Seeding California Rice by Plane in this Air Tractor Video!


The day has come! After all these tractor videos, the ground
preparation, after the long days and hard work on the rice farm—finally, in this episode
of Rice Farming TV we’ll be planting rice by airplane. [music] Yes, that’s right folks! The planes are soaring above our flooded fields. We’re going to learn all about how we plant
rice seed here in California. We’ll visit the airstrip and learn how the
ag planes are loaded with seed between flights. We’ll even hang off the wing of a plane
and get a bird’s eye view of the seeding process. A special thanks to Williams Ag Service. Crop Care by Air! Yes, it’s going to be high flying fun! But first, for those of you just tuning in–you
may be asking, “how did we get here, this far along in the planting process?” Well, here’s a rapid fire review of the
past several tractor videos, the last several weeks of preparing the ground for seeding
rice. Ready? Drain our fields of winter water. Shovel work. Fields dry under the spring sun. Plow chisel, help dry out the soil. Tillage disc, help break down the dirt-clods. Landplane, help level out the soil. Shovel work. Aqua bar, injects nitrogen 3” deep into
the dry, worked soil. Roller, applies a nitrogen, phosphorus, potassium
blend to the surface of the soil. Flood our fields with irrigation water. And a whole. Lot. More. Yes, after all the tractor work here we are
now. The fields are flooded with irrigation water,
about 2 inches deep, and ready to be seeded. That’s right, only 2 inches deep. We don’t want the fields too deep. High water could present potential issues
for baby rice. But I’ll explain all that later. Let’s get right into planting rice by airplane. As our irrigation water begins to move across
our rice fields we call up our seed supplier and place our order—how much rice seed we
plan to plant. In our case our seeding rate is 165 lbs. an
acre. Our seed supplier, by the way, is a rice farmer
just like us. But rather than selling their rice from the
previous harvest to be milled for consumption, they store and care for their rice–preserving
the viability over the winter. And after we put our order in over at CBM
warehouse with Kenny and the boys, they load the rice seed into trailers and give it a
water bath soak. As the seed absorbs water the soak does two
primary things: adds water weight so that the rice seed sinks down to the soil as it
hits the flooded field. AND it starts the germination process. Remember, as the seeds are soaking a couple
days before application, that irrigation water is moving across the fields–so all the weed
seeds out there are starting to germinate as well. The soak in the trailer prevents the rice seed germination from falling too far behind the competing weed seeds. We’ll confirm to our seed grower once our
rice field has been completely flooded with irrigation water, ask for him to drain the
seed of the soak and deliver the trailers to the airstrip to be flown on. Simultaneously we’ll schedule the flight
and seeding rate with the flying service. In our case, Williams Ag Service with a requested
seeding rate of 165 lbs. per acre. And now that the rice seed has been delivered
to the airstrip loader trucks are filled. The loader truck then fills the plane’s
hopper. The hopper holds about 1,650 pounds of rice
seed. So seeding a 150 acre field like ours, at
a rate of 165 pounds per acre, it would take about 15 trips back to the airstrip to reload
with rice in order to complete the job. Depending on the distance from the air strip
to the target field, that 150 acres could be seeded in less than an hour. And there’s my boy Shawn! You remember Shawn from Episode 63 when we
took a cessna flight together and he gave me an aerial tour of our winter rice fields. I’ll leave the link to that video down in
the description. That was a lot of fun and if you haven’t
watched it, check it out! Now, once the plane’s hopper is loaded the
ground crew and loader truck get clear. Shawn is clear for takeoff and the magic happens. It’s time to seed our rice fields! And Shawn takes flight! Locked and loaded ready to rain rice from
above. [music] Shawn and his fellow ag pilots are amazing! They do an amazing job in dangerous situations—especially flying around, above and below powerlines. They are dropping rice seed in the right place
with several safety issues to consider. They’re heros—in my opinion–really. [music] As shawn approaches our field he has a GPS
guidance system helping him keep track of his flight path. The system is pre-programed for the coverage
width of the seeding application. When he completes a pass and makes a wide
u-turn and approaches his next pass the guidance lights above his dash direct him. Red means he’s off line. Green signals that his on line, on the right
path. This all ensures a uniform application, not
only that the whole field is seeded but the seeding rate is the same across the field. When the hopper is open and dropping seed
each pass with the plane covers a width of 45-50 feet. The plane is traveling between 120-130 miles
per hour when seeding so Shawn can cover a whole lot of ground fast. It’s just the most efficient way we can
seed a field here in California. It’s just so mesmerizing. Perhaps I’m romanticizing seeding our rice
fields by air plane so much because we have put a lot of hard work into preparing the
ground. You have watched us through the spring in
all my tractor videos, so you know. So you know that watching the planes above
our field is just so rewarding. And Shawn empties his hopper and returns to
the airstrip for more seed. The process continues until the field has
been completely seeded. [music] We seeded our first field on May 4th and our
last on May 17th. That’s a tight window those 13 days. It’s a testament to our hard work on the
ground and in tractors as well as the hard work of the ag pilots in the sky, dropping
seed. Perhaps the only spring-time sight that rivals
watching the seed fall from the planes is witnessing the baby rice plants emerging from
the water. At the beginning of this episode I mentioned
that we don’t want our flood irrigated fields too deep during seeding. We want them about 2” deep. It’s our philosophy, some rice farmers agree
and some differ. But the reasoning is that we want the plants
to get out of the water as soon as possible. Once the plant can begin effective photosynthesis,
out of the water, it focuses its energy on it’s root system. A strong root system anchors the plant into
the soil. This avoids drift on high-windy days. We don’t want the wind to push all our seed
to one side of the field. Strong roots prevent this. Also remember, we injected fertilizer 3”
deep into the soil. Once the roots hit that nitrogen the rice
plant gets another boost of nutrients and helps early growth. Another concern deep water can bring, aside
from drift, are algae blooms. Algae forms within the water and can rise
to the surface. If the algae is thick enough and the rice
plant hasn’t yet reached the surface there could be problems. The weak rice can’t push through the blanket
of algae. It will drown. In a past episode titled “Attack of the
Evil Scum” I go into that more in depth. Link also down in the description. So you see, the tractor work is over, the
rice has been seeded, but the work does not stop. The farming does not stop. We need to monitor and regulate our irrigation
water and care for our seeds and baby rice. There are many competing weeds and insects
out there. But this is all part of the cycle of farming. One phase of the process completes and another
phase begins. This is the green phase folks. In a future episode I’ll give you a tour
of our fields and update you on the rice plant’s growth progress and health. Should be really green! I just want to give a quick thank you to Shawn
for setting up my go-pro on his plane and to Chris Haile for helping me out with some
on the ground shots. Thank you boys. Great work! Thanks to all of you for watching. This was a great series of videos that I think
gave a pretty in depth view of what it’s like to put a new crop of rice in California. We’ve got a whole lot more to cover though,
through the crop year. I look forward to it. In fact next episode, I’ve got so much excellent
b-roll of in the sky of that Go-Pro footage on Shawn’s plane. I might just show you that. It’s just so beautiful. So look out for that coming up. Otherwise, have a great start of the summer
and I’ll see you out in the fields. [music]

