I thought this might be of interest to those growing their own grains.
Approximately 4,000 years ago farmers in South America - the Monte Castelo and Guapore River areas of Brazil to be more precise - worked out how to domesticate and increase the yield of wild rice.
Whilst the Yangtze River delta in China is the first known example of the domestication of rice, this find in Brazil ranks a good second. Unlike the species of rice farmed in China and West Africa it is hoped that this find might assist modern farmers to develop new strains of rice which are more tolerant to climate change and less susceptible to disease.
The discovery was made by a team from the University of Exeter (UK) aided by funding from the European Research Council. They were also assisted by researchers from Universidade de Sao Paulo & Universidade Federal de Oeste de Para (Brazil) and Northumbria University (UK). Their analyses of microscopic remains uncovered a distinct development of wild rice to yield higher value crops through changes in the ratios between husks, leaves and stems.
If the findings are proven they could have a far reaching positive impact on world rice production. Leader of the research team, Professor Jose Iriarte, is quoted as saying "This is the first study to identify when wild rice first began to be grown for food in South America. We have found people were growing crops with larger and larger seeds".
There are three methods of growing rice but all end with the plants growing in flooded land (paddies) the flooding is normally around 6 inches deep for the duration of the growing season.
The first method is where the grains are sprouted and grown to seedling stage then planted into already flooded paddies, these plants were sprouted then grown to planting stage in water containers.
The second method is the planting of the seed into the bed (paddy) but it is not flooded, instead it is kept just moist until the seeds sprout and grow up to the "seedling" stage (three to five blades) then the bed is flooded.
The third method is to plant the seed in a bed as above but once the seeds are planted the bed is flooded to a height of about 1 inch and kept at this level until the seed sprouts and grows to the seedling stage, at which point the field is flooded to the normal six inch depth of water.
Any of these methods can be used by the home grower. In most parts of the world where families grow rice at home for their own use the first method is the normal method.