You must have already heard of paddy or what we know as the paddy crop. Paddy or rice paddy is a flooded and small field used for rice cultivation throughout eastern and southern Asia. Wet-rice cultivation is the predominant technique used throughout these parts, where a small part of the land is used for generating food that covers the needs of the majority of the population in rural zones. Rice domestication took place by 3500 BC as per historical reports and it was grown almost everywhere even 2,000 years earlier according to several studies and research reports. These areas include floodplains, deltas, terraced slopes on valleys and coastal plains.
Most paddies witness flooding due to rainfall and rivers at the time of monsoon while some require irrigation as well. The sub-soil of the paddy fields is always impermeable and is flanked by bunds for holding roughly 4-6 inches of water for almost 2/3rds of the entire season for cultivation. Paddies are usually worked by family members in almost all countries with the exception of India. The same methods were also used even thousands of years back, i.e. hand cultivation with spades and hoes, while using horses, water buffaloes or oxen-ploughs with metal parts.
Some vital steps in the process
- Paddy farmers usually look to get their fields prepared before the start of the monsoon. The weeds are all cleared while tractors and buffaloes are used for ploughing the fields till a few inches at least. Fertilizer and manure is also added to the soil and the entire surface is covered with roughly 2.5 centimetres of water. The field is absolutely prepared for getting seedlings from the nursery as the growing season starts.
- Paddy seedlings are usually prepared first in the nursery itself and then transplanted in the field after a period of roughly 40 days. In some areas of India and other countries like Sri Lanka, seeds are also directly sown into fields and they sprout up at the time of the monsoon. However, transplanting yields are still higher and this witnesses quick growth owing to proper spacing and shorter maturity durations.
- Farmers have to suitably maintain their paddy fields including thinning out some patches which are crowded and weeding out the fields. The water level should be properly maintained and fields should be drained before harvesting the crop.
- The conventional method of harvesting is either a sharp-edged knife or curved one. It is a procedure requiring a lot of labor. Harvesting takes place during the dry season when the weather stays sunny and bright.
- After gathering all the stalks and drying them, there is threshing which takes place. The sheaves are beat against what we call the bars and grains are now separated from their stalks as a result. Threshing machines have also become popular in today’s times. Winnowing then removes all particles from the grains and the simplest option is pouring paddy downwards from an elevation onto a mat on the ground. The grains fall onto the mat while the chaff and particles are blown out by the wind. Machines for hand-winnowing are also quite popular.
- Milling helps in removal of yellow husk from paddy to get polished or white rice. The paddy goes through several rollers/hullers in a rice mill until it becomes polished.
How does sowing take place for paddy crops?
Paddy is grown through seedlings being transplanted into soil. The seedlings are planted in rows with proper spacing.
Which is the best soil for cultivating paddy?
Clayey and loam soil during the monsoon is the top choice for cultivating rice. This is because the overall capacity of the soil is high with regard to retaining water. Rice is also cultivated throughout saline zones in several regions.
Where is paddy cultivated in the world?
Paddy fields are still the most preferred methods for growing rice in today’s times. This method of cultivation is extensively practiced throughout Cambodia, Bangladesh, India, Iran, Laos, Indonesia, Nepal, Malaysia, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, the Philippines, Japan, Myanmar, Taiwan, South Korea, Thailand, Vietnam, North Korea and China.
Which is the season for cultivating paddy?
Paddy is cultivated during the rainy season. It is a Kharif crop in India.