|Rice Straw Utilization by
Project Leader and Principal UC InvestigatorsGlenn Nader, farm advisor, UC Cooperative Extension, Yuba/Sutter/
|In its second year, this
project examined several methods of improving the forage quality of rice straw for cattle.
It provided further evidence that the silage process improves animal intake of rice
Researchers conducted two related experiments on rice straw or "aftermath." In the first, 40 bales of rice haylage were generated from a field of M-202. In another field M-204 was chopped and produced 40 tons of rice silage. The bales and silage were split between portions treated with an inoculate to improve palatability or nutritional value and those that werent. Samples have been submitted for laboratory analysis of moisture, protein, crude fiber, ash, crude fat and TDN (total digestible nutrients). The haylage was scheduled to be fed to beef cows between. The silage was to be fed to replacement heifers as a dry matter component in rations. Animals from each experiment were to be compared for consumption and weight gain or loss between groups.
Initial indications are that the round bale silage provided a superior feed product compared to the conventional "pit" method. The animal performance, nutritional quality changes due to silage treatment and costs are still pending completion of animal feeding and laboratory analysis.
Straw nutritional quality showed a high degree of variability among different varieties. Straw was collected from a research plot at the Rice Experiment Station. Eight varieties under six different fertility treatments are being analyzed. The varieties include M-202, M-205, M-402, L-204, L-205, S-102, Calmati 201 and Calihikari. The rice straw has been submitted for laboratory analysis of protein, silica and acid detergent fiber.
Researchers from this project also developed an herbicide restriction pamphlet to give growers clear guidelines for the use of rice straw as livestock feed.