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Why is Rice Grown in Water?

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Why is Rice Grown in Water

Why is Rice Grown in Water? Rice is such a frequent food item for so many people that it truly needs its own programme. But what causes it to grow in water? You’ll find it everywhere because it’s a staple food, but what you’ll notice is how it’s grown. Almost every time a rice field appears in a film, anime, or work of art, it is a soggy rice paddy. You’ve probably seen flooded rice terraces, which are prevalent in Asia. So today we’ll look at why rice is grown in water.

Why is Rice Grown in Water?

Rice is planted in water largely to keep pests at bay and weeds at bay in rice fields. Weeds and pests cannot survive in water for lengthy periods of time, but rice can. This provides natural pest and weed management without the need of pesticides or herbicides. However, not all rice is grown in water. Some, like wheat, can be grown as a dry crop, and we’ll go over those in a minute.

1. Rice is an autumn/monsoon crop

This is essentially the historical reason why rice is being farmed in flooded places today. Rivers would swell and flood the surrounding communities where it was initially tamed.

Farmers discovered that the rice did not drown, but rather survived. When the floodwaters came, the farmers saw that the numerous weeds that grew around rice died out. This resulted in the development of rice paddies and rice terraces, which are frequently inundated.

2. Weeds and pests don’t grow in water

Weeds and bugs do not grow in water because the water eliminates any oxygen supply. Rice is normally planted in dry paddies and allowed to sprout a few cm. The paddies are then inundated over a few days to replicate natural flooding patterns. When the rice sprout is tall enough to reach over its companion plant, it is put in already flooded paddies in some locations (Azolla).

Azolla is there to fix nitrogen in the atmosphere so that rice can grow. In exchange, it becomes the only other plant in the field other than rice. Any weeds that have taken root, as well as any insects or other pests that try to destroy the crop, will die off. Nitrogen is released into the water as the weeds die and disintegrate in it. This nourishes the rice and works as a fertiliser, and it’s all kept cool by the Azolla plant’s shade.

3. Rice can be grown as a dry crop

Rice can be grown as a dry crop, but there are additional problems. And rice, as a plant, isn’t always supposed to be grown in water. Rice does not grow or multiply in flood-prone places, but it can survive if planted correctly. Remember that rice is developed from early sprouts that have already grown a little.

Those sprouts come from dry crops that are intensively pest and weed controlled. That is the issue with dry rice. Because a huge yield requires a large number of rice plants, regulating the environment led to rice growing in water. All of that being stated, we should look at the three basic methods of growing rice because they provide a lot of insight on the challenges that rice farmers face.

4. Paddy, deepwater, upland rice

Rice is an important crop for billions of people. It is a staple starchy cuisine across Asia, North Africa, and much of the Arabian Peninsula. That’s a lot of people, and those are just the ones who eat it on a regular basis. Rice has been grown in rice paddies for centuries, but there are other methods.

5. Rice paddies are regularly flooded

Rice paddies are the most popular form of rice cultivation. They’re simply vast pools of shallow water where only rice is grown. Rice paddies can be found at any elevation in Asia. The panorama with rice terraces winding up and down steep hills is maybe Asia’s most famous. Those terraces are paddies, but at a higher altitude. They work on the same basis as field paddies: flood the rice to drown weeds.

Actually, this is the earliest method of raising rice. Rice is said to have initially been domesticated in Ancient China. Rice was first domesticated and farmed in the middle and lower Yangtze river basins at least 8500 years ago, according to wetland theories. The rice paddy culture extended to adjacent countries such as India, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines, Vietnam, and pretty much the rest of East and South Asia.

6. Deepwater rice is grown in water over 50 cm deep

Deepwater rice is identical to paddy rice, however the water depth is different. Whereas a typical rice field contains shallow water (less than 50 cm), deepwater rice is planted in water deeper than 50 cm, often at least 1 metre deep, for at least 30 days.

This virtually eliminates the weed problem, although not all rice can be grown in this manner. Over millennia, several specific rice varieties have been perfected to grow in high standing water.

The main factor that allows and actually aids rice growth is the production of ethylene. This gas must be released into the atmosphere, causing the plant to grow significantly higher as the water level rises. The rice will eventually rise to the surface of the water, releasing the ethylene. This type of rice farming is not popular, but it does exist.

7. Upland rice is a dry crop

Dry crop rice has far greater difficulties than regular rice paddies or even deepwater rice. Such crops require regular and deep irrigation, yet they are susceptible to weeds and pests. The uplands are typically infertile, with frequent droughts. Growing rice there is difficult, but local farmers have found a solution.

Researchers have produced drought-resistant rice varieties and crossed them with native species grown by farmers. This resulted in better crops for farmers, but weeds and pests remain a major issue.

8. Rice-fish systems

The rice-fish system is one development that occurred roughly 1000 years ago. The fish and rice plants have a symbiotic interaction. The rice provides shade, a few insects for the fish to nibble on, and plenty of space to hide if necessary. In exchange, the fish constantly move the water Because rice does not thrive in entirely standing, bog water. They also feed on pests that may attack rice fields and help to reduce a type of rice disease.

In summary, both the fish and the rice gain from their association, and they’re growing more prevalent. Not all rice is farmed in this manner, and not all fish are nutritious. Carp, crayfish, tilapia, Chinese mitten crab, and snakeskin gourami are examples of approved fish that benefit the rice environment and pair well with it. Catfish, paddy eels, and snakeheads, on the other hand, are pests that threaten the balance of the rice-fish system.

The primary rationale for growing fish alongside rice was originally to save space by growing animal protein alongside carbohydrate foods. This effectively ensured a whole supper in a single pond. As the practise has grown, environmental considerations are becoming increasingly obvious. The combination of aquaculture with agriculture appears to be beneficial, and more rice harvests are being cultivated in this manner.


Rice is planted in water primarily to preserve the rice crops from pests. I hope this article helped to clear up any uncertainty, because it can be strange to realise that a plant is growing while the fields are flooded. Flooding may appear to be a disaster for crops, and it is for many other crops, but not for rice.

Also Read: How Long Does Wheat Take to Grow?

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