Once the airplane is loaded, it takes off (upper left) for the field. Many of the planes today have GPS systems that help them fly very accurately as they spread seed over a field. This accuracy prevents too much or too little seed in one place due to overlaps or skips. The planes fly about 50 feet above the field to even out the seed distribution (upper right).

     Once the seed is planted, the field looks about the same (lower right). If you looked very carefully you could find the seed in the 2-3 inches of water covering the field.

     One of the reasons for the closely spaced levees is to prevent wind driven waves. The seed needs time to send its root down into the soil and anchor itself. If the wind blows hard, much of the seed can be dislodged by the waves and end up along one side of the field.

     The lower left picture shows how the rice will look after a week to ten days when the first leaf or two appears. Notice that the plant is still underwater at this point. Up to about the three leaf stage, the seedling is dependent on its stored seed reserves for energy and growth.

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