California rice planting getting boost via planes

It's possible that the Sacramento Valley could face a rice shortage this year due to heavy rains that left several fields too wet for planting.

Rice farmers are just now able to plant their crop. They're almost three weeks behind schedule, but they have aviation on their side. The fastest way to get way to get the seed in the ground is with an airplane.

The skilled pilots can drop thousands of pounds of rice over hundreds of acres of fields in just a matter of minutes. In California, air plane seeding is the most common way to plant rice. Farmers in the Golden State have been doing it for decades.

Today, pilots use GPS to drop seed in precise locations on a field. They fly 80 to 100 miles per hour. Once the seed hits the water, the plant starts growing and within 10 days it sprouts. Farmers are expecting a smaller crop due to the wet winter but they won't know if there is a noticeable shortage until after harvest time in September.

California is the United States' second largest rice producer. California rice is used in virtually every sushi roll made in America.

It's a $5 billion business. So next time you are eating a California roll, thank a California rice grower.
 

© 2017 KXTV-TV


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