FAO - Rice Straw as Livestock Feed
The annual world production of cereal straws and stovers is approximately 2 000 million tons, however, the energy contained in this vast bulk of material is on the whole poorly utilized and its nitrogen incompletely returned to the soil. With the rising prices of both energy and nitrogen fertilizer, interest is developing in more efficient ways of utilizing straws, presently used mainly as livestock feed and as compost material (small amounts are used for the manufacture of paper and fibreboards). In the tropical and subtropical areas of the world almost all straw is fed to livestock, the resulting dung being widely used as fuel. With straw feeding, energy utilization is relatively efficient, except for the residual energy in the indigestible matter which is wasted, but the introduction of dung fermentation in place of dung burning increases the proportion of straw nitrogen which is returned to the soil, thus improving the overall efficiency.
M.G. Jackson is Professor of Animal Nutrition at the G.B. Pant University of Agriculture and Technology, Pantnagar, 263145, India.