100 comments on “Seeding California Rice by Plane in this Air Tractor Video!”

  1. Scott McClure McClure says:

    I'm from west Texas where do y'all get all that water?

  2. Rodger Hatfield says:

    And again I ask, why are we growing rice in California?? Just because we can doesnโ€™t mean we should

  3. Rodger Hatfield says:

    And California complains about water. Wait till this makes news in Colorado. You guys wonโ€™t be getting any extra water pretty soon

  4. mike97525 says:

    Guys got guts flying under those power lines๐Ÿ™„

  5. links2films says:

    California looks like Portugal.
    Rice , corn and peas production in a Portuguese farm for the Spanish company Ebro Foods that owns Riviana Foods in Texas.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YIfbdxCli9U&t=63s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xpmcgNyoOFc&t=36s
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkX5vjx30hA

  6. gary meschede says:

    How much horsepower does that sky tractor have. Nice video sir

  7. Vishal Chauhan says:

    Where are you from Sir

  8. StormP666 says:

    welcome to the rice fields

  9. Sam Fosdick says:

    That's not how the Chinese do it…

  10. Bahar Din says:

    wow, don't really expect rice to be also a major crop grown in USA… wheat, corn, potato,barley were expected.
    Is this rice for local consumption or do you also export? if yes, to where.
    and, how do American consume their rice? (apart from rice krispies for breakfast).
    thank you kind sir..!!

