Levelling of the ground
Activities begin during March when the land after being plowed, is levelled. In the past, the fields were flooded and the water surface was used as level: the exceeded soil was removed and any holes were filled. Today this operation takes place with the aid of advanced technology. In fact, we use a scraper driven by a laser beam that allows to obtain a maximum height difference of 0.5 cm every 500 meters.
A perfect leveling is essential in order to permit to the rice seedlings to germinate surfacing from the water all together, otherwise someone goes bad, while others would dry.
Sowing and water properties
Approximately one month later, is time of sowing. There are two techniques to sow rice. One on dry ground, and provides a sowing in rows, as for the grain. The rice field is flooded after the rice is germinated and reached a height of 10 centimeters.
A second method, the most used today, provides a broadcaster sowing, which can be done either by hand or machine, always on the ground already flooded. In order to achieve an optimal coverage of the sowing area it is used the guide of navigation system (GPS) mounted on the agricultural vehicle, otherwise it would be impossible to follow the right direction in a flooded paddy field. The choice of the method is done according to the land to be sown: in sandy soils, very compact, seeding with the flooded paddy field would create many difficulties to the plants to remain anchored to the ground in windy conditions; therefore this technique is used on heavy soils.
For rice cultivation is required a large amount of water whose level in the rice fields must be continuously corrected by adjusting the floodgates: decreased in rainy periods and increased the driest. The rice is in fact a water plant and so flooded land is an essential element for it to grow and live.
The main functions of the water are to mitigate the changes of temperature and to control weeds that are eliminated by suffocation, by increasing or reducing the water level according to the need. Infesting grasses is one of the biggest problems in rice cultivation, it is necessary to remove them during the growth of seedlings, because otherwise they would steal nutrients to the soil and create problems to the rice. In the past this task was entrusted to the “mondine”; their name is derived from the operation, “monad”(weeding), hence the term "mondine". Then the era of mondine ended and they have been replaced by herbicides. In the 60s the use of herbicides was quite indiscriminate but today, we are very careful with the amount to use, about 600 times less, and, thanks to the lower toxicity of the products, there is no danger of residues in rice.