The rice paddies, measuring about 5.5 acres in total, are now leveled within a few inches. It took many steps to get our uneven, mostly soggy pasture to this point, starting with bulldozer and excavator work last August. In the last few weeks we’ve been following up where the construction equipment left off with a device called a land plane.
A land plane is sort of like a road grader that gets towed behind a tractor. A neighbor and supporter was kind enough to loan it to us as well as the heavy tractor to pull it. By setting up a rotary laser and fitting the laser receiver onto the land plane, we were able to fine tune the leveling process with laser guidance, so to speak. The finished result was smooth enough to be an airport runway. This is important so that when the fields are flooded, the water is of consistent depth throughout the field, with no deep spots or islands.
But after the leveling some areas were so smooth and hard that plowing was definitely called for. If I had the wherewithal I would be using my horses for this step. But as heavy as this soil was I know my horses wouldn’t have been up for it. I don’t own enough drafts to pull a single plow bottom through this kind of clay. So instead we have been plowing with our kubota tractor, and are almost done. Finally the surface needs to be harrowed and leveled one last time before we flood it. I hope to accomplish these steps before setting up the seedling nursery Sunday or Monday.