  11. Carl Helmick says:

    Hey dude I'm from NC . Can your man on the plane show how that seeder works. Never seen that before. Only seen them spray soy bean fields . Some corn . I was just wondering how it works. Anyway thanks for the video, enjoyed it. I Learn something new. Really didn't know you could do that. First time seeing your video. Anyway have a great weekend. Get a chance Pop a top ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿบ

  12. Southron Jr says:

    Now ain't that a sight, a turboprop biplane

  13. Collin Tyler says:

    This plane is a agcat not a air tractor

  14. joeashbubemma says:

    The "Green New Deal" would kill these farmers. The "carbon footprint" of diesel/AV gas powered farming is "evil". Liberal Democrats, "killing is our business".

  15. Steve Dallas says:

    Friggen rights he did that dirty ginger beard of his

  16. Ocean Mariner says:

    I grew up in the area. Before GPS, flagmen on the berm marked each pass for the pilot. As a kid in the 50s & 60s, I hunted pheasants between Knights Landing and Colusa and walked many cut rice fields with the owners ok. I remember when the farmers first flooded their fields, all the rats that were living in the plowed fields ended up on the roads between the fields. Some years there must have been millions. It was fun for a kid to see the prop planes and their maneuvers after each pass. It seemed like every ag airport had several WWII trainers & others being robbed for parts. Another hazard for pilots must have been the great flocks of birds of all kinds. I don't suppose they burn the rice stubble anymore. If you could stand the smoke, the fire chased out the pheasants on the down wind side.

  17. Andy Leahy says:

    Not sure if this has already been asked and answered, as 178 comments so far is a lot to get through, but whatโ€™s the name of that awesome musical track youโ€™re using?

  18. Bilyboy says:

    Some of the best crawfish come from the California rice fields… lol

  19. jarhead4life 2094 says:

    Ag pilots are like modern day barnstormers!!! It would be cool to hear the planes engine and prop in future vids… no music

  20. Shawn Swigart says:

    Turbo AG plane is so cool.

  21. SacJu says:

    Another great video Matthew! I've learned so much about rice farming from your videos. My wife thinks I'm weird that I'm fascinated by all this. Ha Ha!

  22. Greywolf79 97 says:

    A great video, you've earned a sub and a like from me.

  23. dLimboStick says:

    Amazing shots! Excellent video!!

  24. Ty Johnson says:

    what dick head

  25. don hezca says:

    Your work crew are bad ass you can see the coordination they have.

  26. LAXMAN KHERALIYA says:

    You pay lot of money for that.
    Simple you can import rice..
    Here in india 0.25 cent per Kg.

  27. Sandy Sutherland says:

    This plane looks silly without a big radial up front!

  28. Cnn is Fakenews says:

    So much variability, speed height air direction feed rate seed firmness and then add on dangers of airplanes.

  29. Peter R says:

    i would have never thought rice would be a crop in CA considering the water needs

  30. The Crazy Man From Ireland says:

    Very interesting ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘

  31. jeffmack57 says:

    Is that grown organically.

  32. Greg C says:

    Total genius methods. So glad youโ€™re growing rice here, cut out the importers

  33. Zac Mosier says:

    Heard they're doing this with "beans" in Ohio. Don't know what kind, my guess soybeans, but I thought it was cool.

  34. ArthurDentZaphodBeeb says:

    No bigger idiocy in California than allowing rice farming…

  35. Army Pathfinder says:

    so when does the hunting start?…lol

  36. Moose Pass Hippie says:

    Balls to the wall and let that rudder know who is bi&@h

  37. runway heading says:

    Very cool! I didnโ€™t realize they used turbo props for that application?

  38. Ben Mcneil says:

    People are stupid California has water issues and their growing rice.

  39. PAUL WARREN says:

    great video bro, good job.

