In Japan, rice paddies are available in various sizes and styles. Like the number of rice paddies, various rising methods come in an abundance as smartly. Especially relating to organic rice. Though, selecting the proper way for rice production very much is determined by the farm’s surroundings. Japan is a very lengthy stretched nation, compared to my own home nation, the Netherlands. Climate contrast of Japan’s maximum northern and southern area are massive. With cool summers and icy/snowy winters in the north and a extremely popular and humid sub-tropical local weather in the south.

According to skilled Japanese organic farmers I’ve met, rice is one of the absolute best crop to develop organically, if accomplished right.

Organic rice cultivation

I’ll explain the fundamentals of organic rice growing and give an introduction into a few different strategies.

Every aspect of a paddy box was invented with weed management in mind.

Flooding the fields, planting seedlings as an alternative of direct sowing, integrating animals and so forth.

Sustainable weeds and pest control in rice field

These inventive manner of coping with weed problems had been utilized since earlier period. In common, the better the soil becomes, the fewer weed drive you’ve gotten.

But the beginning section is essentially the most important moment in the pursuit for weed control.

“Aigamo Method”

Recently farmer Shiramizu explained me his means of rice manufacturing.

He makes use of the “Aigamo method” which permits for the production of natural rice whilst relying on much less guide hard work.

By the use of the Aigamo approach, Aigamo geese are released into the rice paddy.

Between 15 and 20 of these birds are needed for each and every 1,000 square meters of rice paddy.

Duck introduction in rice field

The benefits of the use of Aigamo ducks are amazing. Aigamo ducks assist the rice seedlings grow via consuming both bugs and weeds that get in the way. Consequently, the farmer is free from the back-breaking work of bending over to pull weeds by way of hand or using different weeding equipment. Living within the rice paddy, the geese fertilize the field with their manure. In addition, they stir up the soil within the rice paddy with their feet and expenses, a process that increases the oxygen content material of the soil, making it extra nutritious for the seedlings. But most significantly, since the ducks fire up the soil, weeds don’t get the danger of reaching the skin.

And finally, when it comes time to reap the rice within the fall, the geese have grown fat and will also be slaughtered for his or her meat. Farmer Shiramizu and his spouse experience Aigamo duck meat all through the iciness in quite a lot of cuisines.

Though, the advantages are great, one still must believe all the different predators that want to come and consume your ducklings. It’s now not uncommon to see crows flying away together with your newly launched yellow ducklings, as farmer Shiramizu describes. I still keep in mind my process of taking pictures fireworks every time crows got here just about the sector, 3 years in the past.

Other animals that hunt your ducks are: foxes, weasels, raccoons, canines and so forth. That’s why you can’t use the Aigamo way without the usage of a proper fence round the whole box and protective fishing line from above. Also important is a refuge where the ducklings can leisure and take safe haven from rain. And finally, the ducklings must be fed within the beginning segment. (no longer sure if fed throughout the season)

But in any case, I don’t suppose the disadvantages weigh as much as the many nice benefits of the use of Aigamo geese.

Shiramizu’s Aigamo method:

  1. Skipping a couple of steps, we start with a flooded field.
  2. Rice bran pallets are scattered everywhere the surface. This causes the water to grow to be cloudy, bring to mind it as an underwater mulch.
  3. The field is then cultivated, together with the rice bran. This will purpose the flooded field to transform a slimy mud, which makes it exhausting for weeds to make their manner up.
  4. Muddy box will then be left for 1-2 weeks.
  5. The field is cultivated another time getting rid of any weeds that might have sprouted and again makes the sphere a slimy dust.
  6. Then, rice seedlings are planted. Meanwhile rice field ducklings are saved in a small phase of the paddy.
  7. After the seedling have grown to the fitting measurement, about 1-2 weeks, Aigamo ducklings are allowed into the paddy. Just just like the tilling with the tractor they too fire up the soil, combating weeds from rising.
Rice brain application in field

The key to his manner is to make sure that the surroundings in the rice paddy remains unsuitable for weeds to grow. Rice bran, or rice bran pallets, causes the surface to turn into cloudy. Some farmers may additionally unfold rice bran after the planting of the rice seedlings. This method, weeds don’t get a chance in the beginning segment after planting.

Shiramizu releases Aigamo ducks that fire up the soil, so he simplest spreads rice bran once ahead of tilling. Secondly, tilling the sphere two times sooner than planting eliminates most weeds and makes for muddy prerequisites. Even just before harvest length, the field remains mostly blank of weeds.


Shiramizu doesn’t in point of fact fertilize his rice paddy. Obviously, the Aigamo ducks play crucial position in enriching the soil with their manure. In addition, mountain river water not simplest maintains the best water level in the field, but is also a valuable supply of quite a lot of vitamins.

Fertilizer application in rice field

Cover vegetation

(plants grown for the security and enrichment of the soil.)

Most typical farmers in Japan will go away their rice paddies fallow after harvest till subsequent season’s rice planting. It’s the organic farmers that still care in regards to the soil and make the most of duvet crops. Below are some commonplace cover plants:

Fish and Rice

Italian Ryegrass

The cover crop Shiramizu these days uses.

Italian ryegrass is sown within the box just a few weeks ahead of rice is harvested. Once harvest is finished Italian grass fill the sphere. The intensive root system of this cap crop tolerates compacted soils and will conserve residual nitrogen within the soil after rice harvest. Can also be used as feed for farm animals.

Chinese white milk vetch

A Chum of Shiramizu is the one farmer in Irokawa who grows milk vetch after rice harvest.

Milk vetch fertilizes the paddy fields, feeds cattle, and is a source of honey. Until only a while in the past, many paddy fields everywhere Japan used to be drenched pink with vetch blossom, waiting for next season’s rice planting. Being a legume, it’s able to fix nitrogen through a symbiotic dating with Rhizobia. Besides serving as nice fertilizer, the flowers are fit for human consumption and include several medicinal effects.

Other possible choices

Other possible choices are Hairy vetch and more than a few kinds of clovers.

Besides the use of Aigamo, other strategies include:

Releasing Koi carpers within the rice paddy for a similar reason as Aigamo ducks.

Flooding fields in iciness to draw swans.

Soybean cultivation on ridges between rice fields.

Manchurian wild rice Cultivation (マコモタケ; Makomo) in a piece of the rice box.

I try my highest to put up weblog put up more frequently, but I nonetheless will have to find a steadiness between farm work, Japanese find out about, agriculture find out about, crafting and writing.

Maybe shorter articles are higher instead of writing these extremely long weblog posts…

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