It is the time of Tartana Rice’s land preparation, in the Albufera lake, Valencia.
In spring, various tasks are performed, with LEVELING being one of the most important. It consists of leveling the fields to ensure sufficient flatness, to dam them with the minimum water necessary when sowing time comes, leaving the entire rice field completely flooded and covered with water. Why do we do that? For two reasons:
On the one hand, the less volume of water the field has when it is sown, the sooner it will heat up (the same effect as a pot with water / broth in the kitchen), therefore, the rice seed will germinate earlier.
On the other hand, if the entire field is covered with water, an ecological control of the weeds is carried out naturally. The best habitat for weeds (of which there are many types) are moist (and warm from the sun) mounds of earth that are above the water level.
Back in the old times, leveling was done by hand in a traditional way. Reeds were driven in winter during the Perellonà (or winter flood). And in spring -when the fields dried up – the levels to which the water had reached had been marked in the reeds; With the help of pack animals: horses, donkeys, mules…, the lands were distributed to make the fields as flat and uniform as possible.
Nowadays, leveling is done using GPS technology. A tractor is hooked up to a grader for dragging the soil, with a GPS signal receiver, which keeps the implement always at the same level. Where the soil of the fields is above the refiner, it collects soil, where the grader is above the soil, it unloads and leaves the soil. This technology also allows us to give a slight slope to each field and to controll the levels between the different plots, thus ensuring adequate water irrigation within the same Farm or “Tancat”.
Article written by Juan Carlos GALBIS -Master of rice masters-, José ZAFRA, -passionate about rice- y Juan Valero -Gerente de ARROZ TARTANA-.
Artículo redactado por Juan Carlos GALBIS -Maestro de maestros arroceros-, José ZAFRA, -apasionado de los arroces- y Juan Valero -Gerente de ARROZ TARTANA-.