A rice quiz

Here’s a quiz for you: How do you know when rice is ready to harvest?
The oldtimers do it by eating some. The less confident people (me!) use a machine. 

The ideal moisture content of your rice depends on how you are going to dry it (on poles in the field or by machine) and how you will store it (in the husk or as brown rice).

If you dry on poles as we do you then need to re-check the moisture content for storage before you thresh the rice.

You take a couple strands of rice straw from the middle of the rack (least exposure to air and sunlight) and pull the grains off with your hands. You run them through the de-husker (small white boxlike machine on the right) then use the tweezers to pull the grains out and run them through the digital moisture reader on a special little specimen tray. The tray is squished by the gray lever and the rice moisture content is shown on a screen. You repeat this 3-5 times with rice from different places in the rack and calculate the average. If the numbers are good you go ahead and harvest.

This year I relied on the machine but was most chuffed that my guesses based on visual and taste tests proved correct. I’ll be a proper teeth sucking, sky staring, weather predicting farmer in no time at this rate!

Looking at the two piles of rice on the blue sheet can you tell which one is adequately dried? Or even what the difference is?

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