CULTIVATION AND HARVEST
The company processes rice from start to finish in its internal rice factory equipped with vanguard machinery. It covers all stages from the conservation procedures guaranteeing the ‘purity’ of high-quality rice seed to the transformation of the raw rice into white rice, as well as the final packaging.
To guarantee that the rice grows properly, each rice field must be perfectly flat and circumscribed by low embankments. Special rollers are used to avoid the erosion of the embankments due to small waves caused by wind. When all is in place, the canals are opened to let the water in and the rice field is submerged. The rice fields are arrayed in such a way that water moves progressively from the more elevated areas near the hills towards the Po, in direction of its flow. The water level and quantity have to be managed either manually or with a land laser, which makes the leveling process even more precise. The flooded fields also need to be kept at a constant temperature because the shifts in temperature that usually occur between day and night would otherwise damage the rice plants.
Rice harvesting takes place thanks to the combine harvester, which separates the rice grains from the straw during the period between September and October. The rice grains are then ‘piped’ into a collection trailer, after which they are taken to the farm’s kiln, where they are dried thanks to a natural heating method which involves burning shelled corn fuel. When the drying has terminated, the rice is stored in silos, where it is treated with carbon dioxide for 148 hours to insure that no pests will infest the finished product.
Cascina Veneria practices a three-year crop rotation, designed to enrich the soil, respect the territory, and safe-guard against environmental pollution. The fact that Cascina Veneria is the first company to use a drying kiln heated by corn grain instead of diesel fuel guarantees a substantial improvement of the CO2 balance. Equally important is the utilization of special equipment to irrigate a combination of O2 and CO2 (controlled atmosphere procedures) in place of the quicker chemical treatments commonly employed for pest control.
The ground is prepared between the end of winter and the beginning of spring. The ploughing, levelling and fertilization of the fields takes place at this time.
In April, machineries are used to sow the fields, tracing raised lines along which the seeds are planted (100-200 kilos of seeds for each hectare). After seeding, the paddy fields are submerged, thanks to a complex system of canals.
At the beginning of June, the fields undergo a weeding process called “la monda,” to remove any grass encroaching into the rice plantings.
During the months of September and October, the rice is harvested with combine harvesters, which separate the grains from the straw.