Scientist finds new uses for once-useless rice hull


Written by Danny O. Calleja / Correspondent

Thursday, 07 January 2010 20:23

CASTILLA, Sorsogon—Time was when rice hull, locally called ipa, was nothing, but nuisance waste burned or simply dumped on vacant lots and left to rot by rice millers.

Now, this rice byproduct is becoming increasingly popular in some rice-producing areas of Bicol and other parts of the country because of its various uses when processed into carbonized rice hull (CRH).

Sorsogon Vice Gov. Renato Laurinaria, who maintains a two-hectare integrated mini-farm here, uses it as litter for the chick brooder that later becomes manure collector that is converted into organic fertilizer.

Being sterile, CRH minimizes disease contamination as it readily absorbs the moisture in the manure so the litter does not get moist and not attractive to flies, Laurinaria said.

When the litter is treated with an enzyme (Biosec) formulated by Dr. Rene Sumaoang, a microbiologist of the Novatech Group of Companies, the usual odor from the manure is eliminated, at the same time breaking down the nutrients found in the manure so that when brooding is over, the litter would become an organic fertilizer that is ready to use on crops.

In some recently published articles, Laurinaria said, Dr. Sumaoang explained that Biosec is a combination of live but immobilized beneficial microorganisms and digestive enzymes that once applied, the beneficial microorganisms multiply very rapidly, inhibiting the growth of disease-causing organisms like E. coli and salmonella.

“In the two years of my backyard poultry farm, I have observed that chicks grown on CRH litter grow faster and are more uniform in size. They are healthier because CRH does not allow the proliferation of harmful organisms that often cause respiratory diseases and diarrhea,” Laurinaria said.

In a statement, Sumaoang said Magnolia Inc. has already given Novatech the go-signal to talk with its contract growers to use this new method, especially those who are using the tunnel vent production system, which is totally enclosed.

For brooding, 0.5 kilogram (kg) of Biosec is applied to seven to 10 bags of CRH, which is used as litter for 1,000 birds for 14 days. After brooding until the broilers are harvested, Biosec (15 kg per 5,000 birds) is applied on the manure which falls on the ground.

In a tunnel vent system, like those used by Magnolia and Tyson, 2 kg of Biosec is spread on the litter of every 1,000 birds after brooding. In egg production, 20 kg of Biosec is applied on the manure of every 5,000 birds every three months.

Normally, raw rice hull is used as chicken litter. However, Sumaoang said this material is a poor absorbent, as its silica content is still bound inside the hull. Without Biosec, the chicken manure emits dangerous sulfide and ammonia gases, which produce foul odor and trigger respiratory diseases in the birds.

Moreover, the litter becomes the host of deadly microbes and poses a continuing problem on its disposal as it cannot be used as organic fertilizer.

With Biosec on the litter, Sumaoang said, the emission of ammonia and sulfide gases as well as foul odor is minimized, thereby reducing mortality rate.

Biosec treatment of CRH results in better ability of the birds to produce meat or eggs, ensures total biosecurity, and makes CRH an effective bioorganic fertilizer. The feathers of the birds also do not become discolored. Death of birds is greatly reduced by 30 percent to 40 percent. Consequently, medication cost is also greatly reduced.

In layer production, reduced death rate is translated into higher income as more birds are laying in any given period. Laurinaria said he is also replicating the practice of Philippine Rice Research Institute in Nueva Ecija where a pigpen with carbonized rice hull about one foot deep served as flooring instead of the usual cement floor, he said.

A result of this was that the pigpen did not have to be cleaned with water every day. In fact, it did not get washed for the entire growing period of four months while the manure and urine of the pigs got buried in the CRH.

The usual foul smell was practically eliminated. When the pigs attained market size and sold, the litter was collected and used as organic fertilizer for vegetables, rice and other crops, Laurinaria said.

“We also found CRH very useful in rice farming,” the vice governor said, explaining that 20 bags combined with organic fertilizer or compost may be applied to one hectare. It could be plowed in during land preparation to make it more porous for better plant growth, as it enabled the soil to retain the moisture much longer.

“Thus, during a prolonged dry spell, the rice plants will be able to survive the rainless period longer,” he said.

Sumaoang said that in this case, rice grown in fields enriched with CRH also produces more profuse tillers. This will mean higher yield because there are more stems that will bear fruit.

CRH is also useful in seed beds for producing rice seedlings. Seedlings grown in beds of CRH are much easier to pull out come transplanting time. The roots don’t get damaged, hence the seedlings get established in the field more readily, Sumaoang said. CRH can also be very useful in growing high-value vegetables, including those grown in containers. Combined with compost or topsoil, the resulting growing medium is ideal for producing healthy crops. Radish grown in containers by his company produced sizable roots, he said.

The ornamental horticulture industry could also benefit from the use of CRH. Being sterile, the use of CRH will minimize fungal infection in various ornamental plants. It could be combined with compost for germinating expensive seeds. It will also make an ideal material for producing potted ornamentals.

Sumaoang, who is aggressively promoting CRH, explained that farmers themselves can easily produce the material for their own use or for sale.

“They can fabricate the equipment themselves since these consist only of a halved steel drum with holes on the side, and a four-foot steel pipe that will serve as chimney. The half-drum is turned upside down and the chimney is attached in the middle of the upper end. A few layers of hollow blocks could be installed several feet around the half-drum that will contain the raw rice hull to be made into CRH,” he said.

With a few pieces of dry wood, fire is started inside the drum, and when stabilized so that the pieces of wood are burning, raw rice hull is placed inside the drum and then a big pile is placed all around and way above the drum.

Note: Original news article can be found  here.

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2 Responses to Scientist finds new uses for once-useless rice hull

  1. Engr Mike Macapugay says:

    We are new to the poultry industry as we are only preparing for our fourth crop as free range chicken farmers for san mig. Our vets are hesitant to allow us to use chr for litter material. We have no recovery from chicken dung as the market for dung with unburnt rice hull or ipa is wanting if not absent and we end up dumping it as waste. This is good news if this is now being endorsed by the industry. Can you please connect me to the resource person in magnolia so that I may refer the person to our company vet to expedite the use of chr? How is Biosec applied and where and how much is the cost of the microb?
    many thanks
    mike macapugay

    • sorsogoncity says:

      Hi Mike,

      I am sorry, but the article that you read is a re-published article from Business Mirror. I suggest that you get in touch with the writer of the article directly. Or you can visit the article about Magnolia Contract Growers. It includes the contact information.

      I hope that helps.

      Good luck to your endeavor!

      Sorsogon City

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