The giant harvesters are starting to roll on the rice fields in
the Central Valley. California rice farmers are starting to
keep an eye on the calendar and on the skies as they try to get
their rice into the processors in time.
North of Sacramento, Dan Spangler worries the late start to the
growing season will put too much pressure on the dryers when
farmers take their crop in to be processed, "When you harvest
rice that's too dry, the kernels -rather than stay whole, they just
break into a powder. And so you lose quality and you lose
The California Rice Commission says it would be better if the
timing of the rice harvests were spread out more, but that the
dryers should be able to handle the demand.
The Central Valley often gets wet weather around the end of
October. Spangler says if farmers wait until the rains come,
the cost of harvesting goes up, ""You get the rain and you get the
mud and the rice harvesters can't go as fast and so you
double up on your expenses for harvesting."
The U.S. Department of Agriculture says California rice
farmers plant more than 560,000 acres of rice each year
that yield more than 4.7 billion pounds of rice.