  40. the troublemaker says:

    2 questions:
    1. the plane comes from East Germany?
    2. You have enough water in California for rice cultivation?

  41. Cody Wilcox says:

    Why donโ€™t you use a drill

  42. Andrew Scott says:

    Anyone remember Hawk Dusters? Bud Fountain flew for them.

  43. Alp Bilenler says:

    California – seems like a great place for farming with flooded fields of irrigation water

  44. Sycamore Valley Shops says:

    Dude, I am in maxwell, might of seen you guys out there in Williams

  45. tata porong says:

    i'm so amazed with your farming method in the USA,..here in the Philippines,..mostly still done in the traditional way which is planting by hands,,.although during harvest season, we already have some modern equipments and machineries but most farmers can't afford to have one because they are very expensive., so they have to rent harvesting machine and pay them by some part of the crops harvested as rental payment,…too far beyond in comparison of farming in the USA..

  46. Rodney Sanders says:

    Heard about from you millennial Farmer great video love how teach us along the way

  47. tom7601 says:

    That a plane, mate, that's a mule! ๐Ÿ™‚

  48. SanFranciscoBay says:

    Will these rice fields be homes in the future?

  49. SanFranciscoBay says:

    Do birds fly in and eat the seeds before they start growing? The answer is that the big eaters, ducks and geese, they have migrated further south before the seeding. Question answered at 5 minutes in this video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xTBVms2U98I

  50. Jeff Tiedeken says:

    I seen him seeding one day, I had to pull over and watch up by Yuba because it was way to awesome not to watch

  51. Big Ben says:

    Fucking ricers.. Lol. ๐Ÿ‡ฌ๐Ÿ‡ง

  52. walter kersting says:

    That slo mo of the air tractor dropping seed was beautiful.

  53. MrJohnm1965 says:

    Is this in central ca?

  54. walter kersting says:

    Iโ€™m a prepper; I have over a hundred pounds of rice. I got it on clearance for about 10c a pound; my understanding is it keeps indefinitely.

  55. Ngabuburit says:

    Di amerika mah ga ada keong kali ya?

  56. Craig Keller says:

    Used to have an air tractor like this one decades ago on the Big Island to fertilize sugar cane. Watching them was like your own private air show. Awesome display!

  57. Johnny Davis says:

    Was that Oroville dam?.. certainly hope you boys are behind that monster.. awesome video ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‘ ๐Ÿ‘ thanks for sharing ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ

  58. Kyle M says:

    Where in California?

  59. Capt Tom says:

    Question; Are you planting GMOs.?

  60. asiaexpat62 says:

    Thanks for the video, it brought back memories of my 1970s time building flying time and skills working the rice field in Louisiana. Flew an Ag cat with a R980 radial engine. We used roads for landing strips near the fields.

  61. Chloe Hennessey says:

    My god I hope California is annexed and made a separate country.

  62. Empire Textbooks says:

    How much does this cost to have pilots seed your farm?

  63. Rasool Ali says:

    Awesome hello farmer friend how are you I am a farmer too but I am from Pakistan we are planting rice here also but we do all hard work by hand

  64. Brandon Wise says:

    Real sky cowboy helping feeding America thanks for sharing

  65. Scott Martin says:

    Is this near Sacramento

  66. Cajunnathan says:

    This is not new technology Louisiana has been planting with Ag Planes for 60-years

  67. nocotton says:

    That's a turbine Ag-Cat, not an Air-Tractor.

  68. Studio 66 says:

    Nice AV hat! I fly a Quantix in Iowa

  69. steve stevens says:

    Actually, the double wing aircraft I'm seeing is an old AG CAT….not an AG TRACTOR

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  71. Alex Veldhuis says:

    In 1988 I arrived in Williams, from Marlboro Massachusetts, but starting in Appleton Minnesota (near where Millenial Farmer is, I think), and spent several weeks marking runs at night with a then girlfriend using torches to apply insecticides at night so as not to kill the bees. I can't remember his name but he was an ex Vietnam helicopter pilot and his wife was Australian. He owned 2 planes with radial engines, to do the dusting with another pilot. He was based just outside Williams. I then went to drive an IH combine on half tracks to harvest rice for the Kalfbeeks, working under an English guy Tim from 'Arlow' in Essex. There were many travellers operating about 10 harvesters, mostly old junk that was somehow made to keep going. I did a whole harvest, about 3 months or so. I will never forget the number of crayfish and all the crackling noise as you ran over them. I did not like that part, but other than that, had a great time in the Williams area/Sacramento valley. So, Despite being a Dutch born England resident that also lived in Australia for 14 years, I feel some attachment to the place and enjoyed the video. I was in the US for 21 months total. I had wondered how the crop was planted. All I remember is how hard rice is on equipment. Thanks for posting.

