Students are always asking what is the English of Palay and the answer is always rice. But when they ask “What is the English of Kanin”, they are confused to hear the same answer – rice. So, if we translate “Paano nagiging bigas ang palay” into English, it would sound like “How rice becomes rice”, which sounds ridiculous right? Anyway, if you have some confusion, continue reading because, in this article, we are going to discuss how rice is produced.
To avoid confusion, we will use the following terms:
- Palay – dehusked rice grain, unmilled, straight from ricefield or farm
- Rice – milled, rice grain ready for cooking
Rice comes from the grass called Oryza sativa. Since we are familiar with rice and palay, you may ask, how does palay become rice?
The palay goes through three processes for it to become rice: harvesting, drying, and milling or grinding.
Let’s talk about these processes that will strengthen our appreciation of the sacrifice of farmers from planting until it becomes cooked rice on our tables.
Harvesting of Palay
Harvesting is the process of gathering ripe grains or palay from the rice paddy (ricefield). Harvesting includes gathering, threshing, cleaning, and hauling to storage. This can be done by traditional foot or using an innovative combine harvester.
The traditional method of harvesting is done by farmers manually. The combine harvester is innovative agricultural machinery capable of simultaneously harvesting, threshing and hauling grain.
It is important to use appropriate rice harvesting methods, to avoid unnecessary waste and spoilage of the harvested rice.
Drying of palay
Drying or exposing the palay is done or to reduce the moisture in the rice so that it can be safely stored for a few days or months. This process is an important part of rice post-harvest practices.
Rice after harvest contains 25% moisture. If you store rice with this moisture content, the rice you get from it will definitely turn black. Different types of molds will also grow.
It can also be eaten by various types of insect pests. If you store rice grains to be seeded but not properly exposed, there is a high possibility that the germination rate will also drop or the number of seeds that will grow when they are planted.
So it is important to expose the grain immediately after it is harvested – preferably within 24 hours. Not exposing immediately and incomplete drying can reduce rice quality and losses.
Palay drying is usually done on the road. This practice has long been stopped by experts.
The grain that the tires of vehicles pass through is crushed. During the grinding, the crushed grains are discarded and wasted. Exposing palay on the road is also the cause of so many car accidents.
It is better to dry the palay in an area that has been planted for this purpose, such as solar dryers. Mechanical dryers can also be used if the sunlight is not very good.
Rice grinding or milling
Rice milling is the final process to turn palay into rice. The main purpose of this process is to remove the rice hull or chaff from the grain to leave the rice and remove any dirt that may have been mixed into the rice.
Modern rice milling is done by a rice mill machine, a large machine that removes rice chaff.
The quality of rice that comes out of the mill depends on the quality of the grain and how dry it is and how it is milled in the rice mill.
Achieving high-quality rice
- The moisture content of the grain should be below – 14% MC is recommended by experts
- If the moisture content is too low, more grains will be crushed which can result in losses.
- Ensuring that the rice is clean before it is milled is necessary to ensure high-quality rice.
- Do not mix rice of different varieties – The milling characteristics of each variety of rice will be different, which will also require different mill settings. Mixing them will only result in low-quality rice.
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