ECHOcommunity Conversations

Fresh Rice Straw Silage

Hey Everyone!
Does anyone have experience working in areas where it is commonplace to feed livestock (primarily cows and goats) unimproved rice straw? They sometimes add rice bran and local cane sugar immediately prior to feeding but by that point the straw itself is quite old.

I’m eager to introduce fresh rice straw silage as a way to improve the nutrition for the animals and increased productivity for their owners. The research I’ve been able to find indicates that you can treat fresh rice straw with urea, ammonia, or bacterial inoculant. (Urea performed the best).

Thanks for any advice or resources you can offer!

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Hello Danny from Dan,

I have a very simple solution: Human urine. Get a few people to collect for you and you are “good to go”. This is the article the following excerpt comes from and I want to know how this goes and your challenges and successes if you try it… I am considering using this technique on sorghum stalks. I use urine for fertilizer and find it works great but why not for siliage as a substitute for artificial nitrogen addition?
Urine treatment : As urine contains urea, urine can be
used as a source of urea and ammonia to improve the
quality of rice straw. Urine can be sprayed on the straw in a
similar way as is done with urea solutions (Dias da Silva,
1993) and can provide a nearly equal improvement of the
degradability and nitrogen content as other methods of
ammonia treatment (Dias da Silva, 1993; Schubert and
Flachowsky, 1994). However, research on this subject has
been quite limited and there is currently inadequate
information available to define clearly the conditions to
optimize urine treatment (Dias da Silva, 1993). Moreover,
the use of urine is hampered by the difficulty of separation
of urine from feces in ruminant husbandry. This also makes
the use of urine rather unhygienic and therefore not
Sarnklong et al. (2010) Asian-Aust. J. Anim. Sci. 23(5):680-692 685
advisable to use, although its use is without costs for
farmers and urine is normally available in excess.

You may find some more interesting options in the ECHOcommunity collection on Rice Straw.

Can other network members contribute their practical experience?

Can a corn stock after harvest be used instead of rice straw? Today is harvest season for vast corn field here in Bukidnon, Philippines.

Can we utilize the young corn stock after harvesting the young corn for snacks at the farm?

I can’t offer from experience, but I have read that corn stalks without the corn won’t have any nutritional value. Rice straw is the same way unless its processed in some way.

Thanks for this suggestion! We’ll have to enquire if this is something that locals would consider doing.

Stover from corn and rice straw can both be used for livestock feed, but there are tradeoffs (per usual). This is especially true for rice straw which is not recommended for ruminant feeding without supplementing the diet.
Rice straw has less lignin than other post-harvest grain residues, but it also has higher silica and oxalate (1-2% DM) content. Silica is soluble and are largely excreted by livestock, but decreases the digestibility of the straw. Oxalates can decrease Ca concentration and therefore livestock absorption because it binds the Ca. Therefore Ca may need to be supplemented (especially for ruminants for which Ca is vital).
You can see the nutritional breakdown of rice straw as well as recommendations for supplements needed when feeding rice straw here.

In general, for either feedstock, harvesting and storing conditions (if you are storing it to feed later) greatly impact the feed quality of the material. The greener you can harvest it, the greater the nutritional value. As it dries down after grain harvest, annual grass residues decrease in nutritional content. And you want to store it in a place that is out of direct sunlight, does not get wet, and use it as soon as possible.

Maize stovers (stalks) have higher concentrations of P, Cu, Zn, Ca, and NaCl than rice straw as well as greater energy content and they tend to be more palatable. Farmers all around the world utilize this abundant feed source (primarily for ruminants)! It has high protein and energy content, but is very fibrous so it’s recommended to either supplement feed or process it. There is great information on this page including a nutrient composition table.

Hello everyone, thank you for your replies and advice.
I found the interesting study below that claims there was an 11% reduction in feed costs if you combine urea/mollasses treated rice straw silage with fibrolytic enzyme supplementation. I also found some information on urea, molasses mineral blocks (using the cold production method).

Has anyone used fibrolytic enzyme supplements? I could use some advice or references for this topic.

Urea Molasses Mineral Block.pdf (59.3 KB)

Urea & Molasses Treatment w Enzymes.pdf (417.8 KB)