  72. hoverluver says:

    The instructions will get him one day. A very unforgiving occupation.

  73. Ron says:

    VERY cool and does Sean also do weddings? ๐Ÿ™‚
    At 9:24, the rice appears to have been planted with a planter by the looks of the rows.
    Thanks for not playing obnoxious music.

  74. Robert Stewart says:

    Reminds me of my younger days and my attempt at chicken farming. I'll never forget that day the crop pilot dropped all those small chicks. Well, that turned out to be a real mess. Nowadays I sell vacuum cleaners.

  75. Brian Lockwood says:

    I'm wondering what type of rice are you growing? Also wondering about the history of rice farming in America. Who was the first to cultivate the plant? I ask because I think of this as an Asian crop. In Japan and Korea the land plots are tiny in comparison. I'm curious who figured out how to go large scale and come up with innovations like using planes for seeding.

  76. David Alexandrovitch says:

    Music makes me sleepy ๐Ÿ˜ด

  77. Jason Utley says:

    I am a fellow rice farmer in Arkansas the fields we have in this farm are hillsides and full of levees we do our planting with a drill truly like the vid

  78. Amrinder Singh says:

    We use 2kg per acre seed and manual transplanted how much is yield per acre there?

  79. stiantiger says:

    So.. There are no fresh water problems in California..??

  80. QuestionMan says:

    No sound, no watch.

  81. Tom Everett says:

    I have watched these flyers many times. I admire their skill and precision.

  82. Banala Pullarao says:

    Us agri very high technology

  83. Thomas Thomas says:

    Very informative.

  84. Md. Abdul Malek says:

    Dear Sir, My hobby i am work your project, no need salary two years, back my country try same plane establish . Please help. Dhaka bangladesh. mobile 01747177607

  85. Jonah Johnson says:

    Why this came recommended in my feed, I don't know, but it sure was fun watching you, Matthew, and all the people working so hard to have a successful rice season!!
    You have an inspirational and attractive style of talking and communicating. Now you have a new subscriber :))

  86. Sonne Farms says:

    Fantastic video, super cool to learn about how you get your field work done!

  87. TheCombatCameraGuy says:

    All of a sudden I want be become a rice farmer.

  88. Jayakumar G says:

    Superbly explained with very deep analysis report in your speech.

  89. Jesus is King says:

    Man this brings back so many memories for me as a cane and rice grower in south Florida years ago..

  90. karl McAyde says:

    God bless your hardworking bro

  91. Paul Van Tries says:

    Air Tractor ?

    /

  92. Courtland Hoggan says:

    Waldo Ricer! I came to watch the air tractor. I now have to know how rice works.

  93. DIRT&THUNDER says:

    I have see rice planted in AR with a grain drill before it was flooded. Does any one do that in CA?

  94. Daily Dose Of Internet says:

    Thank you!

  95. Adam says:

    Anyone Here from Daily Dose Of Internet?

  96. Darth Prime says:

    Daily Dose of Internet sent me here my lord.

  97. fauzi hassan says:

    can drone be used instead of plane?

  98. Ricardo Ramos says:

    Hi my name is Ricardo and I work for BuzzVideos a viral videos company. We are really interested in licensing your video. If you are the owner, please email us at [email protected] Or if you prefer provide us your email address.

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  99. Aire Lao says:

    Too dangerous, one the old plane might take you down

  100. Thomas Imbro says:

    I love your show, Matthew! So my question is, how did they plant rice in fields before airplanes? Maybe you could give a historical example of planting rice 3 or 4 hundred years ago? I would image people walking through fields of water with baskets of rice seeds throwing them all over the place ??

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