The Burguera brothers, Juan and Salvador, came to visit us in our firm; we asked them some questions and they told us about agriculture in their region. They cultivate a land area inside a natural park near Valencia and they can be considered as “work mechanization pioneers” in that part of Spain.
How did you start?
At the beginning, about 40 years ago, we had to change our way of thinking of physical (human and animal) work and mechanical work. The greatest problem was the poor performance of agricultural work, but we didn’t give up and we kept our landed property and tradition. Thanks to PAC relief we could get modernization fast. From the outset the running cost was very high, especially because of herbicides, fertilizers and machinery. And we noticed that soil wasn’t properly prepared: water must be at the right level so that rice won’t die or be eaten.
How did you solve the problem?
We understood that the solution was in the soil preparation and we made three subsequent experiments. First, we tested a two-meter semi-handcrafted leveler machine which could be hauled by small tractors. Then we bought a four-meter one (Melquiades Arroyo) and so we found out that we could do more work with a less powerful tractor and moreover saving consumption. At last we arrived to discover the five-meter MARA leveler machine which has the advantage of hydraulic bars. In a small field you have, with only one hydraulic bar, a continuous leveling error which is brought forward on the whole surface. On the contrary, with a double hydraulic bar, you can keep an almost total control over embankment or spoil.
How much a good soil leveling is important for you?
50% of a good result in rice cultivation is due to soil leveling. In fact, if water is at the right level it doesn’t become stagnant and rice can grow easily. We have to explain that the irrigation of our fields isn’t under our control: we only have about 18 days for flooding and draining, and if we are late insects and illness kill rice. So you can understand how important for us is to have the soil ready at the right time.
How MARA leveler machine can help you?
When we prepare the soil with a MARA leveler machine we can flood it with water which is 1 centimeter and a half deep and has a temperature of 18°C (water which is 5 centimeters in depth or irregular has a lower temperature) so rice can grow fast and it is defended from infesting plants and weeds. We can certainly say that MARA makes our work almost perfect. If we only had also weather under control….everything would be OK !