After the rice is planted, drainage furrows dug, levees surveyed and pulled, the farmer is now ready to prepare the field for flooding at the appropriate time of rice plant growth.
Before the seedlings emerge, openings are created in the levees to allow water to flow through the field in a controlled way.
Levee gates or spills are placed into these openings to control and maintain the flood on the rice throughout the growing season.
The levee gate machine has a blade that drags a section of soil away from the levee to create an opening.
A chain on the machine removes the soil to make a trench. The trench is level with the soil.
A tarp is placed over the newly dug trench. Soil is placed on the tarp to hold the levee gate in place when water begins to flow through the field or spring winds begin to blow.
During the early seedling stage, the rice plant does not grow in water. When it’s time for the farmer to introduce the rice plant to a controlled flood environment, a long piece of lumber or a rod of reinforced steel is inserted under the levee gate.
The reinforced steel rod is hammered into the ground until it’s about level with the farmer’s ankle.
This will allow about two-inches of water to flood each rice paddy during the initial flooding.