops coming they will be out in the streets rioting within days.

  15. It’s simple minded ignorance that produce those comments. There is always going to be idiots! Don’t bother with them. They will self destruct!

  16. Came here because of the video title and basically got brow beat about how we all need to be sensitive and respectful of each other FFS…

  17. Legend says that the husks aren't burned after harvest in California. Is there a video about how they are composted?

  18. We appriciate your work..and i understand that comment hurts ur feelings..just ignore that poor viewer..by the way how many acers you cultivate..

  19. Supper sad some people still think milk comes from Walmart or a horse . Thanks for Educating the troubled souls!

  20. Thank you for your honest reply to those comments, Matt! I live in heart of the grass seed growing area of Oregon and am friends with many of the farmers around here. They are some of the hardest working business people I know.

  21. You rock sir why u r shoot a vedio in india espically in andhra Pradesh could u come to India and enjoy andhra Pradesh culture u definitely enjoyed I square

  22. May God bless you with a golden harvest …… And let them bark who can't leave their TV screens and potato chip packs

  23. ป้าดทิโท้ ยอดเยี่ยมจริงๆ

  24. LOL. Poor @Michael Samuel. Must be tough being schooled so publicly. I wish I could say that it will cause people to consider their words more carefully, but unfortunately there are plenty of ignorant people making ignorant comments on the web.

  25. Rice farming in a desert..,😂😂😂
    Go ahead do rice farming..
    It's not just economy but plenty of food for all types living stocks.
    The rice is the only plantation which provides nutrition for all.
    Rice has actually three sections.
    Top feeds human
    Middle feeds cattle
    Bottom feeds soil.
    You can learn lot about paddy
    Bcoz its very exciting subject.

  26. only places in California that's suffering from water shortages are places with extreme illegal alien infestation… liberal city planners simply didn't think that future liberals would hate America so much because they suck at life that they would willingly turn California into a Mexico City suburb with millions of illegals streaming over the boarder each year.

  27. Well said Matt. And what an innovative solution to what could have been a disaster for the farm! By saving your crop you saved the govt the flood disaster relief funds that could now be spent elsewhere like flooded road repair and flooded homes and by saving the crop you saved a local community the loss of income that farming supports to local business for the year. Fuel, taxes, equipment maintenance, crop storage, and yeah, federal business income taxes all depend on a successful crop. Ask Nebraska corn farmers what all that rain did this year for their crop.

  28. I like this guy a lot. when I first saw this channel I to was a bit concerned about all that water in what i thought was a desert, but I decided to look through his channel and see if i was wrong. This wonderful video showed me the answer to my question in wonderful fashion, and I didn't even have to comment like an arrogant asshole.

  29. Hey, it is an informative video. I just wanted to ask, however, what is the percentage of groundwater in irrigation in the rice field of California. Also, do you use irrigation technology other than flood irrigation in your rice fields?

  30. I'm curious, can you do a secondary crop growing with your rice…like snails. Or would they eat the rice. I've been studying rice in Phillipines and the snails in the fields. I have not seen anything that they effect the crop. They harvest the snail and what's not collected goes back into fertilizer.

  31. Look up "great lakes Council using a Yamaha UAV drone to spray Bitou Bush" on ytube. I'll find the Japanese copter drone for you. Their drone was a bit bigger and did 20 acres in less then 15 minutes. It was also tied in to gps.

  32. I've been looking for a source of rice hay, but find it extremely difficult to find rice hay that might not be touched by live stock. How come so much rice is grown, yet it's so difficult to find rice hay?

  33. The majority of the rice is grown in Northern California, in the wetlands https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_iFRQkrUETA&list=PLz3ReJx7veDHSHpFcRtmdIWhfumamV0uu&index=14&t=3359s @ 22:00 etc.

  34. Rice uses a lot of water? I think corn uses more and depletes the soil more as well. Never seen a field seeded by plane but it makes sense.

  35. I have no idea how you kept your cool with those idiots in the comments section, all I know is that I would have gone ballistic! Keep up the good work my fellow farmer!

  36. We are working on getting permits to remove the communist green new deal complainers, bureaucracies, right?? Cant live with 'em, can't live without 'em

  37. Well said Matt some of us know what's going on remember there's no cure for stupidity you can try to treat it by explaining but good luck that may not work thanks you tried my friend

  38. Thanks for sharing. When people in "blue zones" tell those in "red zones" how to do their work… it just doesn't work out. Stick to expertise on skinny jeans, skinny lattes and consuming the food produced by people who know best how to do their work… TO FEED those who don't (and CAN'T) farm for themselves. Thank you for your hard work to feed us! 🙂

  39. Leftists don't understand reality. They think magic fairies conjure their food and deliver it to them in their ivory towers.

  40. Lets do a video of the reservoirs sometime. And some education on some of the govt controls and regulations….such as the 30 day hold. Great stuff…when you consider that most of the world that grows rice and use chemicals DONT have any controls and efficiencies at all.

  41. You're lucky, with all that free land and government subsidies wherein when it came to black farmers the government refused to give them free land and subsidies their needs. What a place! Look like you've been doing a lot of hard work.

  42. Don't listen to the little TURDS, I will guarantee you that everyone of them are talking with there mouth full. If the wacked out liberals in Sacramento had not have wasted billions of dollars on "high speed rail" California could have built the dams needed to avoid the drought calamity that the moonbeam governor and the clan in Sacramento brought down upon you

  43. The people that made those comments are the same people that voted to ban plastic straws but give out free needles for drugs 🤦🏼‍♂️🤦🏼‍♂️

  44. The way you calmly counter stupidity made within a few seconds used to post a comment is commendable.

    Keep up the great work, offline and online.

  45. These rice haters are complete morons man they just jealous cause we make bank and they don’t and bro you should spend more time at sun valley then at bucra or lundbergs

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