2019 Rice Harvest – My Home Turf

There’s some fair nostalgia for me in this video. This is where I grew up, what we did there.

I’d guess the location as being between Oroville (of dam fame) and Colusa, about 20 miles south of Chico, near the Butte County Rice Development Station, near the little town of Biggs (which has the rice dryer they show and not much else). I’ve ridden a bike to all of those but Chico & Colusa, prior to getting my license, and driven to and through all if them hundreds of times.

In the background of some shots, you can see the Sutter Buttes. I’ve been all over them, too. The remnants of a volcano 3 times that tall from a few million years ago.

Mucking out weirs, driving tractors or harvesters, all familiar. Watching the crop dusters work. Holding flags at the end of each pass was one of the “good jobs”… other than that whole being drenched in pesticide if they didn’t cut the drop right or the wind shifted.

Here’s a great summary of what rice harvesting logistics is all about. I note he talked about equipment breakdowns when the video was showing blown over rice. Called lodging or blowdown, it can cut yields if early, make harvest difficult and slow if late.

Also note the potential for catastrophic compounding. He talks about the challenges this year, and how a more compressed planting schedule from spring rain lead to the deliveries beyond capacity issue at the rice dryer. Then a PG&E power cut jamming the dryer.

Only a lucky break of no fall rains along with a drying wind avoided large losses. But you can not expect good luck every year.

As things worsen, late spring plantings will hit with fall rains. As California destabilizes the grid with ever more unreliable power and tries to stop gas burning in the rice dryers, that system will limit capacity. Cooler summers will make for longer maturity times and lower yields. IMHO, it wont be catastrophic most years, but more a long slow degradation.

FWIW, white rice in glass jars keeps for many years. I’ve had decade old rice and it was fine. I’ve presently got 25 lbs stored and will likely add more.

So, if you would like to visit where I grew up, and see some of the formational experiences of my life, this video captures a lot of it. I’ve litterally walked around that rice dryer (it hasn’t changed much) and climbed on rice harvesters like they show (though the old ones had open cabs, enclosed only showing up after I was done climbing on things :-)

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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8 Responses to 2019 Rice Harvest – My Home Turf

  1. Taz says:

    Found this very interesting

  2. Nancy & John Hultquist says:

    Thanks for the link. Rice is not something I’ve ever seen grown.

    There is no rice grown in western Pennsylvania where I grew up. Wheat was grown (relatives; not us) with the harvesting more primitive than now. We sometimes helped. I suspect that is true with rice, but of that I know nothing. A small family farm near us also grew corn that was cut by hand and tied together to stand and dry in the field. [photo here]
    Still lots of work after that.

    Today my “hay guy” brought 2 tons of baled hay. When I was a teen the bales weighed about 65 pounds. We loaded them from the field by hand onto a flat trailer. Today they average 100+ pounds and are mostly handled by machines, called automatic hay stackers. Some are named Harobed (Deborah spelled backwards). (a href=”https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EVjMaOy6-EQ”> short video here

  3. Nancy & John Hultquist says:
  4. Gary says:

    Quite informative for those of us living in non-agricultural areas where the only farming is small fields of sweet corn, turf grass, and a few scattered apple orchards.

  5. Pingback: The Daily Watch – IceAge Farmer on Corn & Brazil, Rice Farmer on Straw | Musings from the Chiefio

  6. tom0mason says:

    I know you don’t like Ice Age Farmers style ChiefIO, however his latest references the rice shortfall and that Brazil is heading into a corn shortage caused in part by the late running of the soyabean harvest.

    2020 food prices look set to rise, 10%, 20%?

  7. tom0mason says:

    Forget it, EM, you got their first.
    I must really remember to update the page before posting.

  8. E.M.Smith says:

    @Tom0Mason:

    No worries. It never hurts to have multiple entry points and added POV.

    It isn’t a big irritation at his “style”, just a minor annoyance at the always “end is near” story line. I’m from the “We can do this” basic belief, seasoned with “the tech library of possibles known but not yet used” is large, and the amount of resource you have is not limited, it depends on price.

    But he does turn up a lot of good information (why I watch him) and for a lot of it, he very likely is just early (if downward trend continues). So I accept my POV is different, he may yet be right, and like watching his stuff.

    Just be careful to look for the contrasting Sunny Side of the street option not being mentioned.

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