Sunrise over California rice country

California rice is largely planted by airplanes that drop seed into flooded fields

Planting rice in California is done at speeds much faster than most other crops are planted.

Most of California's 500,000-plus acres of rice is planted by aircraft onto fields flooded with just a few inches of water.

On this particular morning in mid-May Growers Air Service of Woodland, Calif. was seeding rice fields west of Woodland as the sun rose through a layer of clouds that were dumping late-season snow in the Sierra Nevada.

Ralph Holsclaw, president of Growers Air Service, utilizes a fleet of Air Tractor 502B aircraft to do everything from plant rice, wheat and alfalfa to apply crop-use products by air on northern California crops.

"There isn't a crop up here that we don't work on," he said.

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