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Grain Quality and Straw Properties in Whole Crop Harvesting of Rice

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Paper number  036092,  2003 ASAE Annual Meeting . (doi: 10.13031/2013.15407)
Authors:   S. L. Blunk, M. D. Summers, M. W. Yore, and B. M. Jenkins
Keywords:   Biomass, whole crop harvesting, total harvest, rice, crop residues, rice straw, storage, biodegradation, quality, properties, self-heating, bioenergy, head rice yield

Total or whole crop harvesting (simultaneous harvest of grain and biomass) has long been practiced for certain cereal crops but has never been adopted for rice under fully mechanized conditions. Total harvest has the advantage of reducing the number of field operations needed to collect both the primary grain crop and the residual straw biomass that may have industrial use. The technique has been commercially practiced for wheat, barley, and other grains having low plant moisture at the time of harvest. The high moisture content of rice straw at grain harvest, coupled with the sensitivity of the grain kernels to stress cracking during rehydration in moist environments has largely precluded the commercial use of total harvest for this crop. High moisture content in straw leads to potentially high costs of transportation and detrimental effects in storage, although methods to overcome these limitations have previously been developed. Stress cracking of grain that might be stored with moist straw, even for short periods of time until final threshing, is of greater importance as it leads to reduced head rice yield and hence reduced crop value. Experiments were conducted simulating total harvest of rice to evaluate changes in head rice yield induced by short term (up to 48 hours) storage of the whole crop such as might be experienced when transporting the crop to a central threshing facility or biorefinery. Only minor changes in head rice yield were observed, and the impact on final grain quality appears to be lower than previously thought.

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