米農家中西のデジカメ百姓日記

My Winter-Flooded Rice Field Project

             In the year 2005, I started to adopt the winter- flooded method in just a part of my rice fields. But later, I have expanded the method in my whole rice fields through taking  Iwasaki Nobuo-san's challenge as my model. The aims of this project are to master the ultimate way of tending rice organically, to offer my rice  as a relief to people all over Japan. And lastly, to build a direct relationship between me as a farmer and the customers.

             The method of flooding the water into the rice field with remaining stubble is very important. The stubble of the rice after the harvesting time should stay because there are different kinds of organisms living in the rice fields. I think that their eggs and its bed are very important to maintain the natural condition of the rice field and furthermore to grow enough soft sediment layers. That is why the natural condition of the rice field should not be destroyed by too much plowing of the soil while flooding it during winter because the organisms are very active indeed at this time.

                 In the midst of my farming experience there was also an amazing phenomenon that happened which I want to share with.
Ordinarily, when the autumn harvest season starts and ends, water is drawn from the rice field and the land is laid fallow until next spring. But after the harvest, the water is flooded again. The rice fields, in which the water remains flooded in winter, are lived with different kinds of tiny wildlife such as microorganisms and tubifex worms that remain active throughout the winter season.  I had made a rule to flood water in the rice field at around the beginning of December 2005 until December 2008. But the soft sediment layer didn’t grow actually as thick as I expected.


       In 2009, I somehow tried to start flooding water shortly after harvesting at around the end of October. But in my surprise, I found out that the thick and soft sediment layers I had never experienced with my rice field before was formed during early spring, in March 2010. I was so excited to witness that phenomenon.  It was the exact sediment layers which I had been looking for at that moment.  So since then, after harvesting in autumn, I flood water in the rice fields as soon as possible.


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