In 1977 the first laser leveling equipment became available. We bought two. Now we could set up one tripod with the laser transmitter mounted on top, and move our scrapers with their laser receivers mounted on them into the field and go to work. The laser provided the necessary benchmark from which the tractor could then establish an even grade. How to level the field was now just a matter of setting the transmitter to the desired slope. We chose Zero and never looked back. Though many thought it would not work, it has proven to be a remarkably efficient and sustainable rice producing method.
Years later we have shown that this technique provides at least a thirty percent reduction in water use and significant energy use reduction using the now world-recognized Zero Grade method. This water saving marvel is now being used not only in the U.S., but also in rice growing areas across the globe. Every year we are visited by rice farmers from all over the world looking for water saving methods to be used on their farms.