Rice is grown in fields and seeds are sown either by air or by hand, and then the fields are flooded with water during the growing process and then drained when the rice is ready to harvest. Irrigation of rice fields is maintained through hand watering or by dike-controlled canals.
The first step in growing rice involves preparing the rice field. Fields are graded to make them level, so as to conserve water, and fertilizer is added to enrich the quality of the soil. Shallow furrows are plowed in the field. Planting, at least in the United States, occurs in April.
When it is time to plant the rice, water is flooded into the fields to a depth of 5 inches. Modern rice farmers load soaked rice seeds into planes, and the planes drop the seeds from the air. The seeds sink into the plowed furrows to begin the growth cycle. Rice can also be started in a seed bed, and the plants can be transplanted into the field.
It takes around 4 to 5 months for the rice to grow to maturity. Herbicides may be applied during the growth process to control weeds. Rice reaches a height of around 3 feet. September is generally harvest time. An acre of rice yields a harvest of more than 4 tons of rice.