An Englishman In Isabela Blog #85 – Rice Planting Time In Pictures

Thursday, January 14, 2010

This morning the rice seedlings were being transplanted into our newly ploughed fields so I waded out through the water and soft, slippery mud to take these photos. Rice planting is back breaking work if you’re unaccustomed to it. For these planters it’s a way of life. They all seemed very happy and laughed as I almost lost my balance several times. My legs were soon caked in mud. Later the planters enjoyed a little posing and encouraged the lady preparing the bunches of rice seedlings in the nursery to smile. There’s something very honourable about getting rice field mud between your toes.

It was a decidely chilly morning with a cold breeze blowing across the rice fields.

The planting stretches across the lower end of our lot and the next lot we are renting. As you walk back up the lot towards the road the land rises slightly and there is some terracing which makes irrigating these areas something of a challenge. Currently we are out of sync with the heavier releases of irrigation water and are also blocking some of the water channels with the gravel for the construction site. Our newly acquired Honda water pump is helping overcome these disadvantages, however, it now seems likely that the upper levels will be planted with vegetables rather than rice as less water is needed.
Nelson has proposed a new approach for the vegetables. He will canvas local vegetable growers to see if there is any interest in buying the vegetables from an area(s) of our lot. The idea is he will plant the vegetables and then sell the crop as a bulk lot. The buyer will simply come and harvest them when they are ready. We will finance the purchase of seeds and split the profits three ways with Nelson and his assistant taking a third each. We think it’s worth giving it a try as there may be more profit in vegetables than rice.
We are financing these experiments in developing the land we own and the neighbouring lot we rent. As bank interest is so high many businesses end
up paying away what would be their profit in interest to their bank. The investment for us is minimal yet it makes an enormous difference to the economics of running any business, and that includes farming. Once we are in sync with the planting, harvesting and release of irrigation water, which we only lost due our building priorities, productivity should greatly increase.